Driving Simulator Helps Fine-Tune the Ford Focus Electric

By Ford Social Member

Butterflies, solar panels and windmills – which would you like to see on your dash display? Ford knows the best way to ensure customers will be happy with the overall driving experience is to get them involved with the R&D of a new vehicle! Ford invited potential customers to participate in a special driving simulator to enable engineers to take their feedback to finalize the in-dash display of the Focus Electric.

Via an 11-mile circuit through various terrain – such as city streets, hills and country land – the participants saw the same information that would appear in an actual Focus Electric, including two 4.2-inch full-color LCD screens flanking the speedometer in the center. There, information about state of charge, distance to charge point, the corresponding budget and expected range surplus appear. How the gauge concepts and design are comprehended by participants helps to ensure the unique extension of the MyFord Touch® interactive display is easy to use and will meet owner information needs. MyFord Touch on the Focus Electric offers drivers features and info about range, destinations and charge points.

The team also brought in members of the Michigan Electric Auto Association, a group of electric vehicle enthusiasts, to validate the driver information. The concepts were well received by the group, who considered the information thoughtful, particularly for people who are not familiar with the electric vehicle experience.

Specifically, butterflies, which are used to graphically represent the additional range beyond one’s charge destination, were considered to be an appropriate emotive theme. One theme that was being pursued – a circuit board – was poorly received. It was seen as cold, unattractive and not exciting, so it was dropped. And, “not everyone thinks windmills and solar panels are desirable,” said Paul Aldighieri, Ford Global HMI Engineer. The team incorporated the feedback and received high acceptance levels for the new graphics.

Another example is that the original Brake Coach showed the absolute amount of energy that was captured and sent back to the battery, as well as the energy lost due to friction. Participants provided feedback that this was too complex and the indication of the energy lost to friction was not well understood.

Engineers simplified the program to show just the relative proportion of energy captured out of what was available to be captured. This gave the drivers a score that was easier to understand and was shown to be more motivational. Additionally, engineers received input on alternatives for the terminology used to represent what eventually became the charge point, budget and surplus screens.

For those who want more in-depth information, the cluster’s MyView feature offers greater personalization choices. Using five-way buttons on the steering wheel, Focus Electric owners can configure their own custom information screen in the left display. MyView gives owners the ability to choose trip budgets and range views and decide whether or not to display associated text with each screen.

The system also helps drivers optimize their use of the vehicle’s regenerative brakes to recapture kinetic energy and send it back to the battery. Brake Coach gives drivers feedback on their braking performance – and the effect it has on their range – once the car comes to a complete stop after a braking event.

The right-hand display screen in Focus Electric also uses blue butterflies to graphically represent the additional range beyond one’s charge point destination – the more there are, the greater the range. To reinforce the message, at the end of each trip a display screen provides distance driven, miles gained through regenerative braking, energy consumed and comparative gasoline saved by driving electric.
Paul Wiekierak 08/24/2011
I have $10,000 invested in the instruments I have in my plane (I am a licensed private pilot) and the dash panels in these new automobiles make mine look like toys! Cars these days are just getting so sophistocated that I am surprised that they can't drive themselves. If they could I am sure that we would no longer have a drunk driving problem.
Jamie At Ford 08/22/2011
Hi Michael,
If you have a specific vehicle concern you want me to address, I will be happy to assist. I’ll need your contact details, VIN, dealer name, and approximate mileage to research the issue further.

Ford Customer Service Division
Szilard Torok 08/22/2011
mariana mellor 08/21/2011
How is a hybrid or electric car a better option environmentally if we're still using coal to produce electricity?
Stephan Lessard 08/21/2011
Ford forever
forever Ford
Jam Jss 08/20/2011
a some car
Travis Murdock 08/19/2011
make a Sedan, and drop the butterflies and I'll buy one, I'm just not a huge fan of hatchbacks, or butterflies for that matter :(
ElJuan Felipe Peña 08/19/2011
un simulador a ver si la gent aprende a conducir bien evitando tantos accidentes
Kay Lang 08/19/2011
Michael Garrett-please leave this FORD LOVERS PAGE!!!
Martin T. Jasper 08/19/2011
Bulit to last.
Martin T. Jasper 08/19/2011
Funny you should mention the recalls, Mr. Garrett. I had a recall on my wiper motors on my Ford truck 10 years ago, and I still have yet to get them replaced. Moral of THe stOry, if IT ain't broke, don't fix IT. (:
Marybeth Davis 08/19/2011
My Ford Lariet is a 2003 and is absolutely AWESOME ! It has exactly 400,000 miles on it and It keeps on tickin. I LOVE MY TRUCK!
Antonio Eligia Fuentes 08/19/2011
La version electrica la quisiera ver
Stephen Linson 08/19/2011
^Haters gonna hate
Michael Garrett 08/19/2011
FORD has more recalls than any other north american car or truck
Michael Garrett 08/19/2011
Jay Doverspike 08/19/2011
It there are facebook page for Ford techs specifically?
Our American Cars 08/19/2011
Always using the best technology to create the best products! Great job Blue oval!
Minerd Bell 08/19/2011
We do like ford
Nando Silva 08/19/2011
adoro este carro
Ace Car Shipping 08/19/2011
Ship a new Ford Focus with www.acecarshipping.com
J Daniels 08/19/2011
I would really like to try out one of Ford's simulators if ever get the chance. I like the idea of burrerflies to show the driver how much flying time they have left, also, the comparitive savings display between the gas and electric, so I could brag-about it to my friends. Not to mention another display to show how many miles between oil changes. Whoops, it don't have one!
ßünyamin Şirinyurt 08/19/2011
1986 ford eskort compact
Dave Castleberry 08/19/2011
Ill never drive anything electric bring back the torino make that the retro project that blows the competition out of the water
Rachid Bayu 08/19/2011
many thanks service ford ..my best withes your news is interessed message send to me ../rachid 2011/
Milan Podnar 08/19/2011
Ford Fiesta..
Aaron Harris M 08/19/2011
Turn a Aussie xr5 turbo into a cosy for us!!!
Zvone Cosworth Radić 08/19/2011
This is it!
Martin la Rosa 08/19/2011
Terri Bennett 08/19/2011
Bring back the CROWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aaron Harris M 08/19/2011
Loving the xr5 turbos and the new one with those smicko recareo seats little pocket rockets! keep up the good work
La Pawawoi 08/19/2011
can drive by iphone?
Rudy Chavana III 08/19/2011
Marco Pardo 08/19/2011
i drive the focus everyday at work!!!!
Driving Simulator Helps Fine-Tune the Ford Focus Electric
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