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Ford’s EV and BlueCruise combine for better road trips

Ford’s EV and BlueCruise combine for better road trips

Ford’s EV and BlueCruise combine for better road trips

Ford’s EV and BlueCruise combine for better road trips

Oric Lawson / Ars Technica

Until the promised future of self-driving cars arrives, we’re stuck behind the wheels of our cars. Self-driving is slowly getting bigger… Self-driving in places, but for passenger cars that still have steering wheels, we still need to keep our hands on the steering wheel and our eyes on the road — if you don’t drive a GM with SuperCruise or a Ford with BlueCruise , This is it.

Currently only available on certain models of Ford’s first two battery-powered vehicles, namely Mustang Mac E And the F-150 LightningBlueCruise enables hands-free driving on more than 130,000 miles of divided highways around the United States. It’s basically Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 driver assistance system paired with an array of in-vehicle cameras that monitor the driver’s eyes to make sure they’re looking at the road.

I recently had a week’s worth of both a Ford Mustang Mach-E GT and an F-150 Lightning Platinum, both equipped with BlueCruise. These two weeks have also coincided with a positive COVID test for my son, who is a freshman at the University of Iowa. Because that university’s COVID policy for positive tests is “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here,” and I had a (light) seizure about a month ago, I was sent to retrieve the boy so he could isolate at home.

The largest segment of the approximately 215-mile route between suburban Chicago and Iowa City is Interstate 88, which is arguably one of the less interesting stretches of the interstate highway system. Along with I-294 and I-80, it is designated by Ford and covered by BlueCruise. Suddenly the prospect of over 850 miles of boring back-and-forth driving seemed less daunting.

The Disguised Driver’s Frustrations

The Mach-E GT goes from 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds.
Zoom / The Mach-E GT goes from 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds.

BradleyWarren Photography

Twenty-four hours after symptoms first appeared, our son sent us a picture of a positive COVID test. At that point, the $69,600 Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition was sitting in the garage with a range of about 190 miles. After I drove to Iowa City in our BEV, I knew there was a level 3 charger 40 or so miles from our destination in Iowa 80, also known as the “world’s largest truck stop” outside Walcott, Iowa. Having owned a BEV for nearly three years, I also knew better of chance of a trip without a very small buffer, so I went out into the garage and plugged our Electrify America charger into the Mach-E.

As the name suggests, the GT is an upgraded version of the Mustang Mach-E. With sporty all-wheel drive, the GT can shoot from 0 to 60 in just 3.8 seconds. If that’s not enough, the $5,000 Performance Edition cuts that number down to just 3.5 seconds. Its two electric motors produce 480 horsepower (358 kW) and 634 pound-feet (860 Nm) of torque. The GT comes with Ford’s 88kWh long-range battery, giving the Performance GT a range of 260 miles, 10 miles down from the Vanilla GT.

Unbridled Mode makes the Mustang Mach-E look like its gas-powered namesake.  You can even make it look like one.
Zoom / Unbridled Mode makes the Mustang Mach-E look like its gas-powered namesake. You can even make it look like one.

BradleyWarren Photography

When I checked the Electrify America app about three hours later, the Mach-E was north of a 240-mile range, so it was time to go. Once I got to Tri-State Tollway, I made the Neal Stephenson audiobook yawning And run BlueCruise. After a few seconds, a blue steering wheel icon appeared on the digital instrument panel with the words “Hands-Free” on it. I dropped my hands to my side, and the car kept doing what cars do.



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