• Nov 27, 2012

Managing one's fitness schedule and calorie burn via smartphone app makes sense and is becoming more common. We can set our digital-video-recorders via app, and control our home thermostats the same way.

So, there is a lot of interest in sorting out how to marry the beauty of apps with how we manage our vehicles. MyFord Mobile, which launched with the 2012 Ford Focus EV, struck us as one of the better thought out and useful apps to hit the auto scene.

One of our Technology of the Year judges experienced one of the benefits when he locked keys in the car (for real, not a test), and was then able to unlock the doors with MyFord Mobile. With the Ford Focus EV, the app also allows the driver/owner to view the EV's remaining battery charge, control the charging (this may be set to charge during the cheapest hours from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m.), remotely operate and set timers for the climate control, plan trips that get sent to the navigation system, and find charging stations.

That last tool is obviously crucial for an EV or extended range EV, such as the Focus EV or C-Max Energi, which is launching in the fourth quarter of 2012.

It could be that apps are best suited to managing electric and extended-range-electric vehicles that have battery management issues. But an app that allows remote-start and climate control, as well as unlocking a car with keys inside will be a benefit to every Ford owner who has it on their phone.

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