MyFord Mobile app makes wireless keyfobs look like antiques

The electric Focus that Ford debuted at last year’s CES may not be in dealerships just yet, but the long wait between unveiling and drive time has given Ford plenty of time to work on an important component: MyFord Mobile. The app will arrive for iOS, Android and BlackBerry OS when the Focus arrives later this year, but we had a chance to see everything it can do ahead of time at CES 2012.

Since the Focus will live and die – quite literally – on the level of charge it has managed to soak up at the nearest outlet, battery life plays a major factor in the MyFord Mobile app. An electric blue battery meter greets you when you open the app to show battery capacity not just in percentage, but in miles. Even more impressive, the mileage estimates are individually tailored to different drivers, calculated by that driver’s history of watts per mile. Besides preventing leadfoot drivers from getting stranded when their driving habits deplete the battery faster than expected, it provides another good incentive to lay off the accelerator so you can up your range.

Along the same lines, a tailored page for each driver will give you driving rating from “zippy” to “zen,” show how much money you’ve saved on gas, and even award achievements for tasks like things like your first 1,000 miles without using any gas. As an even more social incentive, you can compete regionally with nearby drivers to see who can manage to wring the most life from a watt.

When it’s time to charge, MyFord Mobile provides two useful options: An interactive map for finding EV charging stations, and a host of settings for charging your car at home. The relative scarcity of EV charging stations makes the first option essential for anyone who plans on venturing further from home, and the second makes it cheaper – and more convenient – to fuel up in the comfort of your garage. Using technology developed in coordination with Microsoft, the Focus will actually charge itself overnight when electric rates are cheaper, ensure it’s ready by the time you wake in the morning, and turn on the heat or A/C to bring the car up to temperature before you head out.

Finally, to help drivers cope with the limitations of an EV’s range (or “drive with confidence” in Ford parlance), Ford has included a route planning app that integrates the range of the Focus. Tell it you want to go to the hardware store, for instance, and it will not only show you how to get there, but add up the range from there and back and make sure you’re good to go. Destinations with chargers can also be factored into the equation, for multi-destination trips where you might have a chance to feed the Focus along the way.

The Ford Focus Electric will glide silently into showrooms in the second half of 2012, with MyFord Mobile to appear in app stores at the same time.

Cars

Peloton’s tech lets truckers play follow the leader to boost fuel economy

Peloton Technology can help semi trucks save fuel by running close together on the highway. Using short-range wireless communications, the trucks get a kind of super cruise control.
Emerging Tech

Look forward to your morning commute with one of the best ebikes available

A proper ebike is perfect for commuting or a trek along the trailhead, with most offering pedal assistance and a long-range battery. As more brands offer their own take on this innovative way to get around, it's hard to distinguish the…
Cars

Self-driving, electric, and connected, the cars of CES 2019 hint at the future

Car companies remained surprisingly quiet during CES 2018. But they spoke up in 2019. From electric hatchbacks you can buy in 2019 to super-futuristic mood-detecting technology, here are the major announcements we covered during the event.
Cars

With a 48-inch screen, this futuristic dashboard is like nothing else

Chinese startup Byton traveled to CES 2019 to unveil a new version of its electric concept that's closer to series production. It has the largest screen ever fitted to a production vehicle.
Cars

Baby, you can’t drive my cube: All the insane self-driving lounges at CES 2019

Why drive when you can ride? At CES 2019, car companies are showing off an array of self-driving shuttles, cars, and vans that promise to ferry passengers from Point A to Point B while they kick back and relax in comfort.
Cars

With 341 horsepower, the WRX STI S209 is the most powerful Subaru ever

The Subaru WRX STI S209 is the latest in a series of special editions that have never been sold in the United States before. The 341-horsepower pocket rocket debuts at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
Cars

China’s GAC Motor cruises into Detroit with all-electric Entranze concept

Chinese automaker GAC Motor brought its all-electric Entranze concept to the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. This is the third straight year that GAC has appeared in Detroit, and the company has established a design center in California.
Cars

2020 Ford Explorer branches out with sporty ST, efficiency-focused hybrid models

The 2020 Ford Explorer gets two variants never before seen on Ford's stalwart family hauler. The ST focuses on performance, while the hybrid aims for decent gas mileage. Both models will debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
Cars

Some of Volkswagen’s electric models will wear a ‘Made in the USA’ label

Confirming earlier rumors, Volkswagen has announced it will build electric cars in its Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory. The facility currently produces the Passat and the Atlas. Production will start in 2023, Digital Trends can reveal.
Cars

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti will unveil the QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language that may point to a future production model.
Cars

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.
Cars

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.
Cars

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.
Cars

Lexus LC convertible concept teases a new open-air flagship

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Lexus LC convertible concept adds open-air motoring to the sleek LC's resume. But Lexus won't commit to a production version of the car just yet.