Confirmed: Ford Mach-E Will Support Over-the-air Updates

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
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.

From 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.

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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  • El scotto El scotto on May 13, 2020

    Any hand held electronic device you take with you allows someone to track you. Your cell phone passes your location from tower to tower. Remember roaming fees? Your cell phone company knows where you are. You're allowing your cell phone company to know this. There is no evidence that any cell phone company or car company is selling your data to third parties. That information is not marketable, yet. You gave them permission anyway.

  • Namesakeone Namesakeone on May 13, 2020

    Slightly off topic, but who else here thinks that the Mach-E is Ford's way of seeing if the general public would tolerate a Mustang SUV (eventually replacing the current sports coupe and convertible), much like the Probe tested the tolerance for a Japanese Mustang? The current Mustang, unlike the Challenger and Camaro, shares no major components with any other vehicle. Ford must be thinking about keeping the valuable Mustang name but making it into something, you know, more profitable.

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  • Jim Bonham Full EVs are not for everyone, they cannot meet all needs. Hybrids do a much better job of providing the benefits of EVs without most of the drawbacks. I have a hybrid sedan with plenty of room, plus all the bells and whistles. It has 360 hp, AWD, does 0-60 in just over 5 sec.(the instant torque is a real benefit), and I get 29 mpg, average. NOT driven lightly. I bought it used for $25k.Sure, it's a little heavier because of the battery, motor, etc., but not nearly as much as a full EV. The battery is smaller/lighter/cheaper and both the alternator and starter motor are eliminated since the motor assumes those functions. It's cool to watch the charge guage show I'm getting energy back when coasting and/or braking. It's even cooler to drive around part of the time on battery only. It really comes in handy in traffic since the engine turns off and you don't waste fuel idling. With the adaptive cruise control you just let the car slowly inch along by itself.I only wish it were a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV). Then, I'd have A LOT more EV-only range, along with even more of that instant torque. The battery would be bigger, but still a fraction of the size of a full EV. I could easily go weeks without using much, if any gas (depending upon my commute) IF I plug it in every night. But I don't have to. The gas engine will charge the battery whenever it's needed.It's just not as efficient a way to do it.Electric companies offer special rates for both EVs and PHEVs which lower your operating cost compared to gasoline. They'll even give you a rebate to offset the cost of installing a home charger. You can still get federal (up to $7,500, plus some state) tax credits for PHEVs.What's not to like? My next daily driver will be a PHEV of some kind. Probably a performance-oriented one like the new Dodge Hornet or one of the German Hybrid SUVs. All the benefits, sound, feel, etc., of a gas vehicle along with some electric assist to improve fuel economy, performance, and drivability. None of the inherent EV issues of cost, range anxiety, long charging times, poor charger availability, grid capacity issues, etc. I think most people will eventually catch on to this and go PHEV instead of going full EV. Synthetic, carbon-neutral eFuels, hydrogen engines, and other things will also prevent full EVs from being 100% of the fleet, regardless of what the politicians say. PHEVs can be as "clean" (overall) as full EVs with the right fuels. They're also cheaper, and far more practical, for most people. They can do it all, EVs can't.
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  • ToolGuy @Chris, your photography rocks.
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