The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held annually in Las Vegas, is in full swing this week, and new model, tech-laden autos like Ford’s Fusion Energi are sharing the spotlight with massive LED televisions and high-end electronics.
On the show’s opening day, January 8, Connected World magazine named the plug-in hybrid Ford as Connected Car of The Year.
Some of the “connectivity” features of the Fusion Energi that helped the car win the award are Ford’s SYNC, MyFord Touch, and MyFord Mobile smartphone app.
Ford says the app gives owners the ability to use any connected mobile phone with a data plan or computer with Internet access when not operating a vehicle to perform myriad tasks.
For example the app can find current and projected state of charge information including estimated range and the amount of charge time necessary for additional travel distances. Additionally it can program vehicle charging with utility input, allowing the car to start charging immediately or when electricity prices are lowest with the value charging feature, powered by Microsoft.
Navigation features powered by MapQuest include locating charging stations and having the destination sent to the vehicle; knowing if the vehicle can reach a specific charge station from its current location with the current charge level. The system can furthermore create a journey with multiple stops, and determine the likelihood the car has adequate charge for the full journey. MyFord Mobile can also find the car by creating a route from a mobile phone to the vehicle.
Other features of the app allow users to receive alerts if the vehicle isn’t charging when it’s scheduled to, or if charging stops; engage remote vehicle preconditioning, using grid power to heat or cool the battery and vehicle interior, remotely lock/unlock doors, and download performance and system data.
The app is available for Apple iOS and Google Android.
The SYNC connectivity system – available on all Fords – enables drivers to connect their phones, tablets and digital media players via Bluetooth or USB for hands-free calling and media playback using simple voice commands. SYNC with SYNC Services offers a range of services powered by the mobile data connection drivers already have.
Safety enhancing features
The Fusion Energi isn’t just about slick electronics designed to make life more convenient for drivers.
Safety technologies like the lane-keeping system, driver alert system, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), active park assist, cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruiser control, collision warning, and a rear view camera are all about increasing driver safety.
“We see the driver as always being at the center of control of the vehicle,” says Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president, Ford Research and Innovation. “With improvements in sensing and control technologies, we now provide unprecedented levels of assistance to our Fusion customers.”