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Ford aggregate driver data show its PHEV owners operate in electric mode nearly 60% of the time

Ford plug-in hybrid owners are operating in electric mode nearly 60% of the time, according to new aggregate data collected from Ford’s MyFord Mobile app.

MyFord Mobile is available on Ford’s plug-in (PHEV) and battery-electric (BEV) vehicles, Fusion Energi, C-MAX Energi and Focus Electric, and is available for download both through the App Store and Google Play. Early aggregate data collected through vehicles tied to MyFord Mobile show nearly 60% of total PHEV miles driven every day are in electric mode, and that there is an improvement in this figure over the first 30 days of vehicle ownership.

The daily percent driven in electric mode continues to inch upward, suggesting drivers are using the information provided by MyFord Mobile to change how they drive and really get the most out of their vehicles.

—Joe Rork, MyFord Mobile product manager

MyFord Mobile allows drivers to link up with their cars via an embedded AT&T wireless module that provides remote communication with the car to maximize utility and minimize operating costs; a multiyear wireless service subscription is included with every Ford electrified vehicle. Among the various features, drivers can log in at any time to check the current state of charge of the advanced lithium-ion battery pack.

Ford doesn’t collect information on individual drivers, but aggregates group data so that it can continue to deliver the best possible ownership experience. And while not every owner uses MyFord Mobile, data available from those who do are showing:

  • More electric drive time. Early in the year, as little as 41% of drive time was being spent in electric mode; as recent as 16 July, the figure was nearing 60%.

  • More daily total miles. With Ford’s share of the US electrified vehicle market at nearly 16% for the first half of 2013, between 100,000 and 160,000 miles are being driven every day.

  • More daily trips. In the last month, roughly 5,000 to 7,000 trips have been made in vehicles using MyFord Mobile daily.

  • Short trips. 84% of one-way trips are of distances 20 miles or less.

MyFord Mobile has evolved since launch and now features a charging station finder powered by PlugShare.com, which provides a comprehensive dataset of information. In addition to the more than 12,500 public charge stations in the United States, PlugShare provides data about private stations, too.

The station finding feature is one of the most frequently used functions of MyFord Mobile. Early data related specifically to charging show:

  • About 6 million charging stations are found every month through MyFord Mobile.

  • Average charge time is 185 minutes.

  • About 180,000 charge stations are located daily through MyFord Mobile.

  • Noon to 2 p.m. is when most charge station searches are conducted.

  • The top five most active regions for charge station searches are San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and the northeast corridor.

Another recent change to MyFord Mobile is the addition of the Trip & Charge Log, a function that gives drivers instant information about recent trips, such as how much energy was used and average fuel economy, along with an instant score based on driving habits, such as how effectively brakes are applied.

Other features of MyFord Mobile include:

  • Trip planner. Confirms a planned destination is within the battery’s current range, based on previous driving history; provides tips specific to driving habits to ensure route feasibility; defaults route to a charge station as the final destination.

  • My GO times. Schedule your vehicle to be cozy (preconditioned) and ready to go (fully charged).

  • Value charge profile. Charge based on electricity rates; provides a list of electrical plans from local utility company to maximize your charging needs affordably.

Rork says that since the app has been available, Ford engineers and researchers have been collecting feedback from customers to continually add functionality to MyFord Mobile. Ford has held clinics specifically about MyFord Mobile and takes into account feedback received via other methods, such as e-mail. He says the company will continue to collect and use customer feedback as MyFord Mobile evolves.

Comments

Bernard

"Early in the year, as little as 41% of drive time was being spent in electric mode; as recent as 16 July, the figure was nearing 60%."

Summer vs. winter probably plays a big role in this. I expect that the electric mode percentage will cycle back down next winter.

usbseawolf2000

EPA estimated 48% EV so that sounds about right.

DaveD

Considering the C-Max Energi only has a 21 mile all electric range, I'm actually surprised if they can get close to 60% of their miles in EV mode...any time of the year.

HarveyD

Next generation (2X to 4X) batteries will raise e-drive time to over 80% for most PHEVs.

Engineer-Poet

I'm running about 90% of my time in EV mode lately.  There are enough public chargers around my major hangouts that I can hop from place to place and keep the battery topped up as I go.

mahonj

An interesting question is what % of a PHEV should be electric.

If it is too high (say 90%) then either the battery is too large, or the driver has a very constant commute.

If it is too low (say 20%) then the driver needs an ICE car, or a PHEV with a much bigger battery.

So there is probably a sweet spot of 40-70% battery usage.

Engineer-Poet

There's a difference.  When the driver is arranging the daily routine around the available charging points, the battery usage will go up.  This does not mean the battery is over-sized.

Roger Pham

Good point, E-P.

PHEV's battery pack that has high cycle life should be sized for 20 miles, and charged twice daily if driven between 20-40 miles daily, in order to reduce battery size, cost, weight, and in order to consume the battery within 7 yrs before major battery degradation due to age. Day-time battery charging can also help soak up excess solar PV electricity, while night charging help soak up excess wind electricity.

Engineer-Poet

I'd suggest that the optimum battery size is such that most of its full driving range is used at least 2-3 times a week.  Some drivers will use the full capacity daily; if they are not burning much fuel, they are right at the sweet spot.

Requiring twice-a-day charging puts the onus on the grid to have the generation available to supply it.  It's better to have bigger cushions in the system.

mahonj

@Roger, I agree.
Ideally, you could charge at home and at work and cover your commute with a little left over.

Anything else is just oversizing the battery - you can use the ICE for the longer runs.

This assumes the battery can do 7000 charge cycles.

In "the future" when batteries are better (bigger, cheaper, lighter etc), the optimum point would move to larger batteries, but for now, I think the small (10-20 mile) PHEv battery is the best compromise.

Roger Pham

A PHEV that is charged 10x a week on average will be charged only 520x a year. In 7 years, this PHEV will be charged~3500x, well within the capability of LiFePO4 batteries in commercial production. 7,000 charge cycles is asking a bit much for current commercial batteries. Perhaps in the not too distant future, 7000 cycles will be possible, and this further stresses the importance of having a pack that is not too large, or one won't be able to get as much money's worth out of it.

However, if battery is to cost a lot less and will be a lot lighter and more compact, then this type of consideration is no longer a factor, but convenience and customers' preferences will become a primary consideration for battery pack size.

I personally like a PHEV to be as spacious as possible and as light as possible, and don't mind plugging it in twice daily, so, no matter how low battery will cost or how light and compact it will be, I would still prefer a 20-mi-range PHEV.

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