Power to the consumer.
It's been over a year since the Ford Mustang Mach-E hit the market and most owners couldn't be happier. The Blue Oval's first fully electric vehicle built from the ground up is a smash hit and there's plenty more to come. Now that some time has passed since its debut, the Mach-E launch team has gotten back together to evaluate everything and how things can be improved.
Per Automotive News, Ford has decided on a strategy to consistently update the EV instead of waiting until the next model year. "We now do continuous improvement. You don't wait for a model year; you just continually drop them in," said Darren Palmer, Ford's general manager of battery-electric vehicles. For example, the launch group that consists of the purchasing, manufacturing, and engineer teams have been busy studying not only the competition but also what owners are discussing on social media.
They have now managed to shave $1,000 in production costs based on that knowledge. For example, they figured out a way to reduce the number of components in the frunk from nine to just two. How so? They benchmarked the frunk against those found in rivals. Customer input also informed them to retain the plastic drain.
"It's not about stripping the car. It's about giving them things they love, but simpler," Palmer added. Another interesting discovery involves heated seats. The team learned they could actually save money by simply adding heated seats to the California Route 1 edition. Again, Ford paid attention to what was being said on social media as well as learning via connected-vehicle data that owners who did have heated seats used them a lot.
"It turns out people love heated seats, and they use them in an EV instead of the heated ventilation, so we standardized the heated seats and took out the other one," Palmer said. "We got a better price because we got more volume. It was complexity reduction and building scale, which means we got them much cheaper." Even the Mach-E's cooling system was simplified by cutting out two of the four motors and unnecessary hoses.
This new process of continuously updating vehicles has already received the green light to continue with upcoming new EVs like the F-150 Lightning and E-Transit. Ford is wisely utilizing connected data to not only improve vehicles but also promote creativity amongst employees. In turn, consumers will benefit.