Category Archives: Myford Mobile

Ready to “Go”…

An interesting feature in the Focus Electric that I think I’ll enjoy much more as the weather gets chillier is the “Go Times”. Along with scheduling when it charges you can also schedule the car to “turn on” up to twice a day. About 10-15 minutes prior to the scheduled time, if plugged in, the car will power up and set the climate system to a desired temperature (65, 72, or 85 degrees F).

This works out quite well if you have a fixed schedule during the week: My car is setup to warm itself up to 72 degrees every weekday morning just before I leave for work. I figured out that the car will keep running for up to 15 minutes after the “Go” time and have thus scheduled the time to 10 minutes prior my departure time–this lets the car warm up (or cool down) for an extra 10 minutes before I leave (something I’m sure will come in handy in January!).

In addition to heating/cooling the cabin for the driver’s comfort; setting the “Go” time also lets the car heat/cool the battery to the optimum temperature. This piece of the “Go” times is likely more important than driver comfort as the battery’s performance is affected more by temperature than the driver’s. A very hot or very cold battery will not provide the same range in the car as one at a nice and toasty 70 degrees or so.

 

Some tips and tricks for Focus Electric (and My Ford Touch) drivers

My Ford Touch

Here are a few of the tips and tricks that I’ve learned to use to make the most use out of My Ford Touch and the Focus Electric’s unique features:

My Ford Touch (MFT):

  1. The first tip is to use voice as much as possible. Most reviews of MFT say it is far too distracting–sure it is if you’re always looking at the screen to press buttons. Don’t do that use the voice commands; that is what they are there for.
  2. Go into “Settings -> Voice Control” and set all the voice prompt settings to “advanced”. This will reduce the amount of time that the car spends instructing you down to almost nothing (press the voice button and it will prompt with a single beep–much quicker than having to listen to: “Please say a command”)
  3. The command structure is supposed to be flat but it isn’t quite enough. What I mean by this is: You first have to tell the system what you want controlled before controlling it. This means instead of just saying: “Tune to 96.1” you have to first say: “Radio” then “Tune to 96.1”. This applies to everything: First say the device you want then say the command (“Phone”, “Radio”, “Satellite”, “Navigation”, “Climate”, etc.).
  4. The exception to #3 above is that some things you can always say: “Call Joe at home”, “Call dad at work”–assuming “Joe” and “dad” are contacts in your contact list.
  5. Since MFT is based on windows you can upload a custom wallpaper to it and set your background (the home screen only). Go to “Settings -> Display -> Edit wallpaper” and plug in a USB flash drive with your images on it–you’ll first need to rescale the images to 800 x 384 though.

Focus Electric specific tips:

  1. Charge using a Level 2 charger. You may be on the fence about getting a Level 2 installed at home–if you can manage it; do it. The faster charging time is worth it. You’ll find that quick 1/2 hour or 1 hour charges charge the car enough to make those extra trips you might have avoided.
  2. If you are using “Value Charging”: Don’t use the canned times given by your electricity supplier, use custom times instead and program the car to charge at some point past midnight. I’ve found that value charging before midnight really messes with the displayed charge times. Since I’ve been charging at 1am the car has charged quite regularly at that time without missing a beat.
  3. “Value Charging” tip #2: Program your weekend value charge times the same as the weekday. Sometimes MFT’s calendar is off by 1 day–by programming the weekend the same as weekday you won’t find it charging on Friday (or erroneously waiting to charge on Sunday). If you need to charge during the day on the weekends switch it over to charge now–just remember to switch it back before the week.
  4. You can send navigation waypoints to the car using either the My Ford Mobile website, or the smartphone application. Once you’ve sent them via either method: in the car press the voice button and say “services” it will dial up and say: “MapQuest has sent an address…” just answer yes and it will download the waypoint into the car.
  5. When using the nav system always tell the car you’ll be charging at the destination (even if you’re not). When the car thinks you’ll be charging the dash display switches to a range + extra display (detailed in this post). This display is really helpful with showing how much range you’ll have left over after you’ve made it to your destination.

I’ve been using these tips for a while now (in the MFT case for several years) while they don’t alleviate the most serious MFT bugs they do make using it much more satisfying.

 

Going mobile…

“My Ford Mobile” (MFM) is Ford’s attempt at remote access/control of your BEV.

My Ford Mobile Smartphone appOn the whole the application gets the basics correct: Tells you correctly the state of charge, the cars status (plugged, unplugged, etc.), allows remote control, navigation features, etc. The additional features, however, don’t work so well.

It appears as if Ford concentrated on getting the basics working well and then launched the website/application before fixing/verifying all the rest. That is too bad because some of the extra features could come in quite handy. What are the extra features? Here is a small list–not inclusive:

  • Trip and charge log
  • Driver rankings in different regions across the US
  • Driver “achievements” (awards given for “green” driving)
  • A driver’s “score” from 0 – 100 based on how “green” you are driving

Here is an example of “not working well” from my experience: The Trip and Charge log seems to accurately note when I’ve driven and when I’ve charged but the values it displays are usually off (the watts/mile value is never displayed, for the charge display the charge time is always 1 minute). For the charge log it would also be useful to know how much charge, in kWh, was added to the battery in addition to knowing the final state of charge (a % value). It would be really cool if: A) these values were accurate, and B) you could download the last X days of data into an Excel spreadsheet (say 30 days or so). Other items not working well: My position in the driver rankings seems to have frozen: On the website it seems to think that I always drive at a 237 Wh/mile rate and that my drivers score is always 53–I really don’t think I’m that consistent (and I’d like to think that my driver score has increased a bit! LOL).

Due to the above inconsistencies I rarely use MFM for the above features. I’m now in the habit of only using MFM for the basic and reliable features such as:

  • Checking vehicle state (state of charge, plugged in or not)
  • Checking vehicle location
  • Remote control of vehicle (start/stop, lock/unlock)
  • Sending addresses to the nav system (which can also be done from www.mapquest.com to any MFT enabled car)

The funny thing is that even the basic features listed above go well beyond the capabilities of any vehicle I’ve ever owned in the past. In fact, for about 12 hours back in early summer, MFM communication to the cars (all of them–lots of posts on the FFE forums) was down; during that time I missed being able to “talk” to the car–amazing how quickly you become spoiled!