Ford Motor Co. believes phone apps are one way to expedite the adoption of electric vehicles because they can help consumers locate vehicle chargers critical to keeping battery-electric vehicles rolling.
The phone app also can help motorists plan trips, suggesting the most efficient route and linking to software, keeping track of the amount of charge available in an EV.
The technology available with the FordPass app currently available on the Ford Mustang Mach-E and also will be on the Ford Transit Van and Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck coming next year, according to Ryan O’Gorman, Ford Energy Services lead.
Ford’s “Power My Trip” software takes the guesswork out of planning a road trip in an electric vehicle by recommending the best places to utilize a public charger along the route. It also can arrange payment for multiple charging networks, added O’Gorman, who said most EV owners will charge their vehicles at home or perhaps at work.
While cost of public chargers is roughly comparable to refueling with gasoline the cost of recharging a car battery at home is significantly less, he said.
Charging infrastructure is evolving
Darren Palmer, Ford Motor Co.’s general manager of battery electric vehicles, acknowledged public charging infrastructure is going through some growing pains.
Signage is often scarce, making public chargers hard to find. Compounding the problem is available phone apps that help locate chargers often bring a potential user to only within 100 feet of the actual charger, he added.
But the infrastructure supporting public charging is evolving, he said. Convenience stops and refueling stations are catching on to the fact that EV charging stations also create opportunities for selling food and other merchandise. Because of the time involved charging, the driver has more freedom to move about, Palmer noted.
“All you have to do is plug in for 20 minutes and you can get a coffee and read your e-mail,” he said.
Associated technology simplified
In addition, the technology is changing and becoming easier to use, Palmer said. Using the available 150 kW chargers in the FordPass Charging Network, the Mustang-inspired all-electric SUV can charge an estimated average of 61 miles of range in approximately 10 minutes, and from 10-80% in 45 minutes, he said.
Palmer also said Ford is giving its EV customers two years of complimentary access to the FordPass Charging Network for easy pay-as-you-drive charging.
The network also offers more than 13,500 public charging stations and growing, which already makes them as ubiquitous as some of the most popular pharmacy or coffee chains, Palmer noted.
As the push to get more EVs on the road grows, perhaps best signified by President Joe Biden’s executive order asking automakers to have 50% of their new vehicles sold run on electricity by 2030, expanding the nation’s charging network is critical.