CES: What’s Ford Got to Do with It?

On January 8 and 9, 2013 I was a guest of Ford Social at the 2013 International CES, which according to a CES press release, is the world’s largest annual innovation event.  This is the place to be for everything cool in consumer electronics, from gesture recognition software to 12 fps DSLR cameras to touchscreen LED televisions.

So wait.  What is Ford doing there?  Ford has a massive display at SEMA, but CES? I assumed Ford would be there as a buyer, not as an exhibitor; but my perception quickly changed.

Outside of the Las Vegas Convention Center, Ford displays highlighted the integration of Pandora and iHeartRadio into Ford vehicles.  I sat in a  Shelby® GT500®,and found miniatures in the center console. The keys, however, were nowhere to be found.

Inside CES, Ford displayed several engines and vehicles. Of course, that’s what Ford makes and sells.  There were also tablet computers and kitchen appliances on display in the Ford booth. Wait, what?

Between two hybrids, a wall highlighted the “MyEnergi Lifestyle® collaboration” between Ford and “leaders in the home appliance, renewable energy, and power management industries.”  In Phoenix, utility companies constantly refine “time of day” rate plans, encouraging us to defer secondary tasks, like running the dishwasher or clothes dryer outside of peak demand times.  Electric rates are higher from early afternoon into the evening in the summer.  They expect your A/C to be maxxed out then, but chores cost more if you won’t wait until off peak times.

Still, what does Ford have to do with that?

MyEnergi Lifestyle promotes reducing one’s electricity bills and carbon footprint using home appliance technology and a plug-in vehicle to use less power and pay less for it.  Ford electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles come with “value charging” guidance (via the MyFord® Mobile app.).  OK, I have an Android phone.  My interest is piqued.  So what can we do about this, Ford?  Perhaps a full-electric Focus? It is an amazing piece of technology.

As much as I like this car, I didn’t drive it.  My fellow guest at CES did though, and had rave reviews.  With incentives, it’s competitively priced, and there’s no gas to buy.  Ever.

Me:  What else ya got?
Ford:  This – a 2013 Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid.

Yes. I drove one with a Ford representative riding shotgun and a camera operator in the back. Here’s what I learned:

  • Nothing seems to happen when you hit the “start” button.  The engine does not fire until it needs to or you decide to include it in the power discussion. The Ford rep. said, “This is EV mode. This is a button that lets you switch the vehicle between EV Now, Auto EV and EV Later. So, you can choose which mode to drive in – electric only, gasoline only or a combination of gas and electric.”
  • Wedge beltline notwithstanding, the cabin was airy (and quiet because there was no engine running during my drive).
  • “Two hands on the wheel at all times, sir” was the Ford legal team’s suggestion on my driving style. That’s why there’s no video. “Pics or it’s not real” does not apply. It’s Vegas:  Know the code.

Larry Thorson is a tech geek and the chief author of MessengerPuppet.com and DBShootings.com. He was invited to attend the 2013 International CES event by Ford Social and his airfare, hotel, ground transportation, meals as well as credentials for the event were provided by Ford Social.

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Larry T Josh, it was a great time. Ford Social treated us in style.
1 year(s) ago via
Larry T Richard, everything about the C-Max was impressive. I've driven Prius (regular hybrid). This was better. It drove like they designed car first, exotic powertrain second. In other words, it's a car, not a wheeled appliance designed around a powertrain.
1 year(s) ago via
Richard F It didn't surprise Ford was not out with the first plug in. I believe Fords goal was to be the FIRST to do it RIGHT. I have had 5 Fords in my life never had a problem with a single one. The one thing I noticed was each time I bought a newer Ford it only got better and better I trust Ford.
1 year(s) ago via
Joshua M great picture ford,looks like having a great time...social must have been ok
1 year(s) ago via
Dale Zank What ever happened to the P525 program to bring us an F-100? This pickup appeared to hit all the things I want in a pickup and we've heard nothing about it since 2008.
1 year(s) ago via
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