Customer Trial To Improve Focus Electric Usability
Unlike the conventional Focus, the electric version will have a central speedometer with two 4.2-inch LCD screens placed on each side. These will show information from the MyFord Touch interactive system, helping them to optimise range and understand the technology by showing battery charge, distance to charging points, the cost of the energy used and surplus range.
The carmaker said nearly 30 people, including a Michigan-based electric car owners’ club, had been involved in the trial, which lets drivers ‘test’ the Focus Electric using a simulator. Following an 11-mile route, covering hills, cities and flat terrain, participants were asked to feed back what they did and didn’t like about the system.
Responses so far have led to refinements in the way it reports data to the driver, including simplifying terminology and allowing users to display extra information if they want to.
The car’s Brake Coach system, for example, originally showed the amount of energy captured when braking, alongside the amount lost to friction. This has since been re-engineered to give a readout showing the percentage lost and recaptured.
Participants also said the original circuit board which represented surplus mileage was cold and unexciting. Ford has replaced it with a “more emotive” display showing a flock of butterflies to represent the range available after the car has reached its destination.
‘These screens are an integral part of Focus Electric and we thought the best way to make sure they would do their job is to have people come in and try them out for themselves,’ said human-machine interface engineer, Paul Aldighieri.
‘The only true way to get a feel for what the screens are telling the driver is by actually getting behind the wheel.’