ChasingCoral

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A story just posted in Green Car Reports provides a few new details to news we already had:
https://www.greencarreports.com/new...v_E6G3A8fbHK7QX_d_xCCAykX7w3BUoVmGI3rNtAnGCGo

Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV: 5 geeky details show Ford's commitment to EVs
Bengt Halvorson - Senior Editor
Bengt Halvorson
May 28, 2020
A special group within Ford, called Team Edison, has been navigating a daunting challenge—to thread the needle between performance enthusiasts and tech-savvy electric-car fans, assuring that the inner workings of a mammoth company wouldn’t stifle the project along the way.

That project, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E, remains due for first deliveries later this year. And even though Ford has already revealed many interesting details for this important EV—and Green Car Reports has already had a ride in one—we're still discovering new details about what makes this project so different.

In a Q&A session Wednesday with members of the automotive press, Mark Kaufman, the company’s global director of electrification, provided a number of rather geeky details about the Mach-E that show the company is spending extra effort to be used for a multitude of future EV models. Here are five such nuggets.

There are at least two battery “tunes”

The Mach-E has to satisfy those who want a 300-mile range, while also satisfying those who buy the high-performance GT and use it mostly in its high-performance "Unbridled" mode. Within the Extended Range battery option, the team established a dividing line between the rear-wheel-drive version and the all-wheel-drive version, and corresponding differences in the battery design.

“The all-wheel drive delivers the performance, and because of that performance the team even had to design the battery and how the battery’s used a bit differently so that it can actually pull power out faster,” Kaufman said. “So there’s the tradeoff as the team approached it.”


2021-ford-mustang-mach-e_100723941_l.jpg

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

It’s a rapid-prototyping prodigy

Under CEO Jim Hackett, Ford has focused more on a strategy of rapid prototyping to get the best designs possible—and even pushing ideas out for testing on consumers very early in the process, when they are just sketches or loose mockups. Kaufman says that a lot of the early work Ford did with rapid prototyping, and in China, helped influence some of the design-interface aspects of the Mach-E, particularly the big 15.5-inch screen size.

Rapid prototyping for the Mach-E’s interface started about two and a half years ago, and early on they learned that customers appreciated still having a volume knob without having to look at the screen. Kaufman said that the clever solution the team came up with involves bypassing a potentially complex switch behind the screen and instead using very small “fingers” behind the knob that press and swipe against a particular zone of the screen.

2021-ford-mustang-mach-e_100723940_l.jpg

2021-ford-mustang-mach-e_100723939_l.jpg

2021-ford-mustang-mach-e_100723938_l.jpg

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E
That big screen displays in html!

The so-called Sync 4A system that makes its debut in the Mach-E is different than those in other current Ford vehicles, and rather than being hard-coded like Ford’s previous infotainment systems, it displays in the now-common HTML5, like the device you’re reading this on. Kaufman called it a breakthrough, as it lets the system customize the layout and move some of your most frequently used features to the foreground. It also allows for future upgrades that might completely change the look.


2021-ford-mustang-mach-e_100724859_l.jpg

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E, 2019 LA Auto Show

There’s a cybersecurity team behind the over-the-air updates

Ford has an in-house cybersecurity team that’s simultaneously looking at complying with privacy laws but also making sure that the systems are being protected. “In some ways I would say it’s probably slowed us down just a little bit from where we’d like to be,” Kaufman said (just after discussing the Mach-E’s capability for regular over-the-air updates). "We take our customer trust very seriously,” he added.


2021-ford-mustang-mach-e_100723944_l.jpg

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

Ford’s Autopilot and Super Cruise rival: coming soon over the air?

The Mach-E will be one of the first mass-produced models on the market—Tesla aside—to allow over-the-updates for top-level features like vehicle firmware. Ford expects to offer its first updates for the Mach-E within six months of first deliveries. Kaufman provided a further hint: Within the first six months it will have “an additional Driver Assist capability that can be downloaded.”

Kaufman didn’t say whether that’s alluding to the optional assist system that Ford plans to dispatch to the Mach-E, to rival Tesla’s Autopilot and GM’s Super Cruise, and delivered via electronic purchase. But it sure sounds like it.
 

dbsb3233

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Good stuff. The discussion of the battery led me on a search for a bit more in-depth in the differences between the ER and SR batteries. Found this one that I missed from last November that's quite interesting regarding the parallel and serial battery configs of the two packs...

https://electricrevs.com/2019/11/17/ford-mustang-mach-e-mainstreams-the-electric-crossover-suv/

The long-range version contains 376 cells in 94 cell groups containing 4 cells in parallel for a storage capacity of 98.8 kWh. The standard version contains 288 cells in 96 cell groups containing 3 cells in parallel which has a capacity of 75.7 kWh. The actual usable capacity is a bit smaller in order to preserve battery longevity although Ford won’t say how much is held in reserve.

Using about 96 cell groups in series is a typical configuration among commercial EVs today. With a nominal voltage of about 3.6V for each cell group it results in a nominal pack voltage at or just below 350V. This is unlike the I-PACE and Audi e-tron which both use 432 cells configured into cell groups with 4 cells each and thus a total of 108 cell groups.

This difference carries interesting implications. Ford has a pack with fewer cells but a larger energy capacity. If you crunch the numbers, the I-PACE cells contain about 58 Ah of capacity, the e-tron around 60 Ah, and the Mach-E around 73 Ah. Since the cells superficially appear to be around the same form factor this could imply that the cells being used by Ford have a higher energy density based on a new generation of cell chemistry and design. Or they could just have slightly larger physical dimensions. Or both.
 

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As time goes by........the details of the Mach E are more interesting......and I anxious of that email to come. The Mach E might not be the "perfect" vehicle but for me it satisfies all my needs. It is not here yet....but patience and it will come. I read the stories of development and testing and how is configured. Needless to say.....I would like to run thru all the options that the vehicle can offer. Patience is the only thing I have right now. Hopefully Ford sticks to the plan. I believe they have a highly desirable and practical EV vehicle with..........an AWESOME name to it.
I wonder if Bill Ford reads any of these stuff in this forum.???!!!
 

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Incidentally, am I the only one who finds the wheel on the touchscreen a little weird? I’m buying for my wife who probably won’t care, but it seems very out of place.
 

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Incidentally, am I the only one who finds the wheel on the touchscreen a little weird? I’m buying for my wife who probably won’t care, but it seems very out of place.
Actually, I like the idea. not sure if I'll like the implementation, but its a lot easier to find quickly instead of having to look at the screen to find an onscreen slider and then move to where I want it. finding the know out of the corner of my eye seems much less distracting
 

dbsb3233

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Incidentally, am I the only one who finds the wheel on the touchscreen a little weird? I’m buying for my wife who probably won’t care, but it seems very out of place.
That's gonna be one of those "have to try it in person" things to see if I like it or not. But whether on the screen itself or just nearby, I'm glad there's a physical dial. There are times when you want to keep your eyes on the road and just want to reach over quick to turn down the volume. Even though there's a volume rocker on the steering wheel, it still takes a bit of eye diversion. The dial doesn't.
 
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ChasingCoral

ChasingCoral

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Actually, I like the idea. not sure if I'll like the implementation, but its a lot easier to find quickly instead of having to look at the screen to find an onscreen slider and then move to where I want it. finding the know out of the corner of my eye seems much less distracting
I agreeompletely.

That's gonna be one of those "have to try it in person" things to see if I like it or not. But whether on the screen itself or just nearby, I'm glad there's a physical dial. There are times when you want to keep your eyes on the road and just want to reach over quick to turn down the volume. Even though there's a volume rocker on the steering wheel, it still takes a bit of eye diversion. The dial doesn't.
Remember, that’s exactly what Ford did. They have a Sync 4a prototype screen to a bunch of users and asked what they liked and most wanted a knob. They stuck a fake nob on the screen and folks loved.

I was a little concerned about the engineering of the knob and a specialized cut out in the screen until I read this article.

Kaufman said that the clever solution the team came up with involves bypassing a potentially complex switch behind the screen and instead using very small “fingers” behind the knob that press and swipe against a particular zone of the screen.
So it’s basically a little round stylus sitting on top of the screen. Ingenious.
 

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Incidentally, am I the only one who finds the wheel on the touchscreen a little weird? I’m buying for my wife who probably won’t care, but it seems very out of place.
same, but oh well...
 

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That's gonna be one of those "have to try it in person" things to see if I like it or not. But whether on the screen itself or just nearby, I'm glad there's a physical dial. There are times when you want to keep your eyes on the road and just want to reach over quick to turn down the volume. Even though there's a volume rocker on the steering wheel, it still takes a bit of eye diversion. The dial doesn't.
My parents 2011 Explorer has all capactive controls -- so stupid. I don't know how many time's I've turned the hazard lights on just by brushing up against it. I don't see any advantage either. In that car you can't change the A/C w/o using the screen or the capacitive controls. Both require you to take your eyes off the road because you can't "feel" your way to them. (Technically you can change the temp, I think, with the steering wheel if you go through the menus. I don't have the car w/ me so I'm going off memory.)

That's one of the things I don't like about the Mach-E. I can control the radio and A/C w/o ever taking my eyes off the road in my C-Max. Perhaps the Mach-E's voice recognition will be good enough? The advantage of course is they can make changes and improve things if it's on the screen. Perhaps it will prove to be a decent balance. I can already tell its better than the Model 3. That thing is a nightmare of menus.
 

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Are they all operating from the same nominal voltage? Wh is a better comparison point.
EVer, I agree. Ah is a meaningless unit of measure when talking about Li-Ion batteries, since voltage changes over the duty cycle of one charge, influenced by temp and BMS programming. Stick with kWh and there is no confusion. Ah is only useful if you are comparing 12V batteries to each other, since the 12V stays constant until the battery is used up. No "number crunching" needed if you compare kWh.
 

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My parents 2011 Explorer has all capactive controls -- so stupid. I don't know how many time's I've turned the hazard lights on just by brushing up against it. I don't see any advantage either. In that car you can't change the A/C w/o using the screen or the capacitive controls. Both require you to take your eyes off the road because you can't "feel" your way to them. (Technically you can change the temp, I think, with the steering wheel if you go through the menus. I don't have the car w/ me so I'm going off memory.)

That's one of the things I don't like about the Mach-E. I can control the radio and A/C w/o ever taking my eyes off the road in my C-Max. Perhaps the Mach-E's voice recognition will be good enough? The advantage of course is they can make changes and improve things if it's on the screen. Perhaps it will prove to be a decent balance. I can already tell its better than the Model 3. That thing is a nightmare of menus.
Agreed. Some things just need a dial/button. I don't mind many of them being touchscreen (and voice control), but there's 2 "fast reaction" ones that I want a quick-and-easy dial/button for: Volume, and Max Defrost.

I wanna be able to turn the volume down fast at times when it's distracting me from something, and to be able to kick the defrost on fast when I'm on the road/highway and all of a sudden the windshield starts fogging up fast.

Most everything else doesn't need a fast action when your eyes and concentration are glued to a difficult drive (crowded highway, fog, snow, rainy darkness, etc).
 

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Don’t get me wrong, I like physical controls when merited, but this one is just in a (to me) weird spot.
At times I’ve wanted more buttons in my model 3, but the voice commands have expanded improved significantly; I rarely find myself interacting with the screen while driving. I 100% agree: Immediate volume control is an imperative.
 

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I would have preferred physical buttons for all hvac options, not just a volume a control. As the volume icon behind the wheel is part of the screen I am hopefully that the dial will be made contextual like you see on the i-pace and range rovers. Sure it is possible to get the temperature value you want. moving a slider but it is not as good as just turning a dial to the desired value.

The only reason manufactures like nothing but the screen is because it is cheaper, ford should have learned from the fusion that had to resort back to having physical buttons. If the screen dies and I lose the sat nav display it is annoying, if I can't change the cabin temperature well that then becomes a big problem. The other problem with screens is touching them at the point you want to hit doesn't work that well when the road is bumpy which on the west coast is most of them.
 
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