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While Microsoft and Ford‘s previous collaboration, MyFord Touch, drew significant criticism from users as well as from Consumer Reports, their latest product promises to be a big hit. Designed for the new Ford Focus Electric, the MyFord Mobile app has earned the International CES Best of Innovation Design and Engineering Award in the software and mobile applications category.
Thanks to the MyFord Mobile app and its use of Microsoft’s cloud computing technology, drivers will be able to keep track of when utilities switch to lower off-peak charging rates so that a charging schedule can be coordinated to minimize electric bills and the Focus’ cost of ownership. MyFord Mobile’s network can monitor the rate schedules of Utility services and transmit that data back to the vehicle via embedded cellular connectivity so that it will trigger the charging process only when the rates fall.
Thanks to navigational data and can also assist in locating the closest charging stations along the driver’s route. It will calculate whether the vehicle’s range can reach the station with the currently available charge and design multi-stop, plug-to-plug journeys to keep drivers from getting stranded.
Available on smartphone platforms Android, Blackberry, and Apple iOS, the MyFord Mobile app, “is designed to help Focus Electric drivers maximize their gasoline-free driving in a worry-free, low-effort way. Drivers can take advantage of information stored off-board to automatically charge their cars at the lowest possible cost and reduce range anxiety with plug-to-plug route planning,” according to Bill Frykman, of Ford Connected Services Product & Business Dept.
Frykman adds, “We’re honored CES has recognized our efforts to use the latest connectivity and cloud technology to augment the capabilities of the car to promote greener driving.”
Similar in many ways to GM’s Chevy Volt OnStar App, the MyFord Mobile app will let owners of the Focus Electric keep tabs on their car and interact with it. The new app will let owners check the EV’s state of charge, its estimated range at that charge point and even figure out how much longer it needs to charge to meet a specific distance. An additional feature will also let owners schedule charge times for when rates are lowest.
Working with MapQuest, the app can find charging stations and signal if the station is within the range of the car, even creating longer trips by stringing together charging stations along the way.
The MyFord Mobile app can also alert the owner if a charge has been interrupted or if the charge has reached a sufficient level in order to reach a set destination.
Added features include the ability to lock and unlock the doors, use a built-in GPS system to help you find the car and it can even use power off the grid to warm or cool the car’s interior so it’s ready when you are.
With all these convenience features, Ford is also looking to engage owners in the electric car experience, with the MyFord Mobile app letting them download vehicle performance and efficiency data. The vehicle will also grade the driver based on how efficiently the car is being driven, and even give awards that can then be shared on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The MyFord Mobile app will be available for Blackberry, Android and iPhone smartphones as well as any phone supporting HTML-5 or WAP 2.0. It can also be access from a secure website from your home computer.
From inside the car, the Focus EV will integrate the app through a MyFord Touch system that has been customized to the electric car experience.
GALLERY: MyFord Mobile App
Official release after the jump: