What is FordPass Pro and FordPass Connect?

  • Smartphone app for Ford van and pickup drivers
  • What it does, what it costs and why you want to use it
  • Plus details of the on-board modem and Software-Over-The-Air updates

FordPass Pro is a smartphone app that’s aimed at Ford commercial vehicle owners and drivers, and is compatible with almost all of the modern Transit van family and the Ranger pickup. It works in partnership with the FordPass Connect on-board modem, which as of June 2020, is fitted as standard equipment on every Ford CV except the Transit Courier.

An evolution of the original FordPass app, which was launched first for regular car drivers, FordPass Pro has been specially optimised for working operators, prioritising information that’s expected to be of greatest importance to these customers – including a clear indication of whether your van is locked or unlocked, for example.

It’s designed specifically for small business users rather than large fleets, connecting to up to five vehicles at once. For larger fleet customers, the blue oval now offers Ford Telematics and Ford Data Services as paid solutions.

The FordPass Connect modem, which uses 4G mobile Wi-Fi connectivity, also enables Over-The-Air (OTA – or sometimes SOTA) software updates. Meaning that Ford can now perform digital updates to on-board systems without you having to bring the Transit or Ranger into a dealership, reducing downtime.

Which Ford vans are compatible with FordPass Pro?

All of the following commercial vehicles now come with the FordPass Connect modem installed as standard, making them compatible with FordPass Pro:

Ford Transit Courier buyers miss out, then. But fleet customers can still use third-party connectivity systems for these, available from Ford from July 2020.

How do I get the FordPass Pro app?

It’s available for Apple iPhone and Android smartphone users via the relevant official app stores, and you download it in just the same way as that latest version of Candy Crush Saga. Easy.

How much does it cost?

The basic FordPass Pro app is free, and as of June 2020, there’s a free FordPass Connect modem subscription for European customers, too. Previously, FordPass Connect was a cost-option on some vehicles – but those already fitted with it are eligible for the complimentary subscription, too.

Some of the services these bits of kit provide do still require a fee – for instance, you’ll have to pay extra for Live Traffic and ‘Local Hazard’ information after the initial trial period runs out.

FordPass Pro - new Guard Mode for 2020

And there may be more such paid services in the future, as Ford plans to continue adding features as time goes by; there will be a new Guard Mode security system available by the end of 2020, for example, though this will be free of charge.

Similarly, use of the FordPass Connect modem’s Wi-Fi hotspot capability (you can connect up to 10 devices to this) does require a data bundle.

What does FordPass Pro do?

The app keeps you connected to your Ford van or pickup – and up to four others, for a small business fleet total of five. You can see where each of the vans are on a map, which could be useful if you suddenly need a second pair of hands on a job and need to know which of your workmates is closest.

As well as immediately being able to check whether the vehicle is locked, FordPass Pro also allows you to monitor its health – quickly showing you things like fuel and AdBlue level, tyre pressures, remaining oil life and the next projected service interval – and will send you alerts if any issues arise. This not only keeps you safe, it also enables you to manage the vehicle’s downtime to maximise your uptime.

FordPass Pro on smartphone

The lock functionality extends to allowing you to remotely lock or unlock the van – useful if a mate needs to get something out of it and you’re on the other side of a site or on top of a scaffold – and you can even remote start some vehicles, allowing them to warm up (or cool down) while you finish your morning coffee. Imagine no longer having to wait in the van while it defrosts in the winter.

On top of this there are various security functions. You can check where the vehicle is parked (hopefully where you left it), while the new Ford Pass Pro Guard Mode will notify you if someone accesses the van when they shouldn’t. Once activated it monitors the doors, the bonnet and the ignition. This will even help against key theft, key cloning and relay attacks, as it will alert you to unauthorised access even if a key is detected or used.

Guard Mode will be added for all FordPass Pro users free of charge later in 2020, as the first example of Ford using an Over-The-Air update to upgrade its vans and pickups for its customers.

Are Over-The-Air updates really a big deal?

According to Ford: ‘Regular software updates help ensure that vehicle systems and components continue to operate with optimum safety and performance.’ Up to now, it’s just been a pain that you’ve had to go into the dealer to get them done.

This is where OTA updates come in. Using this system ‘Ford can deliver to commercial vehicle customers new features and quality enhancements silently, seamlessly and as soon as they are ready – without requiring a visit to a dealer or service centre.’

How this will work out if you’ve had your van remapped for extra performance, however, remains to be seen.

Also read:

>> Ford reviews on Parkers Vans and Pickups

>> New FordPass Pro Guard Mode for 2020

>> Ford expands mobile servicing for commercial vehicles by over 25%

>> What is Mercedes-Benz Pro Connect?

>> Van and pickup speed limits explained

>> Van and pickup tax explained