To stay on top of the changes, Ford is announcing that the app's EV station database is now updated daily – daily! – from "various sources" to keep drivers of cars like the Focus Electric or C-Max Energi in the know about where plugs are located. The app uses MapQuest but "charging stations" is not yet on option under the "travel services" bar in the standard, online MapQuest. Aside from the local plug search, the app also allows remote charging management and battery state of charge.
- When using a 240-volt charger – what most public stations deliver – Ford Focus Electric can fully charge in four hours and the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid can fully charge in two-and-a-half hours
- The MyFord® Mobile app – available through the App Store – was developed by Ford engineers for Ford vehicles; it includes a public charger location database powered by MapQuest® with newly installed stations constantly being added to the list
- Ford Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid will or already have launched, giving customers true power of choice when it comes to deciding how they will take advantage of the growing electric vehicle infrastructure
MyFord® Mobile is an app developed by Ford engineers that can only be used with Ford Focus Electric and the soon-to-be-available C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrids. In addition to locating charging stations, the app allows customers to manage remote charging, view current battery status and plan trips.
The charging station locator is powered by MapQuest® and provides important details about charging stations in close proximity to the owner's vehicle, such as street address and hours of operation.Stations are popping up all over, too – from local grocery stores in Pittsburgh, churches in Austin, Texas, and hospitals in Portland to places like McDonald's, Starbucks, Whole Foods, Walgreens, Target, Cracker Barrel and Walmart.
"As more stations join the grid, MyFord Mobile users will be among the first to know because information about charger locations is constantly being culled from various sources to provide the most up-to-date data," said Mike Tinskey, Ford's manager of Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure.
Up-to-date information is important because there are now 9,445 public stations in the U.S., according to current U.S. Department of Energy numbers. By comparison, there were about 2,500 public charging stations in the U.S. at the end of 2009.
"In addition to having innovative features that allow customers to minimize their transportation costs and maximize their EV driving range, MyFord Mobile also is the only mobile app that integrates up-to-date charge station locations real-time within the application," said Tinskey.
Ford is tripling its electrified vehicle production capacity by 2013 with cars equipped with batteries that allow for quick charging at public charging stations.
Focus Electric – America's most fuel-efficient compact that offers the equivalent of up to 110 miles per gallon (MPGe) city – is equipped with an advanced lithium-ion battery pack that can be fully charged in four hours, or about half the time of the Nissan Leaf.
C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid – available this fall – will be able to recharge fully in two-and-a-half hours. C-MAX Energi is Ford's first production plug-in hybrid, part of the company's first hybrid-only dedicated line of vehicles, and now it is America's most affordable plug-in hybrid. The vehicle is expected to deliver 95 MPGe, along with 550 miles of total range; its electric-only range is more than three times that of Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid per EPA testing methods. The all-new Fusion Energi, also a plug-in hybrid, is in the pipeline as well.
With the new electrified offerings from Ford, the rapid development of the public infrastructure to support the new electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles couldn't be timed any better, said Tinskey.
"I cannot recall another time in our history when there was so much momentum and resources around an energy shift for transportation," he says. "Not only are these charge stations a boost for consumers thinking about a plug-in hybrid vehicle, but they also provide a glimpse of how things will likely take shape in the future."
Public charging stations aren't the only way electric and plug-in hybrids are charged.
J.R. DeShazo, director of UCLA's Luskin Center for Innovation, says research shows charging a vehicle at home remains the most common method for charging. The center researches and reports on environmental and sustainability issues.
Ford has ensured customers who prefer to charge at home are able to do so by making available a 240-volt charger designed specifically for Ford vehicles and for use in a residential setting. More information about the residential charger available at Best Buy can be found here.
The availability of 240-volt chargers – public or private – is important because they allow for faster charging of the advanced lithium-ion batteries used in Ford's newest electrified vehicles. Focus Electric, for example, is able to fully recharge in four hours – about half the time of the Nissan Leaf.
Ford's decades of battery research laid the groundwork for moving from larger, heavier nickel-metal-hydride batteries found in previous-generation vehicles to today's lighter, more powerful lithium-ion batteries.
Ford's battery cell reliability, in fact, has been tested around the clock in high-mileage, extreme-use hybrid taxis around the country – including more than 80 million miles of operation in California. Yet, among the nearly 43 million battery cells Ford has tested or seen put to work in customer vehicles, only five issues have been documented. More information about the evolution of Ford's battery quality can be found here.
Power of choice
Charging station installers have installed stations because they see electric vehicle adoption as a foregone conclusion with the only remaining question pertaining to how quickly adoption takes place, says DeShazo.
"As automakers like Ford meet drivers' needs, excite drivers – and at the same time provide them with vehicles that lower refueling costs and provide greater environmental and social benefits – the quicker we're going to see these important technologies and important vehicles adopted," said DeShazo.
The five electrified vehicles Ford is launchingfall in line with the company's goal of providing customers with power of choice when it comes to fuel-efficient vehicles. The electrified vehicles are:
- Focus Electric: Production began late 2011; America's most fuel-efficient compact with 110 MPGe city; charge time of four hours with the available 240-volt charging station, which is nearly half the time as Nissan Leaf
- C-MAX Hybrid: Projected to achieve 47 mpg city, at least 3 mpg better than Toyota Prius v with more performance and technology – all at a $1,300-lower base price
- C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid: Coming this fall; electric-mode MPGe that is more than three times that of Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid per EPA testing methods; 95 MPGe; total range of 550 miles
- All-new Fusion Hybrid: Coming this fall; 47 mpg expected to beat Toyota Camry Hybrid by 5 mpg highway
- Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid: Will begin production by the end of 2012; aiming to be the most fuel-efficient midsize car in the world
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 168,000 employees and about 65 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.