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Car Tech Spotlight: Mobile app for the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi

Application lets you control aspects of Ford's plug-in hybrid and keep tabs on it from your smartphone.

By Douglas Newcomb May 10, 2013 7:22AM

Driving a plug-in electric hybrid requires some extra homework if you want to save gas by topping off the battery every day. I discovered this after a week with the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi, one of Ford's latest plug-in vehicles.

While it’s not a huge hassle, plugging in is not as convenient as pulling up to the pump, especially since I live in Oregon, where it's against the law to pump your own gas. But the more you plug in, the less you have to visit a gas station.

One thing that makes owning the C-Max Energi convenient – and is also just cool technology – is the MyFord Mobile application that lets you control various features of the vehicle and also keep tabs on it.

This isn’t unique. Most cars of this type – the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S – have their own smartphone apps that let you remotely access features and information about the vehicle.

MyFord Mobile has these covered: Battery charge status, finding the car’s location, activating the climate control system while the car is plugged in and setting a desired temperature. But it also provides much more.

Ford C-Max Energi MyFord Mobile appFor one, it helps solve the issue that most plagues plug-ins: range anxiety. Since the Ford C-Max Energi is a plug-in hybrid like the Volt and not a pure electric vehicle like the Leaf and Model S, this isn’t a huge concern, since the gasoline engine can kick in when the battery runs out of juice.

But MyFord Mobile is the only app that shows charging stations on a map. And while it doesn’t route you to them, it gives you info such as the address and charging options at the site.

Another neat feature: The app can send you notifications via email or text message or through the app itself for situations ranging from a charge fault to low tire pressure.

While other apps let you to establish charging times and climate control settings remotely, the MyFord Mobile’s Go Times allow arranging them according to a seven-day schedule of when you want the interior precooled or preheated when the car is plugged in. This feature and others can be accessed via an owner website as well.

Ford C-Max Energi MyFord Mobile app

The website also has a Value Charging feature that lets you set charge times based on the best local utility rates, but it’s not yet operational. When I tried it, a message said,  “The feature is coming in early 2013.”

I never had to fill the gas tank once over the course of a week driving the Ford C-Max Energi. And while the nightly plug-in routine wasn’t always convenient, controlling aspects of the car through the MyFord Mobile app was.

May 11, 2013 5:27PM
"plugging in is not as convenient as pulling up to the pump", that is just crazy talk. Plugging in is orders of magnitude easier. You don't have to pay (it just shows up with the electricity bill) and, especially in Oregon, you don't have to wait for an attendant to do it for you. When you have your own charging station in your garage, it is super simple and only takes 3 seconds.  
May 14, 2013 12:31PM

I highly doubt this application will show you how you arent getting the gas mileage Ford claimed you would in their commercial or on the window sticker.  All the magazines that have tested this terd has said they werent even close to the window sticker ratings.

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