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Cars Ford PHEV owners use all-EV mode

Published on July 31st, 2013 | by Tina Casey

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The Record Proves It: Ford PHEV Drivers Are Smart, Use 60% All-EV Mode

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July 31st, 2013 by  

Ford has been keeping track of aggregate data on its plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) models, and early results show that new PHEV owners are pretty quick on the ball. Within about 30 days of buying a new PHEV, Ford owners have demonstrated a marked ability to adjust their driving habits to use more electricity and less gas. That trend continues to “inch upward” after the initial period, with the result that PHEV drivers were spending almost 60 percent of their miles in electric mode by mid-July, compared to only 41 percent earlier in the year. That’s pretty impressive, considering that the all-electric range of Ford’s PHEV models is only 21 miles.

Ford gives a big chunk of credit for the improvement to the information provided through its MyFord Mobile system, which among other features now provides data on thousands of public charging stations in the US through Plugshare.com. The system is available on the C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrids as well as the Focus EV.

Smarter Drivers Save More Money

The main takeaway is that when drivers have more access to more information about their PHEV, they will use it to save money, and that’s the basic premise behind MyFord Mobile.

Ford PHEV owners use all-EV mode

Image Credit: Ford PHEV (cropped) by Thoroughbred Ford

The platform for MyFord Mobile consists of an AT&T wireless module that enables PHEV drivers to check the battery charge. In addition to the Plugshare feature, a new update called “Trip & Charge Log” keeps track of distance, efficiency energy consumption and braking regeneration while providing a driving score (the breaking regeneration info, btw, can be used to learn how to apply the brakes most efficiently).

Other features include a little perk called “My GO,” which enables you to pre-schedule your car for a full charge while adjusting the interior climate for comfort.

Of more immediate use is the “value charge” profile that helps you take advantage of lower electricity rates, and the trip planner, which takes battery range into account. and provides a charging station as a default destination should something unexpected occur along the way (that sure would have come in handy during that notorious New York Times test drive of the Tesla Supercharger network earlier this year, but that’s another story).

With all that information at hand, Ford PHEV drivers are better equipped to tailor their driving habits to take best advantage of electric mode, which probably explains why the aggregate data indicates that PHEV drivers tend to use their vehicle for short trips. According to a recent post on ford.blog.com, about 84 percent of one-way PHEV trips were 20 miles or less.

More Charging Stations, Fewer Gas Stations

Ford has found that Plugshare is among the most frequently used features of MyFord Mobile, with the current number running at about 180,000 charging stations located daily through MyFord Mobile.

That sounds pretty high considering that figure of 84 percent for short one-way trips, since you’d assume that drivers would remember the charging stations along their local errand and commuting trips. It would be interesting to break down the figure a little more and see if drivers who have already located convenient charging stations still check Plugshare on a regular basis to see if any new, even more convenient ones have popped up.


That wouldn’t surprise us, since we’ve been noticing that the retail gasoline market has been undergoing a decades-long consolidation, with the number of gas stations dropping steadily while the number of public EV charging stations has been rising.

When you add at-home charging and workplace charging, along with wireless charging and the emerging potential for on-the-go charging, along with the potential for linking with home electricity use (Ford’s own MyEngergi Lifestyle system is a good example), you can see where information interfaces like the MyFord Mobile platform are going to become as ubiquitous and routine in the future as the gas gauge is today.

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About the Author

Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.



  • Volt Owner

    VoltStats.net shows that Volt drivers run EV mode 74% of the time.

  • virtualvillian

    Electric vehicle drivers are in EV mode 100% of the time. The extra cost of a plug-in electric vehicle is only justified if you drive most of your miles using cheap electric power.

  • Marion Meads

    It only shows that there is room for improvement. If Ford had increased the EV range to 80 miles, that would cover about 95% of total mileage in EV miles. GM-Volt got it right, if 84% of the one-way trips are 20 miles, the 40 miles would be perfect for daily commuting round trip, which is the typical range of the Volt’s battery.

    • virtualvillian

      The 2013 Ford Focus EV has a range of 76 miles, but they only sell it in California. :-/

    • No way

      It’s interesting because it also shows that even a small battery will make a big difference.

      20 miles range can get you about 50% all electric miles.
      40 miles range can get you about 75% all electric miles (Voltstats).
      80 miles range can probably give 90+% all electric miles.

      There is a lot of room for improvement and hopefully soon every car will have at least a small battery as standard and most will have a bit larger battery.

      Let’s hope that the kWh carried by PHEVs only will improve and not stagnate.

      (And the Focus EV doesn’t really count in this discusison since it’s a 100% electric and always will get 100% electric miles regarding of range.)

      • Bob_Wallace

        Let’s back your comment up with a pretty picture.

        When one considers that there is a small portion of the population who drive long distances frequently (salespeople with a large territory, for example) the electric range looks even better.

        If we simply required all new vehicles to be either EVs or PHEVs we could cut our personal transportation oil use by at least 75% in one generation of vehicles (roughly 15 years). We’d see a lot of improvement quickly since ~50% of US driving is done with 5 year old and newer cars.

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