The bane of automobile manufacturers, the autonomy of an electric vehicle depends on several factors. Ford relies on intelligent autonomy thanks to the cloud. That remaining in real time will be estimated using driver data.
One of the thorny points of an electric vehicle is the estimate of its remaining autonomy, which varies depending on the conditions. Several factors come into play such as the history of consumption, the environment, the weather, the altitude, etc. Under these conditions, giving an exact figure of available autonomy is a matter of Mrs. Irma’s crystal ball.
One of the solutions chosen by Ford is the Intelligent Range function for its Mustang Mach-E, whose range is estimated at 600 km (WLTP cycles). The objective is to give a real-time estimate of the remaining autonomy.
A cloud will store various data such as the history of the vehicle’s electrical consumption, driver habits, weather, geographic positioning, but not only, because it will be able to react in real time as soon as the “Traffic conditions, relief, terrain and altitude of a programmed route, and even the temperature at the destination” are changing.
To carry out this data collection, Mach-E drivers will be invited to register for this connected services program in exchange for free recharges.
In an interview with the site Electrek, Mark Poll, responsible for the user experience of electric vehicles at Ford, says that the goal is to give a figure for accuracy. Ford arrived at this finding after testing the low and high estimate system – underway at other manufacturers – with customers. As a result, the latter had great difficulty understanding their meaning and, above all, what were the factors that could impact on these data.
Finally, despite these estimates, Ford will offer free towing assistance if the Mach-E breaks down. The customer can be dropped off within a radius of just over 50 km. The Intelligent Range function will have two phases: the first on a prediction for local driving, the second on long distance road trips (operational in mid-2021).
Ford’s solution is interesting … on paper. For the moment, these are only algorithms under study, while waiting for the first Mach-Es to circulate. To this, it will be necessary to add the time necessary before benefiting from convincing and exploitable data.
On long distance journeys, generally programmed on GPS, the autonomy problem does not arise, since the integrated system of the electric car is capable of planning stops for recharging. Moreover, Tesla has made sure that these terminals are 250 km apart, compared to 150 km for Total.