Confirmed: Ford Mach-E Will Support Over-the-air Updates
Over-the-air (OTA) updates are opening new doors for manufacturers, providing a way to continuously update vehicles after they’ve been purchased. We’ve had mixed feelings on their implementation.
While Tesla has used OTA updates to enhance features on its products, it also sees the technology as a way to rationalize customers paying up front for systems that have failed to manifest. The company has showed a willingness to digitally remove content on vehicles entering the secondhand market — to the chagrin of sellers and those taking possession of a freshly neutered automobile. Meanwhile, Volkswagen has deemed adhering to the launch date of its ID.3 electric hatchback more important than having all the software bugs worked out — with the assumption being that they’ll just be fixed later.
Our cursory assessment on over-the-air updates has been that they seem to possess countless opportunities for the industry to innovate and/or take advantage of customers. And it’s the main reason we’re not celebrating Ford’s recent announcement that the Mach-E will be equipped to receive OTA updates quite as loudly as other outlets.
The Blue Oval promises its all-electric crossover will stay up to date thanks to digital updates that can be done from anywhere. Changes are said to take under two minutes and be “virtually invisible to customers, enabled by an innovative cloud-connected platform that keeps current software running until a new version is ready to go.”
In fact, many changes will be enacted without the driver’s knowledge for a sublimely seamless presentation. Owners will be able to check to see what software has been installed at their own discretion.
“The beauty of the Mustang Mach-E is that what our customers experience on day one is just the beginning — it will evolve to add even more features and capabilities over time,” John Vangelov, connected services manager for Ford Motor Co., said in a statement. “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.”
As spilling the beans on what updates might be around the corner could discourage a few launch day buyers, Ford is understandably not sharing planned OTA features right now. It did say, however, that these would “go well beyond SYNC updates,” even though we’re presuming multimedia and apps as being the main focus.
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.
The manufacturer said the first updates will be issued roughly six months after the Mach-E’s now-delayed production kickoff. Ford had originally slated the first deliveries to take place at the end of 2020, but the health crisis has made that an issue in some regions. While the United States has yet to be told to hold onto any metaphorical horses, odds are decent that Ford will postpone the model beyond October if it feels the economic climate isn’t right. For now, the automaker has only said it wants to wait until factories reopen before discussing the prospect of further delays.
[Images: Ford Motor Co.]
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