Zen or zippy? Ford launches new app to help electric car owners drive efficiently
Car manufacturer Ford has launched a free gaming-style app that lets drivers use their smartphone to remotely manage their electric vehicles.
Drivers can use the MyFord app to check the range of the car and plan journeys to include charging points, as well as setting a specified cabin temperature before a journey.
The app also highlights the environmental benefits of using an electric vehicle by displaying the amounts of CO2 saved in relatable concepts, such as exercise balls or hot air balloon-fulls. The app rates driving styles as either 'zen' for energy efficient, or 'zippy' for not, with tips offered to improve energy efficiency.
Convenience and relatability
The app has taken inspiration from gaming and fitness apps by offering badges, pop-ups and alerts to also let drivers know when they have reached certain zero-emission benchmarks, such as covering the equivalent of one round-the-world trip. It also tracks driving habits over time and monitors how changes in behaviour affect energy consumption.
The app will be free for the first five years of vehicle ownership, with one of the first vehicles to offer the technology in Europe being the new Focus Electric which Ford announced this week.
"MyFord Mobile makes owning an electric vehicle even more convenient. It displays CO2 savings in terms of objects everyone is familiar with, and shows how further energy efficiencies can be achieved in a way that is easily understood," said Ford connected vehicle and services executive director Don Butler.
"Electric car drivers want to understand the environmental benefits their vehicle brings, and also to know how they could improve their contribution to help make a better future. MyFord Mobile helps them to do this."
The UK electric vehicle market was given a boost last week with the announcement by Transport Minister Baroness Kramer of £32m of infrastructure support up to 2020 and £11m of funding for 15 ultra-low-emission vehicle (ULEV) projects spanning 50 organisations.
Hospitals, train stations and A-roads are among the locations set to benefit from new electric car charge points. The fund will encompass £15m towards the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, which sees ULEV drivers receive a 75% grant of up to £700 towards installation from 13 April 2015.