(Pocket-lint) - Ford has begun to offer FordPass features to European drivers for free, enabling them to remotely control their Ford vehicles from their phones.

Previously, these "connected vehicle services" were available to new vehicle owners as a two-year trial subscription. Ford said it's now waiving subscription fees for "most of its connected services, potentially saving drivers hundreds of pounds over the lifetime of a vehicle".

Keep in mind Apple recently announced CarKey, a way to wirelessly unlock your car with your iPhone, as part of OS 14. It will work over NFC. And the first car supported will be the new 2021 BMW 5 Series, which comes out next month.

Ford said European drivers will simply need to use the FordPass app to access remote control services such as checking on a vehicle's "health, fuel level and oil levels, range". The app also supports locking doors, starting the engine, and climatising the cabin - again all from your phone.

Other features include:

  • Alerts that highlight issues like low tyre pressure or a failed lightbulb.
  • See your vehicle’s location, so no need to worry about losing it in a car park.
  • View summaries of recent trips to understand fuel usage and claim mileage.
  • Overlaid journeys on a map to reveal places with harsh braking or acceleration.
  • Support during breakdowns, including coordination with roadside patrols.
  • Send vehicle diagnostics information to the roadside assistance services.

FordPass brings additional features to electrified vehicles like the Kuga Plug-In Hybrid and Explorer Plug-In Hybrid:

"The FordPass app helps EV owners benefit from off-peak electricity tariffs by enabling them to schedule vehicle charging. FordPass users can also set a departure time, warming or cooling the cabin while the vehicle is plugged in, leaving the battery to achieve the best range possible. The FordPass app also includes a convenient charging station locator to help driver’s top-up on the go. The app provides feedback on fuel and electric energy usage too, including energy recaptured through regenerative braking and miles travelled using electric power alone."

For a Ford vehicle to work with FordPass, it needs to be a "FordPass Connect-equipped vehicle". That includes the 2019 Ecosport, Edge, Expedition, Explorer, Escape, Super Duty, Fusion, Mustang, and Ranger. Some features may not be supported on all vehicle models. Also, Ford said roadside assistance is limited to the UK, Spain, France, and Portugal, "with further markets to follow".

To find out if your car is compatible with FordPass, check out Ford's site.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.