Ford Electric Concept Car

Ford LogoTodd takes a look at Ford’s C-Max Solar Energi concept car, which amongst other things, features a solar panel roof that uses a special light concentrator lens similar to a magnifying glass to improve the efficiency of the photovoltaic cells. Ford reckons that a day’s worth of sunshine is enough to charge the hybrid’s battery, which is good for 21 electric-only miles.

This is good news for the environment as it would reduce yearly carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions from the average US car by as much as four metric tons – the equivalent of what a American house produces in four months. This probably assumes a perfect sunshine record and maximum electric mileage each day, but, hey, every little bit helps.

Review by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Livio talks about its apps for cars

livioLivio, a company recently acquired by Ford, produces apps designed to work in cars — a technology that Ford obviously has a great deal of interest in. If you aren’t familiar with the company, it produces a library and developers can use this within their apps, which can then interact with the software, also produced by Livio, that is installed in the car stereo system.

Livio discussed its plans for moving forward in 2014, which, despite its new owner, include plans for an open format that all can use. A standard that will work in Ford, GM and other autos. The proposed standardization would benefit everyone if the company can pull it off. You can learn more by watching the video below.

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Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network and Don Baine, the Gadget Professor

Ford’s New 2015 F-150 introduced at The NAIAS in Detroit

Ford_logo Ford introduced the 2015 Ford F-150 pickup truck at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week. The new pickup has the looks of Ford’s Atlas Concept truck from last year. Ninety-three percent of that new body is made from a sort of aluminum alloy that shave 700 lbs from the total weight of the truck. On top of that, the new body should be immune to rust and resistant to dents and dings. 2015F-150

The 2015 Ford F-150’s will also get a new EcoBoost 2.7L V-6. Ford has not giving the performance numbers for this new engine yet,

“No one’s ever built a six-cylinder engine like this,” said Raj Nair, group vice president of global product development. “It combines a host of advanced technologies found throughout the industry to create one of the most technically advanced and efficient engines ever designed.”

Engines for 2015 will be a choice of a new naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 as standard, The new 2.7L EcoBoost V-6 and The 5.0-liter V8. The 6.2-liter V8 will no longer be offered on the F-150.

f-150

Other new Features in the new F-150 inculde
– 360-degree camera view, using exterior cameras to create a bird’s-eye view of the truck to help the driver park, maneuver in tight spots and navigate down narrow roads and trails
– Integrated loading ramps, which enable easy loading of ATVs, motorcycles and mowers
– BoxLink™, which is a combination of metal brackets and custom cleats used to secure a variety of accessories in the cargo box, from ramps to storage bins to bed dividers
– LED headlamps and taillamps, which provide excellent nighttime visibility
– Trailer hitch assist, a new rear view camera feature that adds a dynamic line based on steering wheel angle in the display to help customers line up truck and trailer without requiring a spotter or having to get out of the vehicle
– Smart trailer tow module, using an all-new smart trailer tow wiring harness that helps identify and inform the driver of potential trailer connectivity issues, burned or unlit trailer marker lamps, and brake light and trailer battery faults
– Remote tailgate, allowing for the tailgate to be locked, unlocked and released with the key fob – eliminating manual locking and increasing convenience and security. The tailgate also is damped, dropping down, hands-free, to a flat position when opened
– High-wattage power outlets (400 watts, 110 volts) in the cab, allowing drivers to easily charge corded tools, battery chargers or mobile devices on-site or while driving
– LED spotlights on sideview mirrors, which provide powerful, durable and bright lighting around the truck exterior
– Latest EcoBoost® technology in an all-new, even more efficient 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine that features extremely high output and lightweight design
– Next-generation tailgate step, which is now fully integrated inside the tailgate and virtually invisible when not in use
– New 8-inch LCD productivity screen in the instrument panel, which includes updated truck apps – from fuel economy to towing tips – and the ability to create a customized home screen for customers to access their most frequently used apps in one place
– LED lighting embedded in the walls of the cargo box, which brightly illuminates the box interior to help customers quickly find tools or other items
– Rear under-seat storage in F-150 Super and Crew cabs, providing hidden storage for valuables. Two storage bins also are located underneath the rear seats
– Boxside step, now available for the short 5.5-foot box

All in all, it looks as though the new F-150 is going to be a great upgrade of the best selling pickup truck in the US.

For more information see Ford’s 2015 F-150 page

Ford Sync comes to millions of more drivers

Ford_logoThose driving certain late-model Ford cars and trucks can enjoy a lot of in-vehicle technology. But, millions more will soon be able to get this experience as well.

In conjunction with next week’s CES in Las Vegas, the company announces “Building on the pioneering SYNC in-car connectivity system it launched in 2007, Ford Motor Company today announces new system investments and organizational alignments to deliver the industry’s best fully integrated connected car and digital consumer experience”.

More than one-million vehicles equipped with SYNC AppLink are on the road today, and another 3.4 million vehicles — model year 2010 and newer — will be eligible to download AppLink later this year.

Ford Debuts Solar Energy Hybrid Vehicle at CES

Ford Go FurtherWhen we think of hybrid vehicles, what comes to mind is a car that uses both gas and electricity. Ford has come up with something new.

The Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept is the first-of-its-kind sun-powered vehicle. It is a hybrid vehicle that does not depend on a connection to the electric grid for fuel.

The Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept uses a special concentrator that acts like a magnifying glass. It directs rays from the sun onto solar panels that have been placed on the roof of the vehicle. As someone who lives in “sunny California”, I am very interested in Ford’s new idea.

Right now, the Ford C-Max Solar Energy Concept is a concept vehicle (as you may have guessed from the name). It takes a day’s worth of sunlight to deliver the same performance that one would get from Ford’s conventional C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid (which draws power from the electric grid). The C-MAX Solar Energi Concept uses renewable energy from the sun.

A quick look at the stats about the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid will give you a good idea of what the C-Max Solar Energy Concept is expected to be able to do. The C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 108 MPGe city and 92 MPGe highway (which is a combined 100 MPGe).

The C-Max Solar Energi Concept is estimated to reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions that a typical vehicle owner would produce by four metric tons. Ford has data that suggests that the sun could power up to 75% of all trips made by the average driver of a solar hybrid vehicle.

You can check out Ford’s C-Max Solar Energi Concept at the 2014 International CES. They will be at the Ford book (LVCC North Hall #2222).

2014 Ford Mustang – Test Drive

While in Tucson for Techonomy 13, I had the chance to test drive the 2014 Ford Mustang.. Jeffrey Powers and I traded off in driving and he has video put together.. Thought I would share his video and you will likely see me in a cameo appearance in a segment here..

I love to drive fast and I think you will get to see that in action.. Note: I want to thank Ford for bringing me out to Techonomy 13.

Now that you have went on a ride with Jeff driving catch my POV Video with Google Glass raw and un-edited.

Ford’s Alan Mullaly Top Contender for Microsoft CEO

Alan-Mulally-Ford

Microsoft has been looking hard at Alan Mullaly, CEO of Ford to take over Steve Ballmer’s role at Microsoft. Other candidates include Stephen Elop (Nokia), Tony Bates and Paul Maritz (Microsoft execs).

While the search is still in its infancy, a CEO like Mulally could definitely change up Microsoft’s vision. He would most likely bring in a lot of the values that has made Ford successful in the 21st century. But is running a car company similar to running a software company?

Microsoft is the 5th top global brand (behind Apple, Google, Coca-Cola and IBM)  – as opposed to Ford, which is 42 in the top 100 (Interbrand). Ford is the 4th top Global brand for automobiles and 2nd in US auto sales.

If Mulally is offered a spot at Microsoft, expect Ford to make a generous counter-offer. Either way, this is a great spot for Alan to be in…

Ford Acquires Software Developer Livio for In-Dash App Connection

Livio Connect API

Livio Connect API

Ford has been the innovator on connected in-dash infotainment since they first announced their new systems in 2007. So now with all the other car companies coming up fast on in-app systems, Ford needs to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Today, they have continued their strength with purchasing Livio for an undisclosed sum, but less than 10 million dollars.

Livio is a company which links applications for iOS, Android and Blackberry to your car. Livio takes the devices Programming interfaces and makes sure they can talk to the Ford Sync system. Livio created Sync Applink for just that purpose.

Ford_logoFord is also getting a product that is an industry standard. This would give app creators a single platform to work with, resulting in faster development of higher quality apps. Consumers – in turn – would have a safe way to access digital content on the go.

“With the additional expertise Livio provides us, Ford intends to continue to lead the next generation of in-car connectivity with technology advancements that give consumers more options to access their devices on the go,” said Paul Mascarenas, chief technical officer and vice president, Ford Research and Innovation.

Livio was co-founded by Jake Sigal and Massimo Baldini in 2008. Their motto: More music, less work. based in Metro-Detroit, the company has grown since.

Find out more: Todd and Don interviewed Livio on the CES Live Feed

Ready for Car Sharing? – FORD2GO Launching in Germany

Ford_logo Ford Motor Company will launch FORD2GO in about 50 German Ford dealerships in the second quarter of 2013. FORD2GO will be the first automotive manufacturer-backed car sharing program in Europe. The program is a partnership between Ford, The German Ford Dealers Association and DB Rent (the people behind Flinkster car sharing). They will start out with around 500 cars.

DB Rent has developed a web-based reservation and booking system including an iOS and Android app.

A Ford Motor Company-sponsored poll shows that 56 percent surveyed said they would consider car sharing. Of the people interested, 27 percent would be most attracted by reduced travel costs, 26 percent by convenience of place and operating hours, 23 percent by a straightforward booking system and 22 percent by a reduced impact on the environment.

Ford2Go_02

Ford’s German trade network includes 527 Ford dealers, 257 affiliated branches and 1083 Ford authorized repair shops, any of which would be able to take part in the program.

What do you think of car sharing? Would you make use of it if it were available in your city?

For more information about Ford Motor Company, go to http://corporate.ford.com/

The Ford Developer Program

Developer Program Ford Motor Company opened up their app program to all developers at CES 2013 The new platform is called Uplink it is a suite of technology that works with Connect to Sync. This program has gone through two years of beta testing using such apps as Pandora however now it is open to all developers. It should be opened to North America, Europe and China by the end of the year. Ford has hired people from the mobile industries work previously done some development so they are ready for the volume. They’ve have told developers there are certain categories they will not permit including games videos anything with a lot of texts involved. Ford has developed a multiple number of test that the developer’s app must pass before it is even submitted. These standards are available at the Ford Developer Program website. Ford would like developers to concentrate on using voice commands or if that’s not available quick touch. Right now Ford is concentrating on the driver and they want to make sure that the apps are distraction free.

Developers can work on either the iOS platform or the Android platform. The IOS platform works with the Xcode package in Objective C. The Android platform uses the Eclipse package in Java. Is it a Json library with an API call. The head unit software accepts and manage the information. The head unit software is being open to the industry. Ford is trying to work with competitors so that developers don’t have to develop a different package for each car company.

The apps once developed or tweaked for the environment will be available directly through iTunes and the Google Play Store. Ford is also continuing to work on opening up their diagnostic platform or OpenXC Platform to produce more data for research. If you are developer and interested in developing for the Ford platform you can find more information at the Ford developer website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network and by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor. l

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