Drive

Ford and Me

Marble Arch at Sunset // #GoElectric

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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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