Ford prepares for Focus Electric launch

Ford’s first ever electric vehicles are due to arrive in the UK in 2012 and 2013 respectively, and in order to improve the range and battery life of the vehicles, Ford is using new wireless technology.

The wireless technology collects real-time performance data from the vehicles as they are tested. This is sent back to a lab where it can be recorded and used to improve the life of its battery.

Ford estimates this new method of collecting data could lead to the lithium-ion battery life being doubled, meaning a larger range for both the Transit Connect Electric and Focus electric.

"Remote monitoring allows us to access real-time data and make continuous improvements very quickly," said Sherif Marakby, Ford director, Electrification Program and Engineering. "This degree of efficiency would have been unthinkable a few years ago and will help Ford bring more fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles to market more quickly than ever before."

The lithium-ion battery is being tested in extreme conditions such as freezing cold and scorching hot temperatures. Older batteries are also being tested to ensure the battery life doesn’t depreciate over time.

"So far, we’ve been impressed by our system’s exceptionally low internal resistance, which means the battery charges very quickly and efficiently," said Ted Miller, manager, Advanced Energy Storage Technology. "As we continue our testing, we will be able to calculate the system’s optimal recharge rate while maximizing battery life."

Ford claims over 20 new improvements have been made since the wireless tested system was implemented, and engineers will continue to improve the electric technology in the lead up to the European debut of the Ford Focus Electric and Transit Connect Electric.

Ford also has plans to introduce a range of hybrid and plug-in hybrid models to the European market in 2013.