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Ford Energi drivers use all-electric mode 60 percent of the time

Tue, 30 Jul 2013

Ford has noticed quite a few interesting things by researching how owners use their Ford plug-in hybrids. It appears that Ford owners are driving their hybrids in electric mode nearly 60 percent of the time, using their cars' 21 miles of gas-free all-electric range. This figure contrasts quite a bit with the 41 percent of all-electric drive time earlier in the year, demonstrating that winter driving patterns differ quite a bit from summer driving.

Ford has also found that the 60 percent figure for gas-free all-electric driving actually improved a bit more after the first 30 days of plug-in hybrid ownership. This appears to suggest that plug-in hybrid owners are tailoring their travel patterns around the car's all-electric range. The number of daily trips has also increased over the past month, perhaps owing to seasonal driving patterns once again.

Perhaps the least unexpected statistic that Ford has unearthed is that 84 percent of one-way trips in its plug-in hybrids are distances of 20 miles or less, as people are using their hybrid cars for commutes or running errands, rather than for long summertime vacation trips.

All of this research was made possible through the use of MyFord Mobile, which is available on Ford's plug-in and battery-electric cars like the C-MAX Energi, the Fusion Energi, and the Focus Electric (why they didn't give it a cool name like ElectroFocus we'll never know). The MyFord Mobile app can also be downloaded from the App Store as well as Google Play.

The app allows Ford owners to link up their phone with their cars using an embedded AT&T wireless module, with the car supplying the app with information on its charge level and other vital stats. While not every plug-in hybrid Ford owner uses it, the app provides quite a bit of helpful info, including a charging-station finder.

Ford has been able to piece together more interesting data through the MyFord Mobile app, finding that the average charge time is just over three hours, once again suggesting that most owners tend to use their cars for commuting.

Perhaps the most helpful feature of the app is the Trip and Charge Log, which gives owners instant readouts about recent trips taken in the cars, showing how much energy was used and the fuel economy that was achieved. These readouts even give drivers such detailed information as how effectively brakes were used. Unfortunately, the system doesn't judge the driving skills or fuel economy of nearby cars in traffic, or just how much gas the guy in the clapped-out SUV with 224,000 miles driving next to you is wasting.

By Jay Ramey