As Ford Authority exclusively reported recently, both the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E and 2021 Ford F-150 debut the automaker’s brand new FNV (fully-networked vehicle) electrical architecture system, which enables the vehicles to receive over-the-air updates. There are many benefits to OTA updates, which we’ve covered extensively, but also one particular downside – they make tuning these vehicles a little tougher. However, the ability to make constant improvements to a vehicle, seamlessly, could also extend Ford product cycles.
Tesla is a perfect example of how this strategy is working. While most automakers redesign vehicles every few years, with a couple of refreshes in between, the EV maker hasn’t made significant changes to any of its vehicles since their introduction. Instead, Tesla constantly updates those vehicles with new features and improved range and performance via OTA updates to keep them fresh.
Now, it appears that Ford could adopt that strategy as well. “It gives us that optionality,” Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s product development, and purchasing boss, told Automotive News in an interview. “I think we now have the ability to make the vehicle physically better for the customer with these OTA updates, and that’s something that’s game-changing in terms of the business model.”
Ford has already said that the Mach-E will receive updates roughly six months after its launch begins this month, including the addition of a hands-free driver-assist system. New CEO Jim Farley has also noted that some future software updates could become revenue streams for the automaker, something that Tesla has done in the past with performance and other optional upgrades it makes available for an additional cost.
Longer Ford product cycles are a good thing for both the automaker, which spends less on cosmetic updates as a result, as well as the consumer, whose vehicle isn’t replaced with something else in a matter of a couple of years. And as we’ve seen with Tesla models recently, this can also lead to less depreciation over time.
We’ll have more on Ford’s product plans very soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford F-Series news, Ford F-150 news, Mustang Mach-E news, and continuous Ford news coverage.