We’ve moved…

The blog has moved to: https://spareelectrons.wordpress.com/

I will be putting news posts up there instead of here from now on. Having my own blog space means I can post about more stuff than just EVs & the FFE (I’m sure I could before but I was limiting myself since I was in the myevblog domain).

 

A couple of ARS articles relevant to EVs

One article details the dramatic price drop we’ve been seeing in the cost of Li-ion batteries. The drop has been faster than predicted and bodes well for future EVs.

The other, however, repeats much of the information from a recent study on “how much do EVs pollute”. This study is another in a line that attempts to calculate how much better (or worse) EVs are to conventional ICE cars. These studies are popping up now about once every 6 months. Some show EVs as being dramatically better, some show them as dramatically worse. Most of them have some flaws. At the moment I think the jury is still out (for some of the “EVs are worse” studies, though, there are some really obvious flaws in them). The one thing that is true, however, is that EVs will get greener as the power grid gets greener–that cannot be said for ICE cars.

 

Old review, but a good one

Inside EV’s noticed that MotorWeek has released their review of the BMW i3 today.

This reminded me that MotorWeek also reviewed the Focus Electric back in 2012:

In general they liked the Focus Electric but note that back when this review was done the FFE’s price tag was quite a bit higher than it is today ($29,170–almost $10,000 less than mentioned) and, at the time, the Leaf wasn’t available with a 6kW charger (hence the claim that the Focus charges faster). The opposite is now true today as you can get a Leaf with a CHAdeMO fast charger and the CCS is nowhere to be found on the FFE (perhaps 2016??).

All told, though, it is a pretty decent and evenhanded review of the FFE.

 

Got my car on my wrist!

Well, yesterday Ford posted this intriguing video:

Showing the MyFord Mobile app working with an Android watch (looks like a Moto360; hey I have a Moto 360 what do you know!).

Of course as soon as I saw that I had to grab my phone & watch to see if they’ve updated the app….nope. Sigh. Hopefully sometime soon they will update it (I also searched the Google Play store to see if they just released a new app with no such luck).

Waiting; waiting; I want my car on my wrist!

Update: I sent Ford an e-mail asking when it will be available and got “really soon now” back with a twitter link:

Update #2: The Detroit Free Press has a blurb about it at the end of this article.

Public chargers don’t affect EV sales?? what?

Here is some interesting research:

When we account for the relevant factors, our analysis suggests that the relationship between public charger awareness and plug‐in electric vehicle demand is weak or non‐existent,

In short: When people are considering if they want to drive/purchase an EV the availability of public chargers doesn’t factor into their decision. In interesting result. Granted when people are considering a conventional ICE car the availability of local gas stations doesn’t factor either–but this is simply because gas stations are found everywhere. If you are considering a Diesel vehicle, however, you’ll be interested in how many local stations sell Diesel fuel (simply because not all gas stations have Diesel–at least in the U.S.).

When I was considering getting the Focus Electric local public chargers did not factor into my decision process. My main concern was: can I get to and from work on a charge and have sufficient reserve to be able to run errands and/or be able to charge sufficiently at home in order to go out later after work. Obviously the answer to both those questions was yes (I already knew before I got the car that workplace charging was not available and wouldn’t be available to me). Thus my experience fits in with the results of that research.

This makes perfect sense: Your house already has an electric “feed” going to it. You know that if you get an electric car you’ll be able to charge at home. Your main consideration will be: can I get everything I need to do with the EV charge I can get at home on a daily basis. This would lead to some “range anxiety” concerns (a really bad term coined by the media–you get “range anxiety” in a gas car too when the low fuel light turns on). If you’ve done your homework and determined that an EV is the right fit for you; you quickly realize what the EV can and cannot do with the home charge. Its only at that point where you even begin to consider public charging: When you’ve determined it all works for you and then ask “Hey! Where else can I take my EV?” that is when you start looking for public charging which is long after the initial purchase decision.

 

Focus Electric Lessons

Here are a couple of PDF lessons on the Focus Electric’s operations:

Lesson 2 Braking System

Lesson 3 Cooling System

Very interesting reading–if I find more I’ll post them.

Also found this Vehicle Overview.

 

Battery powered railcars

The city of Detroit is currently building a small street-car rail system going along Woodward ave from downtown to the new center area (3.3 miles in all–the original plan was for it to go much further). The system is called M-1 rail.
M1 Rail construction map

Wait? a rail system? in your EV blog? Yes a battery rail system.

There are sections of the track where they will be unable to put the overhead wires and in those instances the rail cars will be running on battery only.

Instead of a Woodward Avenue wrapped with electric lines, 60% of the route will be “off wire,” meaning most of it will run on battery power versus electricity.

I find this kind of ironic: The cities new rail system will be an EV and yet most of the automaker’s here would rather that EVs go away. Not to mention the fact that when the cars are running on battery they still are running off of electricity–just internal stored electricity.

Ford is sharing FFE’s?

What? Ford is starting its own car sharing program? Called GoDrive in London:

Click here to see the press release.

The pilot experiment launched with 100 registered members accessing zero‑emission Focus Electric or fuel-efficient, low-emission Fiesta 1.0-litre EcoBoost models from secure parking hubs near major public transport locations, such as Waterloo and Victoria railway stations.

How interesting. A short range electric car is perfect for an inner city car sharing program: They can recharge at the sharing sites, and users typically wouldn’t need to go too far with them–they aren’t using them for their commute (that’s what the subway is for). In addition, since they are also featuring 1.0L Fiesta’s anyone wanting a longer range than the FFE could simply take off in a Fiesta.

This is a really interesting experiment–especially from a large auto company (given that if car sharing like this takes off a lot fewer people would be buying cars).

 

 

 

DIY Recall part 2

Yesterday I got a phone call from the electrician about replacing the cable for the Bosch EVSE. It went something like this:

“Hello I’m electrician XYZ calling about that EVSE cable. We can schedule a time for me to come out and swap them out.”

“Oh yeah that cable–I’ve already did the job.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, the instructions were so clear it seemed pretty easy to do. Took me about 15 minutes.”

“It works?”

“Yup right after the swap out I let the car charge for over an hour and nothing blew up.”

“Ok, I may have some paperwork for you to sign.”

Shortly after I got an e-mail from them with the paperwork. The signatures required basically acknowledged that the work was performed to my satisfaction! LOL Sure it was since I did it.

 

DIY Recall

Yesterday my Bosch replacement cables arrived for the Power Xpress EVSE. To my surprise the kit included detailed, clear instructions on how to replace the cables so I did…

The first step was to remove the sticker covering the screws:
Power Xpress panel
The screws are the same square head screws that just about every RV in the world uses which meant that I already had the tool for the job.
Behind the Power Xpress panel
From there its loosen the terminal block screws to pull out the wires, remove the nut to disconnect the ground wire, remove the cable stay, and remove the tension nut at the very bottom.
Once the old cable is out you simply reverse the process to install the new one.
New Cable installed
Finally, plug in the car to test.
New Cable installed
I let the car charge for a good hour to ensure the connections were solid with no ill effects to the EVSE or the car (then I unplugged it and reconnected up the Juicebox LOL since that is my main EVSE).
Total time: about 20 minutes which included trips to/from the basement to retrieve various tools.
Now I await an interesting conversation with the electrician when they call: “Hello we’re calling to perform the cable swap out for your charger.” “Ok I’ve already performed the task, do you need the old cable back?” “What?” “Well the kit came with very clearly illustrated instructions and there was nothing indicating I should wait for the electrician…”