Ford's New EV+ Feature Keeps Tabs on Driver Locations for EV-Only Mode
November 12, 2012 4:33 PM
EV+ takes note of a driver's most visited destinations, such as the workplace or their parking spot in the garage, using predictive software
Ford is looking to patent a new feature
-- called EV+ -- that will learn its driver's destinations in order to increase fuel efficiency.
EV+ is a computer feature that uses GPS data from
to adjust the powertrain automatically. EV+ does this depending on location, and learns driver's most-frequented locations over time to make appropriate changes.
"We know from our research that hybrid drivers want to drive as often as they can in electric-only mode, especially near their home or frequently visited locations," said Kevin Layden, Ford director of Electrification Programs and Engineering. "EV+ not only delivers that capability, but also demonstrates how Ford puts customer needs and wants above everything else."
EV+ takes note of a driver's most visited destinations, such as the workplace or their parking spot in the garage, using predictive software. It then shifts the
electric power stored in the battery
in such a way that it powers the hybrid most efficiently when in a familiar place.
In the current version of EV+, the system can automatically optimize the onboard hybrid system without user intervention (the driver can, however, turn off the system completely or erase destinations learned by the computer).
However, Ford showed us an early,
more functional version of its EV+ technology
in January at CES 2012. In that version, the driver was able to customize destinations using desktop software. So instead of leaving the guesswork up to the onboard computers and GPS to recognize your most frequent destinations in order to optimize the hybrid system and battery reserves, you could program your own and beam them over to your vehicle
using MyFord Mobile
Perhaps we'll see such functionality in a later version of EV+.
Ford said that EV+ is a standard on hybrids like the Ford Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi as well as their hybrid versions (the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and C-Max).
"We realized that harnessing data already available was the way we could achieve our goal of improving the entire hybrid vehicle driving experience," said Ken Frederick, HEV powertrain calibration engineer at Ford. "Once we had access to the data, we applied machine learning principles to predict frequently visited locations that would determine what powertrain controls should be applied to achieve our goal."
Just last month, Ford announced that its
C-Max Energi received a 620-mile EPA-rated driving range
. With the help of EV+, vehicles like this could get even more out of the gas-saving benefits of buying a hybrid.
The patent is pending on EV+.
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