High-Tech Problem Solvers

Watch: Ford myth busters take on electric vehicle misconceptions

Ford's new Mustang-inspired crossover EV is coming soon and the automaker's engineers are trying to head off some skepticism at the pass.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

A June survey by global research and analytics consultancy PSB reveled that while most Americans expect electric vehicles (EVs) to gain widespread adoption in the near future, many of them have a number of misconceptions about them.

Confusion about the capabilities of the models is not restricted to just Americans. The survey revealed that Chinese and Europeans are just as confused.

That survey, its results, and clearing up the misconceptions is the subject of a recent post on Medium by Ted Cannis, global director, electrification, Ford Motor Company.

As the head of electrification for Ford, the questions I get from family, friends and colleagues about electric vehicles run the gamut," he shared. "'Are electric vehicles fast?' 'Do they work in winter?' 'Can I really give up visiting the gas station?' 'Are they capable enough to help me do my job?'"

Cannis says that the easy answer to all those questions is, "Yes."

More than 90 percent of Americans and Europeans don't believe quick acceleration is a great benefit of electric vehicles. This could work out to benefit automakers like Nissan who have taken a less rapid approach to acceleration than Tesla's Ludicrous mode allows.

EV Myths Busted: Fun to Drive | Electric Vehicles | Ford www.youtube.com

That doesn't mean that everyone has to offer a measured approach. Ford is seeking a more blistering approach to acceleration with its forthcoming Mustang-inspired all-electric SUV.

Other findings include:

  • 42% of Americans think electric vehicles still require gas to run.
  • Nearly 80% of Americans would not pick an electric vehicle for extreme weather, while almost 65% would not choose one for all-wheel drive.
  • 67% of Americans and 68% of Europeans don't believe that electric vehicles are capable enough in terms of towing and hauling.
Ford recently showed off the all-weather prowess of the forthcoming Mustang-inspired EV by filming it testing the Smithers Winter Test Center on Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

EV Myths Busted: Winter Test | Electric Vehicles | Ford www.youtube.com

The company also recently showed off the capability of a prototype of an all-electric Ford F-150. With hybrid and electric variants of the model deep into development, the company had to do something to prove that EVs can haul - and they did, with over one million pounds behind the hitch.

EV Myths Busted: All-Electric F-150 Prototype Tows 1M+ Pounds | Electric Vehicles | Ford www.youtube.com

Recent reporting indicates that Ford could debut their all-electric pickup by 2021. The company's long-awaited all-electric SUV is expected to arrive in showrooms in late 2020.

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A prototype of the 2022 GMC Hummer EV undergoes winter weather testing in Michigan.

Photo courtesy of GMC

All vehicles go through extreme weather testing. From the desert sands of the Arabian Peninsula and Mojave Desert to the freezing cold of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Scandinavia's upper reaches, vehicles from concept to near-production.

During that testing, research and development team members are finding out if their power- and drivetrain components are properly functioning as they have designed them to, checking on calibration, and also discovering the hardiness of their work.

When it comes to electric vehicles, there are additional tests that play into it. Does the battery deplete too quickly? Is the battery able to handle the cold weather? Are the electric motors getting enough power?

GMC HUMMER EV | The Next Chapter youtu.be

It was this, and more, put to the test by General Motors engineers when they got behind the wheel of the 2022 GMC Hummer in the northern reaches of Michigan. While driving in sub-zero temperatures they tested the all-electric truck on various slippery surfaces, including snow, ice, steep and split-mu grades. Key tests include integrating its powerful all-wheel drive torque distribution with the traction control system, as well as calibrating and testing the electronic stability control system.

The video shows the Hummer EV looping a test track, using four-wheel steering to handle ice, and bumping its way over some mild snow piles. There's also a show of the suspension system absorbing the imperfections in the roadway, allowing the cab of the truck to remain stable.

There are some differences with the prototype truck seen testing here and the renderings of the model that were shown off by GMC at the truck's reveal. Specifically, the front end. Eagle-eyed enthusiasts will note that the headlights and the area between them is not as refined as it was in the original images.

At this point, it is unclear as to why the change has been made and whether or not it's permanent. Likely, it's just fascia that has been deleted for testing and will be replaced when the vehicle heads to production.

The 2022 GMC Hummer EV is slated to go into production this autumn. Find out more about the product rollout plan for the model here.

In the video, GMC also teases the coming of the GMC Hummer EV SUV.

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The Volvo C40 Recharge is a couple-like version of the XC40.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Earlier this week, Volvo announced that it is going all-in on electric vehicles by 2030. Now it's showing off its latest model, a take on the XC40 Recharge - the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge.

Taking a note from the Audi playbook, the C40 Recharge is a sloped roof version of the XC40 Recharge. It has sleeker design than its predecessor even though they both ride on the same platform. The face of the model shows off a new design path for Volvo and has headlights with state-of-the-art pixel technology, something also on the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

Volvo has given the car an electric powertrain that consists of two electric motors, one on the front axle and one at the back, which are powered by a 78-kilowatt-hour battery that can be charged to 80 percent in 40 minutes. It has an expected range of 260 miles.

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

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The C40 Recharge offers a high seating position and is available in a large range of color ways. It is the first Volvo model to be completely leather-free. Volvo has given the model its infotainment system, which runs on Android technology. Apps such as Google Maps, Google Assistant, and the Google Play Store are built in. The tech allows for over-the-air updates.

Volvo will only sell the C40 Recharge online and it will come with a care package.

"The C40 Recharge represents the future of Volvo and shows where we are going," said Henrik Green, chief technology officer. "It is fully electric, offered online only with a convenient care package and will be available for quick delivery. Getting a new Volvo was never this attractive."

The XC40 was Volvo's first all-electric car. Volvo promises additional electric models are on their way in the coming years. The automaker predicts that by 2025, 50 percent of its global sales volume will consist of fully electric cars. The rest will be hybrids. To achieve this, Volvo is expected to lean heavily on the Asian and European markets where EVs are more popular with buyers due to government regulation.

The C40 Recharge will go in production this fall and will be built alongside the XC40 Recharge at the Volvo Cars manufacturing plant in Ghent, Belgium.

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