In and around Dearborn, Michigan, there are a number of Mustang Mach E prototypes that can be seen in suburban driveways. Almost everyone is working from home due to the coronavirus crisis. Ford engineers are no different. That may or may not be as convenient as working at Ford headquarters but as they say “the show must go on.” So right now Ford engineers are developing the Mustang Mach E from their own homes.
Ford wants to try and meet its announced production date for the Mach E which was supposed to be this fall. The only way to continue with testing was to allow over a dozen Mach E prototypes, computers, and testing equipment, to go home with engineers. So the development of the Mach E is now taking place from home basements, living rooms, garages, and the streets of Dearborn.
This Ford engineer will continue working on calibration from her home in Dearborn
CNN Business recently caught up with Ford engineer Aleyna Kapur. She’s a calibrator which means she makes sure the ECU or computer communicates with all of the sensors and appropriate components. Virtually everything in a modern car communicates with the ECU. From door handles to air conditioning and sensors for the exhaust all of it has to be calibrated to respond as it should.
Kapur told CNN, “There are like thousands and thousands and thousands of lines of code written so that way we can optimize the vehicle to respond properly during all these different situations.” For enthusiasts, the cool part of her job is about half of the time she’s driving around Dearborn while monitoring computer data.
“Generally, I would say, I’m in the Mach E at least once a day”
“Generally, I would say, I’m in the vehicle at least once a day, but there’s still quite a lot that we get done online,” she said. Kapur is tied into the computers at Ford from her home computer to access and transfer data with colleagues. Had the coronavirus lockdowns happened earlier in Mach E’s development it might not have been possible to perform these tweaks from one’s house.
Luckily, the Mach E was far enough along in its development that it could continue in this manner. Pre-production versions have been available for a while. So at this point, it is just a matter of fine-tuning the different versions of the Mach E. It will be available with a variety of batteries offering different ranges, and also in two- or all-wheel drive. The computer software will have to be programmed differently for the different versions.
In some cases, Mach E development is moving along faster now
Because they’re working from home the engineers can work when they want so in some cases development is moving along faster. Also, access to the prototypes would not be possible over weekends but because the cars are at homes there can be access even on weekends. So far the word is Mach E will be able to start production on time.
If you end up seeing or particularly if you buy a Mustang Mach E just imagine, some of it was sorted out at someone’s kitchen table. Or in their driveway. You have to wonder if this is the way future testing and development will happen?