Ford announced that the Mustang Mach-E, their all-electric crossover with the Mustang badge on it, will have, for the first time in the company’s history, a way to make some vehicle updates over-the-air. This technology is already being used by Tesla for its vehicles, so it’s clear that Ford is following suit.
It’s wise too as many Tesla owners site the convenience of over-the-air updates and not having to waste their time at repair shops as a reason they bought a Tesla. Bringing this technology to the Mach-E is smart for several reasons.
One, it gives the Mach-E some cache, similar to how Tesla vehicles have. There’s a hip factor to it with this announcement. Secondly, Ford plans to bring over-the-air technology to many of their other vehicles, not just their electric vehicles.
Imagine having an F-150 that can make adjustments to Sync or other minor system adjustments, without being inconvenienced by a trip to the dealership. Many of these updates can be done while the vehicle is parked, or in the case of the Mach-E charging. And, according to Ford, many of these updates can be done in under two minutes.
“Our clever over-the-air updates also minimize downtime through incredibly fast activation and ensure your Mustang Mach-E is always getting better, even when you’re asleep,” said John Vangelov, connected services manager, Ford Motor Company.
How Does Over-the-Air Updating Work?
Minor updates like Sync infotainment will be done seamlessly. But this technology goes beyond just minor infotainment updates.
According to Ford, nearly all Mustang Mach-E computer modules can be updated wirelessly, meaning Ford can provide performance enhancements and entirely new features that might not exist when customers first take delivery of their vehicles.
Some installations will be virtually invisible to customers, who can select a regular time – such as the middle of the night – for updates while their Mustang Mach-E is parked. Many updates will be completed almost instantly after a customer starts their vehicle, while in-vehicle alerts will tell them what improvements have been installed. Many can be completed in under two minutes, and more complex updates that might require the vehicle to be parked for longer can be scheduled to take place when customers find it most convenient.
Ford also said that this technology will start in the Mach-E but stretch to many other products in the Ford family. In 2020, Ford will begin equipping most redesigned vehicles in the U.S. with advanced over-the-air update capability for quick and easy wireless upgrades that can help enhance quality, capability and improve the ownership experience over time while reducing dealer trips, according to information provided by Ford.
Ford delivering for its customers even during a pandemic
To ensure Mustang Mach-E launches with this advanced capability as planned, Ford’s engineering team has found new ways to develop and test over-the-air updates in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, teams would have to get together in the same physical space to access all the different vehicle modules needed to test over-the-air capabilities – but work-from-home requirements mean engineers needed to think fast to change the way they operate.
The team moved swiftly to set up remote access to all of the vehicle modules, even wiring them with tools enabling engineers to quickly reprogram modules from their homes. What initially took five hours to program remotely can now be done in under 10 minutes.
“By quickly implementing remote access to our vehicle components, we’re ensuring our Mustang Mach-E customers can enjoy the great capabilities they’ve been looking forward to from the start, while providing the accommodations our engineers need to continue innovating from the safety of their homes,” said Vangelov.
Nobody has been more critical of the Mustang Mach-E than I have. My disdain for the name is well documented. But putting that aside, there is merit to this vehicle. This over-the-air technology is the future of the auto industry. Early adapters may encounter a few bugs and glitches, but it’s proven to be quite popular amongst Tesla owners.
Within the automotive industry it’s revolutionized, in some way, automotive repair. That situation will certainly evolve over time. I love technology, so even despite my objections to other things relating to the Mach-E, I actually think it’s pretty cool of Ford to put this into this vehicle. It will be interesting to see how it goes for the early adapters.
Now that Ford’s manufacturing facilities will start back up soon, one of the most anticipated vehicles is the Mach-E. Ford is taking reservations for the all-electric crossover as I reported.
So, what say you regarding the over-the-air technology. Does it incentivize you to buy a vehicle equipped with that? Or are you worried about early glitches? Leave me your comment about this or about your thoughts on the Mach-E.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.