Category Archives: Myford Touch

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.


Butterflies, Really? (What your dashboard can tell you)

The FFE’s dashboard can be traced all the way back to the 2006 Fusion Hybrid. The Fusion Hybrid was the first Ford vehicle with a configurable dashboard. This dash featured a center speedometer with LCD panels on either side that could be changed to different views. In 2010 when Ford introduced the 2011 Edge with My Ford Touch the configurable instrument panel came along. Today Ford has two dashboards for cars: A simple one with a speedo on one side, a tach on the other and a small display in the middle (featured on all the ICE Focus based cars: Focus, C-Max, Escape, etc.), and the dual LCD one (featured on the Edge, Explorer, Taurus, etc.). This configuration makes the FFE unique: It is a Focus based vehicle with the “high end” dashboard. Here are a few examples of the possible displays:

FFE DashboardThe above image was featured on many blogs when the FFE was first introduced. IMHO it doesn’t show any of the truly useful displays that the FFE has. Many a blogger also complained about the FFE wasting valuable dash real-estate with the goofy butterfly display (at top right). That complaint really doesn’t make sense for the FFE since the butterflies are just one available panel–you don’t have to look at them…ever if you don’t want to! (I don’t)

In my instance I find that leaving the Navigation panel up on the right is far more useful. It tells you what road you are on, compass direction, and even the road’s speed limit if it is in the Nav systems database. Other items that can be shown (and controlled) on the right are the phone, and entertainment systems. For the phone the panel doesn’t show much unless you are making a call, and for the entertainment panel you can see what station you are tuned to, and/or the song your listening to if that metadata is available.

The information density increases dramatically when you look over to the left panel. This side can be configured for almost a dizzying array of vehicle information: Power consumption, braking scores, battery level, status display, etc. For the first few weeks I had the FFE I would pick a panel for the day to see if I liked what information was displayed. Eventually I settled on two that I found most useful: The enhanced trip meter, and the maximum information display in “My View”.

The Enhanced Trip MeterHere we have the Enhanced Trip Meter. You have to go into settings to turn on the enhanced feature (when enhanced is off you just get miles driven). After every full charge I reset the trip meter–this way the information accurately describes how much of the battery I’ve used. The displayed values are:

  • Miles driven
  • Average watt hours/mile consumed
  • Total kilowatt hours consumed
  • Time driven

The two important values here are: Average watt hours/mile and total watt hours consumed. The average value gives you an idea of how efficiently you are driving: A lower value is more efficient, a higher value is less efficient. The total watt hours consumed value is very much like the “gallons used” on an ICE vehicle. Since you know the FFE has a 23kWh battery you can get a rough idea of how much is left in the battery (since the “fuel gauge” just to the right there doesn’t show a % consumed value, although you can get a % consumed value from the center MFT display).

Even more information can be gleaned by configuring the My View display:

FFE My View display(Sorry for the blurriness here) The My View display is setup as two columns; each of which can be independently configured to show different information (and the My View configuration is stored with each key so different drivers can have different My Views). What I have configured above is showing about the most information the FFE will give you:

  • The top two bar graphs show power consumed by the climate system and other items not related to driving (headlights, radio, etc.)
  • Below that is the Budget and Status indicators (discussed in a previous post).
  • The center bar graph shows: Instantaneous wH/mile, average wH/mile, and required budget wH/mile consumption

That last item requires a little bit more explanation: Inside that graph there is a short moving white line (in this picture shown at the top). This line indicates how much wH/mile is being consumed right now (instantaneous). The two tick marks extending from the sides at about 230 wH/mile is the average wH/mile consumed for this trip. Finally that white outline on the bottom is the required budget wH/mile “cup” (it appears white in this picture but on the dash it is blue colored). The idea is that if you can keep the average consumption tick marks inside the “budget cup” (the user manual calls it the “budget cup”) then you can make the budgeted range.

When you set a destination on the navigation system the budget cup changes slightly to show how much wH/mile you need to be under in order to make it to your destination. The interesting thing is as you get closer to your destination the budget cup will go up all the way to the point of covering the whole graph–this indicates that you don’t have to be that efficient to make it to the destination (when the cup covers the whole graph its basically telling you that “there is no way that you will not be able to make it to your destination; no matter how badly you drive” LOL).

All of this information provided to the driver is basically a way to ease range anxiety. To that end it is nice to have but once you’ve driven the car for a while it doesn’t really matter. Just like any other car, really, you get to know what it can and can’t do and tailor your driving patterns to what the car is capable of.





In Touch…

The Focus Electric comes complete with the “MyFord Touch” system (known as MFT; you can see an introduction video about it here).

Quite a lot has been said about this system in car magazines, on the internet, in the news, etc. To many people its a love/hate thing: they either love it, or hate it. Ford took a bold step in late 2011 to introduce MFT as a complete system controlling entertainment, temperature control, cell phone access, navigation, etc. MFT has improved greatly over the past 3 years: there have been three major updates to it (with possibly more to come).

Personally I like the MFT system and have developed a usage pattern that takes advantage of its positives and attempts to minimize the negatives. The first thing I do with any new update or car with MFT (my FFE is the 3rd car we’ve owned with MFT) is to turn all the settings to the ‘advanced’ mode. This has the affect of speeding up interactions with Sync because it stops Sync from talking to you a lot. For instance: when pressing the sync button instead of saying “please say a command?” the system simply beeps. Another thing is to use the voice control for any interactions while driving–one of the main complaints about the MFT system is that it increases driver distraction because you have to look at the screen to touch the area you want (hint: the complainers are using the system wrong: you talk to it not look at it while driving). There must be a lot of people who do like the system since MFT sold on 79 percent of new vehicles in 2013.

The current revision on the FFE is not without its faults though: Messing up value charge times, getting the date wrong, missing functionality (bluetooth, and applink), etc. Not to mention the problems with My Ford Mobile the website to remotely check up on your FFE driving (but that is another post!).