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Marble Arch at Sunset // #GoElectric

Darkness falls, London changes shape. Electric lights fizz into life, and throw light and shadow in interesting combinations. For me, there’s most life in my hometown after dark, when there’s a little bit of something electric in the air…

Entering the #GoFurther event in Marble Arch was an immersive sensory experience – to hear, to see, to touch, was a great way to take my exploration of the technology to a new level.

I mentioned before how in my opinion, the second key barrier to driving an electric vehicle (EV) is the mythology, or the stories or beliefs the buyers have about what the change would mean for them.

Some believe there’s more cost, despite the fact that there are EVs to suit every budget, including our own commitment to bring out 14 new electrified vehicles this year, and it’s widely understood that running and maintaining an EV would be cheaper.

Some believe the range (miles between charges) won’t suit them. They are worried about running out of charge, miles from the nearest charging point, despite the majority of vehicles currently on the market being plug-in hybrid options, which pair a battery and an economical petrol or diesel engine.

Studies have shown that a ‘sweet spot’ of around 200 miles’ range is necessary for consumers to feel confident in the range of their EV. While my weekly commute is only a couple of dozen miles (I know!), we do use my car for longer jaunts, including to the continent, so this has been a question of mine. Well, the Mustang Mach-E has a targeted pure-electric range of almost double that!

And as for charging, while the infrastructure around home charging can continue to be an issue for those without access to a drive, I learned at the event that there are increasing options at home and while out and about – including Ford’s own Charging Solutions Ecosystem including FordPass support to locate, navigate, pay for and monitor charging.

Others aren’t sure about performance, although as someone who has been launched from 0-60 in 3 seconds in the interactive E-Launch activity to emulate the performance of the Mustang MachE, I’d offer a slightly wobbly voice of argument!

Some simply don’t understand how it works, what model characteristics suit them, and have small niggles that they may think sound silly – car washes anyone?

To those people I’d point out that you’re reading a post written by a person who asked whether there was a manual version of the Mustang MachE… twice (and if you didn’t know the answer before either, most of them are automatic because they don’t require a clutch, and consequently don’t need gears either. So now we all know and I don’t feel stupid on my own.)

The #GoElectric experience is designed to surface all those questions and answer them. I tapped away, as if to a dating app (Electrifyr??), to be matched to my perfect EV.

Electrifyr (I’m totally making that a thing now) helpfully matched me with the Mustang MachE. Oh go on then. A helpful configurator was the. on hand to help me make the important decisions about that!

Elsewhere I was able to actually pick up a charging cable and plug it in, as part of an interactive exhibit showing me the key features of a range of charging methods.

Then on to finding out more about how an EV actually works (see above for evidence of my need for education!). I’m certainly a lot more confident now about how an EV will suit my needs, so for me it was a great success.

After the initial exploration, we were treated not only to a peek at the Mustang MachE in a gorgeous Rapid Red (as though my configurator dreams had come true!) but also presentations from senior leaders across the organisation, speaking in inspiring tones about the future of EVs and Ford’s commitment to them.

After the speeches, time for refreshments, as we piled into Transits and travelled to a nearby art gallery space to spend more time drooling over the Mustang MachE (this time in a silvery grey), talking to the other attendees and senior leaders, and eating canapes… it’s a tough job!

Of course these last two experiences aren’t standard for the public visiting the #GoFurther event this week, but it was really interesting to experience them and compare them to other events I’ve attended.

Certainly it felt as if there were fewer ‘traditional’ media journalists at the evening event in particular – probably due in part to the location (making it an easy place to head home compared to the international events).

In my limited experience journalists tend to have their copy pre-written, or at least broadly sketched out, even before a media event. They know what they are planning to say, and what the hook to their story is likely to be, and so the main added detail they need is access to the vehicle and spokespeople for photography, interviews and test drives. As these had been done and dusted during the day, it was logical that many of those journalists would head off after some time with the Mustang MachE.

Arguably though, I’d say that even beyond the car, #GoElectric as an event is about changing hearts and minds about electrification in general; not really something the traditional press needs bringing along with, hence why the mix in the evening was perhaps more subtle in its inclusion of experiences to engage influencers and opinion-changers.

The work of #GoElectric is less perhaps about any single vehicle, but the concept and technology that we will all have to get behind eventually – and as that’s the case, why not do it early, and with enthusiasm? #GoElectric is the perfect experience for exactly that, I would say!

At this point, and as I head home for the night, you’re probably wondering more about the Mustang MachE. Well so was I… stay tuned…

 


I’ve been taking part in a really special @forduk event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #GoElectric

 


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Hoverboards // #GoElectric

If, like me, you’re of a *certain* age, you’ll remember a time when roads filled with electric vehicles seemed as likely as the mass-production of Marty McFly’s hoverboard.

Image result for marty mcfly hoverboard

That’s despite electric vehicles being among the very first cars designed, prototyped and built over a hundred years ago (some with a very familiar nameplate), including ranks upon ranks of taxis in New York as far back as the 19th Century… it’s starting to look a bit more like ‘Forward to The Past’ instead, isn’t it?

But I’m not driving an electric car. Chances are, you aren’t either. Even though we hear more and more on the news about climate change, government regulation, and the whole ‘diesel’ question, we haven’t changed over yet. Why not?

For me, the answer comes in two main parts – availability and mythology.

Regular readers will remember, last April I was lucky enough to join the team covering our Go Further event in Amsterdam, bringing to life our first conversations and concepts around electrification with the passenger and commercial vehicle consumer in mind.

Exciting times, and a gauntlet thrown down to every auto manufacturer to meet the appetite for electrification!

So where are we now? Well, we’re committed to bringing out 14 electrified vehicles in 2020, and when that line up includes the best-selling Transit, established favourites like the Mondeo and Kuga, and the What Car? Car of the Year, our new Puma, you can see that availability is becoming a moot point – truth be told, even if your favoured vehicle doesn’t bear a Blue Oval, there’s a chance there’s a version of whatever you already drive either out there now, or due on the market very soon. I drive an S-Max, and while my wait is just a teensy bit longer, there will be a hybrid with my name on it in 2021.

Ford has taken it a step further though, and is thinking all-electric, not just hybrids. As a company it’s clear that the commitment goes deep – and there’s no greater expression of that than creating an all-electric vehicle bearing our Mustang credentials.

Enter: the Mustang MachE.

I was so pleased to once again represent the Company at the recent UK media launch in Marble Arch in London, kicking off the week-long public exhibition of our electrification technology, #GoElectric

And as a definite added perk, I met this beauty in the metal…

… but we’ll come back to that later!


I’ve been taking part in a really special @forduk event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be Social with me using the icons below #GoElectric


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Sunscreen // #RangerRaptor

The final straight, and we arrived in Essaouira itself to reluctantly hand back the Ranger Raptor and grab some lunch before heading back to the airport.

Despite the sandblasting and the adventures of the previous 24 hours, it was of course in this last hour that we got a bit singed by the sun…

Time, then, to reflect.

The Ranger

I wasn’t sure what to expect before the event. I mean I’m hardly the pick-up demographic.

But what a bloody magnificent vehicle! So effortless we almost had to remind ourselves that there were features to stop, observe and remark on – this workhorse is strong, tough, capable, and will take you everywhere you want to go, and plenty of places you haven’t even thought of yet.

The adaptability, comfort level, and technical specification combine to make something I think will suit almost everyone. You can check out other sources for the specs; all I know is how it made me feel – courageous, brave, and with a smile that lasted all the way back to the terrible Frankfurt airport and beyond. To me, it’s a magical flying carpet!

The Experience

Regular readers will know I like to reflect with a few final thoughts (in no way aligned to Jerry Springer) from me and my colleagues about the experience. Being an employee ambassador is an absolute privilege, we all agree, and not just because we get to experience a particularly spectacular office for the day.

So I asked a few questions, and here are some of the answers, always interesting to me with my employee engagement hat on:

What did you expect before the trip, and did the trip match (or exceed) expectations?

Filip:  I expected a lot of driving and interacting with the new Ranger Raptor in a variety of places (and different terrain) and this is what we’ve eventually experienced. The drive was cool and the scenery definitely exceeded my expectations, as did the car itself as well.

Florian: The experience was way more than I’d expected!

What were your thoughts on the vehicle?

Filip: I liked it a lot. It makes a seriously intimidating impression when you first approach it as it’s huge and looks like a performance vehicle which in fact it is! Then when you actually get inside and know that it’s your friend, not a scary monster that will run over you, it was giving a very pleasant feeling of controlling something very powerful and unusual. People look at it with jealousy from the outside which may be its selling point in many cases. It makes the environment more colorful and interesting, especially in Performance Blue.

The experience of driving the Ranger Raptor off-road was fabulous. I’ve been driving a modified Nissan Patrol Y61 also with AT tires for a few years but the Ranger Raptor is in another league in every aspect. The power and torque are totally enough there and the way the car handles any type of terrain is truly impressive and makes me proud that it’s one of our products now.

What surprised you about the experience?

Filip: How perfectly everything was planned and executed. The huge number of people involved was a surprise to me and it gave a very professional impression. I also noticed the Rolls-Royce level of attention to detail, like aligning the cars perfectly in the morning of the second day. I was truly amazed and it was making me glad that I’m a part of it.

Florian: How the people interacted with each other… it was like a school-trip!
Everyone was so nice and friendly, whether Ford Team or media.

What was the most valuable/interesting thing about the trip?

Florian: Seeing the passion and dedication how our brand & product was presented to the journalists by the Ford Press Team. I am very proud to be selected as a Brand Ambassador.

Filip: To me personally, interacting with other members of the team like you, Florian, Elisabeth and (wow!) Steven Armstrong was truly motivating. Actually, the fact that Steven spent some time with us in the evening on Thursday and then we had these photos with him taken – that blew my mind and filled me with motivation. It really was motivating because it made me feel that the company cares about what we do.

I also got a kick out of the responsibility to deliver the results now in a form of my videos for YouTube. That’s also motivating to me! Especially that they may be seen by thousands of people.

What was the most challenging/difficult thing on the trip?

Florian: It was quite tough to not forget each and every task I’ve planned like filming and taking pictures as the location and driving the Ranger Raptor was kind of mindblowing.

Thanks both! I really enjoyed our ‘school trip’ too!

The journalists we were with were clearly delighted with the Raptor and the event, and I am so pleased to be able to share my experiences with my colleagues in the UK, to share my excitement about the vehicle and my pride in representing the Company.

Just to add – there was also another group attending the Spanish media drive and you can check out their reflections via their Instagram: David and Juan.

A note on Essaouira: I didn’t see much of the region (work, not holiday, remember) but I will find a way to get back! Everyone we met was incredibly welcoming (except for the donkeys, but I can forgive them not moving out of the way), and hearing the call to prayer across Essaouira during Ramadan felt very special.

And I think I’ll probably still have sand in my ears for some time yet anyway…


If you’ve enjoyed this blog series, do feel free to comment and share (who knows, you might get me another go at this some time!). But even if you haven’t, I enjoyed it, and I’ll leave you with pictures of the team, and the last of my photo memories from this very special trip.


I’ve been taking part in a really special @fordeu event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be social with me using the icons below #RangerRaptor More…


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Tea again // #RangerRaptor

Time for another tea break?

Unfortunately I took very few pictures during the final off road stages – when you are on sand you push your speed, and despite the fantastic ‘Watts link’ cool spring rear suspension and terrain management system things get a bit… bouncy!

Anyway, sometimes it’s just better to enjoy the ride, which is so much FUN.

Why not pause here and check out the video footage from Florian and Filip?

I’ll see you when you get back…


I’ve been taking part in a really special @fordeu event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be social with me using the icons below #RangerRaptor More…


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Paper, Scissors… // #RangerRaptor

More posing from this stunning vehicle… and also from my co-driver 😂. He has enough bad pictures of me to compensate, I can tell you…

Told you the FOX Racing shocks also flash blue…


I’ve been taking part in a really special @fordeu event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be social with me using the icons below #RangerRaptor More…


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Blue Boats // #RangerRaptor

Essaouira was once Morocco’s biggest port, and the workhorses of those generations were the traditional blue fishing boats.

Times have changed, although you can still see catches coming in and shipbuilders building and repairing these special vessels.

I think the Ranger Raptor, designed to carry people and cargo to get modern business done on land, fits in beautifully here, at the start of our final long off-road stage.

Rangers are part of our official relationship with the RNLI in the UK as well – something we in the Company are hugely proud of given the challenges the RNLI face on our behalf, every single day.


I’ve been taking part in a really special @fordeu event this week, sharing all the excitement with you on Social Media. Be social with me using the icons below #RangerRaptor More…