MyFord mobile app is a memorable, market-leading application suitea website and mobile appthat makes gas-free battery electric vehicles (BEV) ownership simpler, easier, and more engaging and provides a differentiated digital experience that gives consumers yet another reason to choose the Focus Electric.
Unlike drivers of gas-powered cars and hybrids, who can quickly refuel their cars by pulling up to any gas station, BEV drivers have to learn new charge-to-charge driving behaviors. For drivers who don’t live near public high-speed charging stations, found mainly in dense urban locales, this means leaving their cars parked in home garages for several hours to recharge.
To gain a better understanding of the unique information needs of BEV drivers, we conducted in-context interviews and drivealongs with current hybrid owners who expressed interest in BEVs, and drivers who had pre-ordered BEVs. From the research emerged a hierarchy of needs, depending on the individual’s motivations and attitude.
First and foremost, owners want assurance and affirmation. Owners experience range anxiety and want continuous reassurance their car and battery are okay, and that they can reach their destination. Additionally, owners have strong motivations (environmental impact, low cost of driving, and/or appeal of new technology) for buying an electric car and want affirmation their cars are fulfilling these goals.
Secondary needs included the desire to optimize efficiency (through cost or energy-savings); have positive environmental impact (individually or as a group of drivers); and push the range limits of an EV.
After surfacing these needs, the design team, in close collaboration with Ford designers, began to design key features and interactions inspired by the design principles Make BEV-ing Easy and Celebrate BEV-ing. These features were grouped into three main categories: My Car (current information and tools for driving and charging the BEV); My Driving (information about past usage of the BEV); and My Community (information from the larger BEV community). On the website, this information is meant to encourage drivers to reflect on past driving trends and participate in social networking, while the dynamic information found on the mobile app is meant to assuage range anxiety in real time.
According to Ed Pleet, Ford Connected Services manager, Ford recognizes the electric vehicle ownership experience is going to be new for just about everyone. Our goal is not just to provide the most practical, enjoyable electric car on the market, but also to give drivers the information, applications, and resources they need to feel confident about choosing fun, environmentally conscious transportation.
On the mobile app, special attention was paid to the top-level screens to make sure the most important pieces of informationthe status of the car and batteryare always readily available and stripped of any extraneous and potentially distracting information. Other unique features include remote charging status updates so drivers can check existing charge levels, available range, and charge schedule, and a multi-stop trip planner that helps them find the nearest charging stations (if available) and the most efficient route to get there. There’s also a gaming-based rewards system that celebrates when specific goals are met such as saving CO2 or driving longer on a charge, as well as a fun zippy to zen driving style rating system that gives users feedback on their driving in a positive way that helps manage costs and improve efficiency.