- New EV+ tech allows for more driving in electric mode.
- Technology learns a driver’s frequently visited locations.
- C-Max Energi and others will use this technology.
New Ford technology delivers better fuel economy by increasing the time plug-in hybrids spend in electric mode. According to the automaker, its EV+ system incorporates in-car GPS to learn frequently visited locations, allowing the hybrid powertrain to remain in electric mode longer.
Ford says the EV+ system works by learning a driver’s commonly visited locations, such as work, home or a local store. Once the system recognizes these destinations, it will ensure the brand’s plug-in hybrid models remain in electric mode as a driver approaches them. That means the car won’t switch on the gas engine in the last few moments of a routine trip, leading to an unnecessary charge and wasted fuel.
According to Ford, EV+ can keep a car in electric mode rather than switching to gasoline power for around an eighth of a mile when approaching a "known" destination. While that won’t make for a huge increase in fuel economy, it will certainly have some positive effect. That’s good news for buyers of Ford’s plug-in hybrids–currently the C-MAX Energi and the Fusion Energi–who are likely interested in achieving the best possible gas mileage.
"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 other frequently visited locations," said Kevin Layden, Ford’s director of electrification programs and engineering. "We already have a GPS unit in every Ford with SYNC, so it was really just a matter of tapping into it the right way."
SYNC, Ford’s in-car infotainment system, allows for voice-activated communication when paired with a smartphone. It also uses GPS information to provide turn-by-turn directions to lost drivers and to relay vehicle location to emergency personnel in case of an accident.
Ford says the new EV+ technology is standard in both of its plug-in hybrids and the traditional, non-plug-in hybrid variants of the Fusion and C-MAX. The C-MAX and Fusion Hybrid are already on sale, while the plug-in Fusion is expected to arrive in dealerships next spring.
What it means to you: Ford’s latest plug-in hybrids are rife with technology, and the automaker says it has filed roughly 500 hybrid-related patents.