Schrödinger’s Mustang

Wait what?? Let me explain….

When creating the Mach-E Ford kind of created a Schrödinger’s Mustang situation similar to the famed Schrödinger’s Cat.

If you’re not familiar with Schrödinger’s Cat I’ll try to briefly explain: Schrödinger was trying to illustrate the quantum mechanics principle of superposition where a particle can simultaneously be in more than one state. Basically a cat is in a box with a Geiger counter connected to a device that will release poison if the Geiger counter detects a particle. Along with the cat and the Geiger counter is a small amount of radioactive material that may or may not decay releasing a particle the Geiger counter would detect. The idea is that before you open the box the cat is always in both states: alive or dead.

How does this apply to the Mach-E? Well during the introductory presentation on the Mach-E Ford called Mustangs a “brand”. Up until that point “Ford Mustang” meant one car (even though the are many variations: GT, GT350, Bullitt, Shelby, etc. its still the same car going down the line). Now “brand” can mean more than one thing: Mustang Brand, Lincoln Brand, Ford Brand. Notice the distinction.

To elaborate a little further: We have vehicles described by make (brand) and model (also brand in a way–when a model is as well known as the Mustang it becomes its own brand). Thus we have Ford Escape, Chevrolet Camaro, Chrysler 300, etc. Where as, until the Mach-E it was “Ford Mustang”. Now with multiple vehicles the word “Mustang” is both a car and a make (I’ll denote the make with a small-m and the car with a cap-M). Thus the original car is now a mustang Mustang–but we don’t repeat stuff so you drop the make. The Mach-E is now a mustang Mach-E but it isn’t a Mustang Mach-E.

There you have it: Schrödinger’s Mustang wherein the Mach-E is both a mustang and not a Mustang.

Schrödinger’s Mustang

Blue Cruise — Yes!

Well after 7 updates (and I just got another one today)… My Mach-E has “Blue Cruise”.

What is “Blue Cruise”? It is similar to GM’s SuperCruise in that it allows hands free driving on specific mapped freeways. The car has a sensor that pays attention to you to make sure your eyes are on the road and not your phone, or sleeping, or…. (about 4:15 in the video below is what happens when you look away).

Some Job 1 Mach-E’s had all the hardware for Blue Cruise but not the software. Ford was to deliver the software via over the air updates sometime last year–they missed that deadline. They are now starting to roll out the feature (via OTA still) to people enrolled in the “Early Access” program to make sure everything works before they ship it to everyone (Yup I’m in “Early Access”).

To indicate that you can take your hands off the wheel the dash changes to a blue color scheme and a “Hands Free” icon appears. You can see all of this in the 5 minute video here:

So far I’ve only taken it for that one drive but wow is that a freaky and cool experience….

Blue Cruise — Yes!

Power Up!

Sounds like a catchphrase from the Power Rangers or something LOL.

Its what Ford has been calling their Over-The-Air (OTA) software updates. PowerUp-x.y.z where x.y.z are versions. The latest to go out is PowerUp-2.4.2. This one is a first for the Mach-E in that it includes new firmware for the ECU–the powertrain module. This is also the first one that requires the car to be immobilized during the update.

To that end they added an update schedule to the car on a prior OTA so that you could let the car know when it is safe to update. Ford also e-mailed customers indicating that you may get an update faster if you set a schedule. For the fun of it I set a schedule.

On Friday I got the notification icon in the car indicating that an update was available. You’re given 3 options for the update “Update Now”, “Reschedule”, or “Cancel” when you touch the notification icon. Naturally I pressed “Update Now”. Long story short: That didn’t work and subsequent attempts didn’t work either. I continued with attempting to get the update to work throughout the evening. Finally, before going to bed I set the schedule to update at 6:45am Saturday morning….which worked!?

About the same time the car indicated an update was available I got an e-mail from Ford indicating that, for Early Access participants, they will get 5 to 7 OTA updates to get them ready for Blue Cruise (Blue Cruise is Ford’s version of hands-free highway driving). Apparently this is the first of those.

Well, stay tuned, as more are coming… I did notice with this one that the car’s brakes are operating much smoother (at least that is how it feels to me).

Power Up!

A now for something (almost) completely different

Been a while, well you know holidays and all.

Now, however, we have RV news! Wait what, this is an EV blog? Yup that too. This week is the big RV Supershow in Tampa and not one, but two large RV manufacturers showed off prototype EV RVs!

No sooner did Winnebago show that 125 mile ranged RV then Thor comes along and shows off two:

Now Thor’s version has a Fuel Cell to extend the range out to 300 miles..nice. (Oh and notice that they are both Ford Transit based motorhomes LOL.)

The one that blows both of the above away, however, is the Airstream concept:

Wait I can just back my trailer into my site by using my phone?? Sign me up! LOL

Of course all of these are just concept vehicles showing what/where those manufacturers think EV RVs are going. It is still pretty significant that two of the largest RV manufacturers are getting in on the EV bandwagon or at least trying to not get steamrollered LOL.

At the moment, however, a full battery electric RV likely isn’t practical. Batteries are still pretty heavy and to carry enough to go an appreciable distance (most motorhomes approach 400 miles in range) would overload the chassis that they are intented for.

A better route would be to take a hybrid powertrain and adapt that for an RV (take, say, the F-150’s hybrid powertrain with its powerboost inverter providing 7kW of electric power for instance). Then you can ditch the generator and replace it with a smallish (for an RV) battery bank. The bonus is that battery bank can power the RV while boondocking and if it needs to be charged up just run the main engine (an additional bonus here is that OEM engines are much much quieter than your standard RV generator–it would be likely that someone nearby wouldn’t even notice it running).

Going to be an interesting few years ahead….

A now for something (almost) completely different

Who knew charging could be such a social thing

Well drove the car a bit yesterday–down to 35% or so but it didn’t charge up overnight (I guess it decided to ignore the charge schedule). Then I find out that Electrifiy America’s DC Fast Chargers are free until January 6th or so. So off I go to the nearest DCFC.

Pulled up to the first 150kW unit: It was charging me at 50kW (My Mach-E can charge as fast as 150kW). So I pulled into the first 350kW unit (the far back left one in the picture above). Well that one would only charge at 15kW. I then moved back to the position you see here (the original 150kW unit) and eventually it got to 75kW.

Now the social aspect of this: While waiting the 25 or so minutes for my charge someone in a Subaru stopped and asked a bunch of questions about EVs. No sooner than they had left when an F-150 stopped and asked more questsion “so you like it then?” “yes!” LOL

After that an ID.4 stopped to charge at the first 350kW unit–I walked over to inform them that it was only providing 15kW. The driver said that she had just driven up from Kentucky (her car was at 3%). Wow cool.

Shortly after that a Bolt showed up and also attempted to charge on the slow 350kW unit…she also only got 15kW. She said that her parents were waiting on their Mach-E order…

Party time at the chargers… LOL

This DCFC is about 10 miles away from me so the “penalty” for “going to the gas station” is about 20 miles–in these temps (32F) that turns out to be around 10%. In warmer weather that would be far less–likely half that.

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays everyone.

Who knew charging could be such a social thing

Oh hey that is electric

We get the BBQ propane tanks refilled at a local “rent-all” place. I’ve done this probably 3 times now in the Mach-E but this is the first time I carried the tank here:

When the tank is in the back invariably it falls over and rolls around because I’m too lazy to tie it down. In the frunk it lays there nicely (yeah I know you’re not supposed to lay them down–its only about 3 miles).

Of course the other two times I’ve refilled the tank there was no conversation about the car (again I’m in Ford country).

This time, however, open the frunk and I get “oh hey! That is electric” LOL.

I guess people only notice if something out of the ordinary happens…

Oh hey that is electric

Another update…

Woke up this moring to see PowerUp-2.1.0 showing in the car and on Ford Pass. That was quick! I only noticed a forum post about it yesterday (https://www.macheforum.com/site/threads/ota-power-up-2-1-0-is-out.12352/).

Apparently this looks like an OTA to fix the OTA process (Described here https://www.macheforum.com/site/threads/ota-1-7-1-stuck-anyone-else-have-issue-updating.10071/page-19#post-293124):

2.0.1 — this update will “fix the updater” and hopefully resolve future update problems going forward

The release notes aren’t that helpful: “Minor updates here and there” despite the 2.x versioning.

Hopefully this means more and faster OTA’s in the future (including the Blue Cruise one).

Another update…