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Ford, PlugShare Help Ford C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi Drivers Find Plug-Ins

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C-Max Energi cutaway (Ford photo)

C-Max Energi cutaway (Ford photo)

(credit: istock) Technology Report
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DEARBORN — Ford Motor Co. is teaming up with PlugShare, an industry-leading aggregator of public charge stations, to provide real-time charge station information to drivers of Ford’s all-new plug-in hybrid vehicles, the C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi.

Ford is the only manufacturer to offer real-time charging station location information through its smartphone app, MyFord Mobile.

The collaboration will provide Ford customers comprehensive access to the quickly growing number of public charge stations in the U.S. and Canada.

Ford also announced its commitment to the Workplace Charging Challenge with the Department of Energy, which aims to increase the number of U.S. employers offering workplace charging by tenfold in the next five years.

PlugShare.com offers a unique advantage by aggregating publicly available and crowd-sourced information on charging station locations along with photos, reviews and check-ins.

“When we launched the MyFord Mobile app and portal for the Focus Electric last year, it was the most advanced remote management app of its kind in the industry,” said Bill Frykman, business and product development manager. “We’re now expanding availability of the system to drivers of our new plug-in hybrids and offering some unique features specifically tailored to these long-range vehicles.”

“It is a little known fact that the majority of charging stations are currently free to use. By giving drivers a clear view of the reality of charging, PlugShare and Ford are showing more and more drivers that now is a great time to start driving on electricity,” said Forrest North, CEO of Xatori, maker of PlugShare. “With our real-time, crowd-sourcing features that include photos, reviews and check-ins, PlugShare has quickly become one of the largest and most popular charging station locators in North America. We are thrilled an established industry leader such as Ford has chosen PlugShare for MyFord Mobile.”

In addition to an EPA-estimated rating of 21 miles of pure electric driving range per charge, both C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi have an EPA-estimated range of 620 miles on one tank of gas and one charge.

Owners of the first-ever Ford plug-in hybrid vehicles can now use their smartphones from almost anywhere to monitor and manage the battery charging process, find charging stations, check energy efficiency and earn achievements for efficient driving.

The station finder component of the MyFord Mobile app now blends point-of-interest search with charging station information from PlugShare.com to let drivers take advantage of opportunistic charging wherever their destination might be. Users can search for terms such as “pizza” or “Mexican food” near a location and MyFord Mobile will display the results along with the nearest available charge for each entry. Drivers can select a destination based on proximity to a plug.

“Access to public charging allows our C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi customers to drive more electric miles – helping improve our environmental footprint and improve energy security,” said Mike Tinskey, director, Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure. “We’ve seen impressive growth in the number of installed public charge stations – growing from fewer than 3,000 units in 2010 to more than 11,500 installed units in the U.S. today.

“This collaboration allows for Ford customers to access all the currently installed stations, as well as gain immediate access to new charge stations as they are installed,” Tinskey added.

MyFord Mobile’s trip and charge log has also been updated to provide drivers with information about how efficiently they are using their plug-in hybrid vehicle in both electric and hybrid mode. By taking advantage of available data on electricity use, hybrid gas mileage and regenerative braking, the app coaches drivers to adjust their driving style to be more efficient.

MyFord Mobile still lets plug-in hybrid owners check the state of charge of the battery, get alerts if they forgot to plug the car in or if charging stops, and take advantage of value charging for the lowest electricity rates during off-peak hours. Drivers can also precondition the cabin temperature while the car is plugged in to reduce the load on the drivetrain for enhanced efficiency.

“We designed MyFord Mobile to provide owners of Ford plug-in vehicles with a convenient way to monitor and manage their total energy usage, and we’re continually working to make the experience better,” added Frykman.

MyFord Mobile is available in the Apple iOS App Store for iPhones and the Google Play Store for Android phones. The MyFord Mobile Web portal is at www.myfordmobile.com. Some features of the MyFord Mobile app including point-of-interest search, trip and charge log, and achievements will become available after the initial launch.

Xatori is a Palo Alto-based software company founded in 2010 that builds software for plug-in electric vehicles. Xatori’s first product PlugShare is the most popular and widely used charging station finder showing more than 15,000 charging stations in North America. The information is crowd-sourced and freely available through Android, iOS and the Web.The company’s GreenCharge and Charge Manager apps, www.greenchargeapp.com/ and  www.chargemanager.com, allows users and fleets to view real-time battery data and to share the environmental and monetary benefits of owning an electric vehicle. More on the company at: http://www.xatori.com/.

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