Electric Vehicles Go Social


The connected electric car is poised to become more social. Ever wish your commute could be a little more exciting? Technological advancements are turning your car into a connected device, and some vehicles are even taking cues from video games.

At this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Ford Motor Co., www.ford.com, is showcasing its MyFord Mobile app along with its Focus Electric to demonstrate ways to combine social networking and greener driving.

The MyFord Mobile app will allow drivers to become more efficient while also making driving more social. For instance, once the car becomes available in the first half of 2012, Ford says Focus Electric drivers can earn achievements based on how far they drive and the level of emissions they are saving by driving an electric vehicle. The data can be transmitted to online leaderboards on the MyFord Mobile Website, allowing drivers to compare their results with others.

Drivers can also upload their driving statistics to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Overall, the app brings gaming elements into the car, by offering rewards for a variety of actions, such as helping another driver answer a question in the online forums. Ford says there are also “surprise achievements” embedded in the app based on the owner’s activities.

Ford compares these achievements to “Easter eggs” in video games, and it’s interesting to imagine ways your car may track your activities to determine these achievements. Ford doesn’t mention a lot of specific driving parameters beyond the miles driven and CO2 saved.

The MyFord Mobile app was announced in early 2011 as a social platform specifically designed for the electric vehicle driving experience, and the technology has also received the “Best of Innovation” recognition from CES. The industry will be on the watch when the Focus Electric hits the consumer market to see how the app is received and whether social driving takes off.

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