ORLANDO -- AT&T is teaming up with Ford Motor Company on a specialized app that can remotely monitor and charge up an electric car all from a few taps on the touch screen of a smartphone.
I managed to get an in-person sneak peek at the MyFord Mobile app at CTIA Wireless 2011, and the graphics are definitely striking yet easy to navigate. Although I haven't had the opportunity to actually test it out with an electric vehicle, it does seem like it would streamline basic tasks for drivers of these vehicles. I was a little surprised to see MapQuest maps implemented instead of Google Maps, as I find the latter easier to use, but it shouldn't make much of a difference in the end.
Aside from being able to track how much battery life is left in a car and then instruct it to charge remotely, users will also be able to track their CO2 savings and - more importantly - how much money they are saving by having an electric vehicle rather than just guzzling more gasoline. Some of the other nifty features include being able to lock and unlock the doors, pre-heat or pre-cool the interior for those extreme weather days, and locate the vehicle using the built-in GPS system. Gone are the days of looking for your car in a large parking lot like in an episode of Seinfeld!
Note that these apps are not backwards compatible with existing electric vehicles but rather just the new Ford Focus Electric, which goes into production later this year.
When released, a five-year subscription plan to the app service will be included in the car purchase price. MyFord Mobile will be optimized for iOS, Android and BlackBerry, along with a mobile web interface for other feature and smartphones. The app might not be the tipping point reason for buying this electric vehicle over another, but it's surely useful for those who do buy the Ford Focus Electric.
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