There's even a chance it might be better than Tesla's system in some ways.

Ford just announced that it's Mustang Mach-E electric crossover has a very sophisticated range estimator system that even directs you to chargers when needed.

So far, only Tesla has a system that really works in the same way as described by Ford here. It's our belief that every electric car needs a range estimator that can accurately predict just how far you can go based on a variety of factors and this system seems set up to do this, though we'll leave final judgment for when we test it in the real world.

Ford will collect data through various inputs of your drive including weather, elevation, driving style, and impressively crowdsourced data from other Mustang Mach-E vehicles to calculate a predicted range. Should cold weather roll in or the driver starts driving more aggressively, Mach-E will alert the driver in the instrument cluster highlighting the new range estimation. This feature is promised to be expanded upon over time through the Mach-E's ability to over-the-air software update almost every module of the vehicle.

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Ford is taking the right approach by offloading most of the work EV drivers have had to do manually for years.  It is not uncommon for an EV driver on a road trip to have to calculate charging times, elevation, speed, consumption, etc. This feature will prove to be useful for optimizing a trip plan because based on our experience so far with Mustang Mach-E, you won't want to stop driving. 

bmw range map
The BMW i3's range map takes into account topography, recent driving efficiency, and current traffic conditions.

Many EVs do come with some variation of a smart range estimator with integrated charging station recommendations. However, often they don't work as well as advertised. We're looking forward to 'kicking the tires' on Ford's Intelligent Range estimator and seeing if it's as good as Ford is promising. 

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No More Second-Guessing: All-New Ford Mustang Mach-E Addresses Range Anxiety with Upgradeable Intelligent Range

Mustang Mach-E helps reduce unplanned stops for charging with innovative new Intelligent Range, which more accurately predicts how much range drivers have using past driving behavior, weather forecasts and crowdsourced data from other Mustang Mach-E vehicles 

Future over-the-air update will enable even more accurate connected vehicle predictions – including the ability to factor in real-time traffic conditions, terrain and elevation of a given route and more – letting drivers know if they need to anticipate a charging stop

In case a customer runs out of charge, the Ford Roadside Assistance program will tow their all-electric vehicle to their home, the nearest public charger or an electric vehicle-certified Ford dealership within 35 miles 

DEARBORN, Mich., June 19, 2020 – For electric vehicle owners, Ford understands that taking the guesswork out of when and where to re-charge helps build trust and provide peace of mind. That’s why the all-new Mustang Mach-E comes equipped with a feature to help more accurately predict how much range drivers have left, becoming more precise over time.

Mustang Mach-E’s innovative Intelligent Range can accurately estimate how much range the all-electric SUV has left, helping reduce anxiety about when and where customers can recharge.

“Electric vehicle customers need to be able to trust their range estimates,” said Darren Palmer, Ford global director, battery electric vehicles. “People want to be confident they’re going to make it where they need to go, whether they’re on a road trip or coming home from work. Our new Intelligent Range feature helps ensure Mustang Mach-E owners around the globe know where they stand ahead of time, freeing them up to enjoy the ride.”

Intelligent Range will calculate range based on past driver behavior and forecasted weather conditions – taking advantage of the cloud to predict how much energy will be used in future driving. The vehicle battery system reports how much energy is available, while the powertrain module tracks how much energy is being used. Warmer or colder weather can impact range, so Intelligent Range takes that into consideration, too, updating estimated range along the way.

Crowdsourced data from other connected Ford electric vehicles who choose to share information on the road can improve estimates considerably. The all-electric SUV can track how much energy is used in different circumstances, including varying speed, terrain and climate conditions, so it can use fleet averages across all Mustang Mach-Es to improve range estimates – even for routes and conditions an individual customer has never driven before.

If range is impacted notably by any number of factors at the start of a trip, customers will receive a notification in their cluster highlighting the new range estimate and details about why the estimate changed. 

In case a Mustang Mach-E does run out of charge, the Ford Roadside Assistance program will tow customers free of charge to where they want within 35 miles – whether that be their home, the nearest public charger or an EV-certified Ford dealership. 

If a customer’s home, the nearest charge station or dealership is more than 35 miles away, they will be taken to the closest location available.

Ford will upgrade Intelligent Range through over-the-air updates, designed to deliver even more accurate prediction capabilities for connected Mustang Mach-E, keeping their fully electric SUVs at the forefront of technology. A future update will allow Mustang Mach-E to take even more advantage of cloud-connected capabilities, enabling it to factor in real-time traffic conditions, road slope, the terrain and elevation of a given route, and even the temperature at their final destination.

“Changes in driver behavior and the environment can impact range, which is the reason other electric vehicles often experience significant range adjustments,” said Mark Poll, Ford’s EV charging user experience manager. “Ford is tapping the power of the cloud to make estimates even more accurate – reducing the need for surprise charging stops and helping reduce customers’ range anxiety.”

Reserve the Mustang Mach-E here.

*Roadside assistance is included for certain owners and available to everyone for a per-service fee.

**Actual range varies with conditions such as external elements, driving behaviors, vehicle maintenance, lithium-ion battery age and state of health.