Ford Focus Electric hooks up wirelessly with AT&T, incurs jealous looks from T-Mobile

AT&T is keeping up its wheeling and dealing this week, signing an agreement with Ford to provide the built-in wireless connectivity for its upcoming Focus Electric hatchback. The deal's pretty simple, really. Ford has put together a comprehensive MyFord Mobile application to go with its EV, which will allow you to keep track of and schedule charging, while also serving up status notifications, range information, and nearby recharging stations' locations, the latter facility being provided with the help of MapQuest. All that data exchange will need a nice dumb pipe to carry it between the Focus and your smartphone and AT&T is obligingly fulfilling that role -- and don't worry if your phone doesn't support the app (works with Android, BlackBerry and iOS), Ford's got a web interface too. Full PR after the break.

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Ford Teams With AT&T to Wirelessly Connect New Ford Focus Electric

- Ford Electric Vehicle Owners Will Have Ability to Remotely Monitor, Engage and Control Vehicle Settings via Information Collected over the AT&T Wireless Network

- Ford Motor Company to use AT&T wireless network to connect new Ford Focus Electric

- Wireless connection enables vehicle owners to control vehicle settings when away from the car - all part of a strategic approach to make Ford electric car ownership simple, easy and engaging

- MyFord Mobile, Ford's exclusive app powered by MapQuest data, will be accessible through a smartphone or secure website

- Embedded wireless connection and dedicated app includes the ability for the owner to monitor and control vehicle charge settings, plan single- or multiple-stop journeys, locate charging stations, pre-heat or cool the car

DALLAS and DEARBORN, Mich., March 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Ford Motor Company and AT&T* today announced an agreement to wirelessly connect the Ford Focus Electric, Ford's first all-electric passenger car. Announced in January at the 2011 International CES, the new Focus Electric enters production at the Michigan Assembly Plant in late 2011.

Through the new MyFord Mobile smartphone app, using the embedded AT&T wireless connection, Ford Focus Electric vehicle owners will have the ability to send and receive data about their car providing command and control of vehicle settings while away from it.

"Ford has been at the forefront of developing market leading telematics and infotainment services for its vehicles and we're thrilled to be a part of this exciting and significant next step with the upcoming Focus Electric," said Glenn Lurie, president of emerging devices, resale and partnerships, AT&T. "Connecting consumers directly to their electric vehicles in this new and innovative way is going to drive innovative and exciting levels of interaction."

MyFord Mobile technology provides Focus Electric owners in North America with a powerful tool to stay connected, monitor and control their vehicle. Through a smartphone app or secure website, MyFord Mobile invites Focus Electric owners to plan trips, monitor the vehicle's state of charge, receive various alerts for vehicle charging, as well as provides several other features designed to simplify the electric vehicle ownership experience.

"With a wireless connection, we're putting battery charge and vehicle range information, along with an interactive, data-driven trip planning app, directly at the fingertips of our customers," said Ed Pleet, product and business manager for Ford Connected Services. "This technology will keep drivers connected to vital information, enhancing their electric car ownership experience. The AT&T network is an important part of this equation and we're pleased to have AT&T on board."

MyFord Mobile will connect through the AT&T network, allowing the car to communicate off-board through standard wireless technology. From an internet connected mobile phone or computer, owners can:

Find current and projected state of charge information including estimated range and the amount of charge time necessary for additional distances
Program vehicle charging with utility input, allowing the car to start charging immediately or when electricity prices are lowest with the value charging feature, powered by Microsoft
Features powered by MapQuest available on the MyFord smartphone app:
Locate charging stations and get the destination sent to the vehicle
Know if the vehicle can reach a specific charge station from its current location with the current charge level
Create a journey with multiple stops, and determine the likelihood that the car has adequate charge for the full journey
Find the car by creating a route from a mobile phone to the vehicle
Receive alerts if the vehicle isn't charging when it's scheduled to, or if charging stops unexpectedly due to a power outage, plug removal or other event
Receive alerts during recharge when the vehicle has reached a particular preset charge level or has the ability to reach a particular destination
Engage remote vehicle preconditioning, using grid power to heat or cool the vehicle interior
Remotely lock/unlock doors
Use the built-in GPS system to locate the car
Download performance and system data
Fun ways of understanding your driver behavior, with ratings from 'Zen' to 'Zippy'
Receive information personalized to the driver, depending on which key the driver used

How the system works

At launch, the MyFord Mobile app will be available for most major smartphones, along with a mobile web application for compatibility with any phone supporting HTML-5 browser-based access, or feature phones with WAP 2.0-supported browsers. The feature also is accessible via a secure Ford website.

Owners will use the smartphone to communicate with a cloud-based highly secure server, which stores information provided by the embedded wireless module in Focus Electric. Using a cloud-based architecture ensures users will have up-to-the-minute access to information through the AT&T wireless network

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.