It's one of the smartest integrations of a physical knob with a touchscreen.
Around 20 years ago, just as individual knobs and buttons in a car's interior began to be phased out by large displays with one central controller - and more recently, touchscreens - we could never have imagined that the volume knob would become such a contentious feature.
You see, along with ventilation switches, the volume knob is one of the most commonly used interior controls when you're on the move. In fact, some automakers have even reverted from fussy touch-sensitive controls and brought back a conventional volume knob. This brings us to the upcoming Ford Mustang Mach-E, which houses a massive touchscreen but has pulled off a neat volume knob trick. Why? Because nothing is worse than trying to change the volume on a touchscreen at 70 mph.
While the Mach-E's expansive 15.5-inch floating touchscreen appears to be broken up by a large, physical volume knob, this isn't actually the case. In the video below at around the 26:35 mark, a Ford expert explains that the screen is actually one full, unbroken panel with the volume knob bonded to it, not through it.
Because the knob isn't actually wired to the screen, small capacitive strips are affixed to the back of it which interact with the touchscreen below it when the knob is turned. Think of these as extensions of your actual fingers and you'll get the picture. It's a brilliantly executed solution that combines the best of a touchscreen and physical knob, without engineers having to go about developing an expensive screen with a gaping hole cut through it.
This feature is just one of many that make the Mustang Mach-E one of the most advanced Fords yet. The electric crossover will also employ the brand's new Fully Networked Vehicle electrical architecture, which allows for convenient over-the-air software updates.
Besides this, Ford has also made it possible to set up your Mach-E remotely from the comfort of your couch. This means that new owners can personalize their vehicle before it is even delivered, adjusting preferences such as navigation. While its electric powertrain dominates the headlines, it's these smaller details that add to the allure of the most anticipated new Ford since the Bronco.