On Tuesday, I took my 2021 Mach-E into my local Ford dealer, so that they could manually install the necessary updates to enable Blue Cruise. A bit of background, back in late-January my vehicle stopped communicating with Ford Pass. I think this was a common issue with one of the OTA updates messing up the TCU or something. Regardless, the vehicle hasn't been connecting to cloud services for months now, so I wanted the updates installed not just for Blue Cruise capabilities, but also just to get the modem up and running again.
Anyway, I came to my appointment armed with the attached PDF (OPTIONAL PRODUCT IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM 21G01) provided by Ford to its service techs, outlining the steps to perform all the updates. I did this, because I've heard that since they don't get paid for performing these updates, service reps will claim that they can't do it. I've personally been told that certain things can't be done when I know for a fact that they can. Thankfully, I got no resistance, and the rep I was working with was great, but I'd still advise people to come prepared.
The most important thing to note about this process is that IT TAKES A LONG TIME. You'll see in the PDF that there are numerous modules that need to be installed. Initially I was told it would take 8 hours. I left the dealership, and awaited a phone call telling me my car was ready for pickup. A couple minutes before closing time, they called and said that it was taking longer than they thought, because something had crashed during one of the updates. They said it would be ready around lunchtime the following day, but in my mind I'm thinking, "Wait, it crashed mid-update. Is my car bricked?"
By mid-afternoon I still hadn't heard from the service rep, so I tried calling, left messages, but no one called me back. Again, I'm thinking, they've bricked my car, and they're trying to figure out what to do about it before they tell me. Eventually my wife just drove me out to the dealership, so I could talk to them in person. Timing was good, because they said the tech was out doing the mandatory test drive to ensure the Blue Cruise was functioning properly.
While I was waiting, a service rep explained that mine was the first vehicle they'd done these updates on. He confirmed that after the mid-update software crash that the car was completely unresponsive for a period of time, and they thought they'd bricked it. Somehow, though, they brought it back to life, and all was well. He said that while Ford estimates it's an 8 hour job, they found it was more like 12 hours, but I'm not sure if they're counting the panicked troubleshooting they had to do to resuscitate my car.
Another important note: the rep told me that just that day Ford had mandated that owners who bring their Mach-E in for the Blue Cruise update be given a rental vehicle, since the process takes so long. Even if it had been an option presented to me, I probably wouldn't have taken it, because my circumstances didn't necessitate a loaner, but still good to know.
I haven't had a chance to try the Blue Cruise yet, but I'm happy to report that all the systems that weren't functioning these past few months are now restored, and I'm maybe even seeing improved range?? Admittedly, this could just be my imagination or coincidence that the weather has been warmer this week, but a 100% charge was giving me 250 miles of range, and now it's giving me 309 according to FordPass. Also could be my imagination, but the touch screen seems to be way more responsive than it was before, and I like the little design changes, like moving the on-screen volume meter so it's not shooting vertically through the middle of the screen anymore.
Anyway, to sum up:
• Come with the OPIP doc in case the service rep doesn't know about the update or is trying to get out of having to do it.
• Expect 8-12 hours for the job to be completed. This isn't a "wait-in-the-lounge" type of service appointment.
• If you need a loaner, and it's not offered to you, tell them you heard that Ford has informed its service reps to provide a rental vehicle while the updates are taking place.
• Pray that you don't have a system crash mid-update, or if you do, that the tech knows some alchemy to turn bricks back to functioning EVs.
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