The most advanced of today’s cars offer a dizzying array of customizable settings, something that can take hours to set up. That’s all the more so with the newest battery-electric vehicles which add functions such as cabin “pre-conditioning” and charging times that can be automatically programmed to take advantage of overnight discounts a local utility might offer.
Folks ordering the new Ford Mustang Mach-E will be able to get a head start, however. A few weeks before they take delivery, the automaker announced today, customers will be able to use a new “Remote Vehicle Setup” on a special Mach-E app to pre-configure vehicle settings that will also include three different performance modes – what Ford has dubbed “Engage,” “Unbridled” and “Whisper.”
“‘One-size fits all’ fits no one,” said Sheryl Connelly, Ford’s chief futurist. “Consumers want personalized products, services and experiences. Mustang Mach-E’s Remote Vehicle Setup lets them customize their own profile before they ever slide into the driver’s seat, meaning every Mach-E can be unique.”
The 2021 Mustang Mach-E, for those who might have missed the headlines of recent months, is Ford’s first long-range battery-electric vehicle and, despite the nomenclature, is a crossover, rather than a coupe. It will reach the market before year-end in several different configurations, though the highest performing iteration, the Mach-E GT, won’t join the line-up until later next year.
The Mach-E is roughly the size of a Tesla Model Y and Ford hopes to become the first serious challenger to the California upstart. So, it has already begun preparing retailers on how to win over potential buyers, newly leaked dealer training material emphasizing the need to play up the price difference between Mach-E and Model Y, the Detroit EV starting at $43,895. A key advantage is that Ford buyers will still have access to the $7,500 federal tax credit. All federal tax credits expired for Tesla on Jan. 1, 2020.
But price, alone, is only one of the ways the Detroit automaker hopes to win in the marketplace. And the launch of the Remote Vehicle Setup feature on the FordPass App is designed to play up the ease of owning a Mach-E.
Among other things, it will let owners set up a pre-conditioning strategy. While the vehicle is plugged into a charger it can heat or cool the cabin without drawing down the battery. Motorists can start pre-conditioning on the fly, before they head out – but those who might have a regular schedule, say, leaving the house for work every morning at 8 a.m., can set the car up to have the cabin at just the right temperature before they unplug and head off every day.
Many utilities, meanwhile, offer discounted charging during off-peak hours. So, even though a commuter might get home and plug in at 6 p.m. or so, they might want to wait until midnight to start recharging to take advantage of lower rates.
Motorists also will be able to set up a destination ahead of time and even have the system route them there while taking into account where there are chargers en route, if necessary.
“Our customers want to personalize their vehicles to meet their busy lives,” said Erika Raia, Ford global EV digital experience manager. “In our research, we found that 94% of customers ranked navigation and finding charging locations as the top features that they would want to set up remotely. They want their new vehicle to be ‘theirs’ as soon as possible and this app lets them pre-set features and educate themselves about their Mustang Mach-E weeks before delivery – meaning less time adjusting settings and more time enjoying their new vehicle.”
As for charging, Ford is trying to play up what it bills as an advantage over Tesla here. The California automaker has set up a network of 5,000 Superchargers – with 15,000 plugs – across the U.S., with more in Canada, as well.
Ford has teamed up with several of the new charging companies to establish a network of its own which includes about 12,000 public stations in the two countries operating about 35,000 plugs.