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CES 2011: Ford Pushes Electronics In Electric Focus

1/07/2011 05:32:05 PM Eastern

Las Vegas - Ford will add new capabilities to its MyFord
Touch Powered by Sync infotainment system in the upcoming Ford Focus Electric, Ford executives
revealed during a keynote speech.

The company will also upgrade its MyFord smartphone app for
the Focus Electric, enabling such features as controlling control charging
functions via cellular and viewing charging-system information, joining such
features as remote starting and door locking.

Ford president/CEO Alan Mulally kicked off the keynote, sharing
the stage with the Focus Electric, the company's first all-electric passenger
vehicle targeted for fourth-quarter availability. Consumers, he said, "are
ready to embrace the reality" of limited range in exchange for consuming no
gasoline.

Mulally left it to other Ford managers to outline the
company's electric-vehicle plans, compare the Focus Electric to competitors'
all-electric vehicles, and explain how the MyFord Touch/Sync entertainment, information
and user-interface system will improve the experience of owning an electric
vehicle.

Amy Garber, manager of electric-vehicle electronics, pointed
out that the vehicle's various in-dash displays will show miles left on a
charge, analyze driving habits to recommend ways to maximize driving range, and
display available range on a navigation map using concentric circles.

Using a MyFord Mobile smartphone app for the Focus Electric,
said product development manager Ed Pleet, 
owners will connect to the vehicle's onboard  cellular modem to remotely view remaining
charge, view driving range on the remaining charge based on previous driving
habits, turn charging on and off, view battery-diagnostic information, and send
the location of a charging station to the vehicle's navigation system. Like the
existing MyFord app, the Focus Electric app will remotely start the vehicle,
lock and unlock doors, and warm up the vehicle while charging by using
electricity from the power grid.

Ford executives also announced that Best Buy will be Ford's
exclusive partner to sell and install the $1,499 charging stations that will
charge the Ford Focus Electric in 3.1 hours, or half the time that other
automakers' charging stations take, when plugged into a 240-volt line. Unlike
other automaker's charging stations, this one doesn't have to be hard-wired
into a home's electrical system, making it easier to move to another house if
the owner moves.

Ford will also soon offer its first free software upgrade
for the new My Ford Touch Powered by Sync and MyLincoln Touch Powered by Sync
systems. Their USBs ports will be upgraded to work with cellular CDMA USB
modems, which would work with the vehicles' embedded Wi-Fi to turn the cars
into a mobile Wi-Fi hot spot. The vehicles already accept GSM/HSPA-network USB
modems.

Finally, Ford said it will bring five more electric vehicles
to the U.S. by 2012.

 

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