Ford’s first electric vehicle of consequence, the Mustang Mach-E SUV, will start arriving at dealerships at the end of the year. But before customers begin driving off with their new EV, the automaker wants to let them start tinkering with their personal profiles. Because everything these days, even driving a car, requires some level of online registration.
At least 3-4 weeks before they take delivery of their vehicle, Mach-E customers can create a personal profile, input their home address and other important locations, familiarize themselves with nearby charging stations, and setup climate controls and other amenities. That way, when they finally accept delivery of their Mach-E, all those preferences will be available and ready to go from Day One.
Rather than sit at a dealership inputting all this information, customers can do it all from the comfort of their own home using Ford’s smartphone app, FordPass, or a laptop or desktop through Ford’s website.
“The purpose really was to get customers excited about the vehicle that they’ve ordered,” said Erika Raia, Ford’s global EV digital experience manager. “But it also is about that personalization factor, right. We know customers want to personalize their vehicle and make it feel like their own before they even get in.”
Ford also sees this as an opportunity to educate customers about EV ownership, especially for those who have never owned an electric vehicle before and may be unclear about proper maintenance and service. The Mustang Mach-E, which starts at $43,895, will be part of a class of mid-priced EVs that aims to bring more people into the world of electric vehicle ownership.
For example, as part of this on-boarding process, customers will be asked to indicate the times they will most likely be plugging and unplugging their vehicle. Using those times, Ford can crunch the numbers to maximize the best charging times (for example, at night, when demand is low) so the customer can save money on their electric bill.
“Some areas have higher costs at different times,” Raia said. “So it’s going to start at a time that has less energy usage and cost, whenever that information is available, and it’s going to charge only as much as needed.”
Ford will also let customers view which charging stations are nearby, whether they are part of Ford’s EV charging network or some other automaker’s, like Volkswagen’s Electrify America. Ford has claimed it intends to build out the largest network in North America, with 12,000 charging stations with a total of 35,000 plugs in the US and parts of Canada. By comparison, Tesla currently has around 5,000 Superchargers with about 15,000 plugs in the US.
None of this is unique to Ford. Other EV makers, like Tesla for instance, allow customers to control charging times and send notifications when their battery is fully charged. Other EV makes, from Chevy to BMW to Audi, also offer some level of remote, app-based toggling. But Ford knows that Mach-e customers are likely to be extremely tech savvy, and therefore would appreciate this level of tech-focused customer service. And Ford wants to stand out by letting customers get familiar with their vehicle even before getting behind the wheel.
Ford hinted at these capabilities when it first rolled out the Mach-E in 2019. At the time, the company insisted that the new, fourth version of its Sync infotainment system was designed for big screens like the Mach-E’s 15.5 inch vertical touchscreen, and that it put a special focus on making sure the most commonly-accessed settings and toggles will be just one tap away.
Ford’s also said the infotainment system will be more dynamic and adaptable than in past versions, with the ability to surface the things drivers and passengers tinker with the most. The company hinted that the Mach-E’s software will also come with a route-planning feature that can suggest where to charge the car, and for how long.
Now, with the rollout of its remote setup process, we’re starting to see how that will look.