Straight outta Dearborn: How to keep an EV from going “dry”

As its historic lashup with Volkswagen demonstrated last week, the Ford Motor Company is all-in on electric vehicles in a very large and capital-intensive way. The fact that it applied the priceless Mustang nameplate to an electron-fueled four-door crossover is proof positive how serious Ford is about this new kind of everyday vehicle. It has an enormous stake in the Mustang Mach-E’s forthcoming launch (and you’ve still got to reserve one if your ready to buy. If you want to get in the queue, click here), and understandably is trying to anticipate consumer uncertainties about embracing this new definition of juiced driving. One potential worry, you would think, is how drivers might react when the charge or distance-to-empty function on the trip computer grabs their attention while they’re driving across Nevada on U.S. 50. Bad timing.

Ford, happily, has anticipated this possibility. The Mustang Mach-E will be delivered with something that can remedy it. The vehicle’s instrumentation package will include Intelligent Range, an onboard program that can recall past driver behavior, balance it against current weather conditions, and immediately calculate a miles-to-dead assessment via cloud-based computing. Intelligent Range works by gathering a real-time reading from the onboard battery system of how much energy is left, and balances it against data from the powertrain module about how much of it is being used. Since warmer or colder temperatures can significantly affect battery life, this is also monitored and updated in real time. Intelligent Range will also be capable of collecting crowdsourced energy-use data from other connected Ford vehicles. So, what happens if the battery runs out anyway? The Ford Roadside Assistance program will tow a disabled vehicle up to 35 miles for electricity at home, a public charging station or an EV-certified Ford dealership. Stay tuned, folks.

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