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Posted on July 19, 2016 by Dr Peter Harrop

Ford plug-in vehicle behavior

Daniel Boston and Alyssa Werthman of Ford Motor Company, Dearborn MI have recently published a study "Plug-in Vehicle Behaviors: An analysis of charging and driving behaviour of Ford plug-in electric vehicles in the real world". The paper analyses the charging and driving behaviour collected from thousands of North American Ford full battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) whose owners utilize the MyFord Mobile smart phone app, thus enabling aggregated data for analysis. The trends investigated include charging frequency, electric vehicle miles travelled (eVMT), daily miles driven, and other factors.
 
They found that the Ford fleet of PHEVs and BEVs exhibit average trip lengths within the vehicle battery range with BEV daily ranges well within the battery range and PHEVs having greater variability, demonstrating higher vehicle utilization especially for longer trips in the summer months. IDTechEx notes that this confirms that it is nonsense for some to argue - as they do - that today's pure electric mainstream cars meet the needs of almost all potential drivers with only 100 miles range or less.
 
Average trip length miles
Source Ford
 
Ford found that, in general, EV mileage decreases in the winter consistent with conventional vehicle use with California being the only region with increased eVMT% during that time. The data indicate that customers are selecting vehicles with attributes and functionality that are appropriate for their lifestyle. This analysis is consistent with the information found in the Ford EV Project study.
Source Ford
 
Indeed, Ford concluded that charging infrastructure, especially supplemental workplace charging infrastructure, could have a significant impact on total eVMT as demonstrated by the daily driving habits of Ford plug-in vehicles.
 
"Ford vehicles, and the electric vehicle industry as a whole, could benefit substantially from increased workplace charging given the number of miles that are driven daily by our vehicles. These insights provide an improved understanding of the electric driving needs of our customers. Geographic location can have significant impact on charging and driving behavior, within individual factors including fuel prices, electricity prices, local charging infrastructure, and seasonal weather changes. The effects of each of these factors varies differently for PHEVs and BEVs, indicating that both products have strengths to offer in particular areas, with dependency on the region and landscape. The effects of cold weather, prevalence of long distance travel, type of housing, access to charging infrastructure and capacity for multiple vehicles are considerable factors which steer customers to a preferred electrification technology. Understanding these effects more thoroughly will help industry match the driving needs and wants of the electrified customer balanced with vehicle features and functionality to ultimately democratize electric propulsion to a broader base".
 
IDTechEx believes that the improved resale prices, charging networks and ranges of pure electric mainstream cars will greatly improve their appeal and of course the strongest evidence of this is the Tesla 3. However, for many more people to buy them we need lower prices and even longer ranges - at least 300 miles. This is in prospect within the coming decade, with legislative push taking it to 100% pure electric in some places such as Norway. Then the impediments may include battery production capacity and even vehicle production capacity and the much lower price of 48V mild hybrids which will have four pure electric modes and therefore most of the benefits of full hybrids that do not plug in. Sales of pure electric cars will therefore still be less than half of all car sales even in 2026 in the view of most analysts including IDTechEx. See the IDTechEx reports, Lithium-ion Batteries 2016-2026 External Link, Power Electronics for Electric Vehicles 2016-2026 External Link, Mild Hybrid 48V Vehicles 2016-2036 External Link and Future Powertrains 2016-2026 External Link.