LAS VEGAS —
Ford will add new capabilities to its
MyFord Touch Powered by Sync infotainment system
in the upcoming Ford Focus Electric, according
to Ford president/CEO Alan Mulally, who delivered a
keynote speech during International CES earlier this
Mulally said the system will enable such capabilities
as displaying driving range left on a battery charge
and displaying public charging stations on a navigation
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.
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
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.