Published on July 31st, 2013 | by Tina Casey4
The Record Proves It: Ford PHEV Drivers Are Smart, Use 60% All-EV Mode
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.
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.