1k Regen and the Focus Electric’s mysterious “Status” indicator

This week I’ll roll over 1000 miles of regen according to the lifetime statistics reported by the car. With over 4000 miles on the odometer this means that I’ve recovered a good 1/4 of the miles driven. This seems odd to me since my commute in always seems to report out 3 miles of regen for my 15+ mile commute. I do notice, however, that my workplace is at a higher elevation than my home–thus my commute to work in the morning consumes more electricity than my trip home. In the Focus Electric this is borne out by the “status” number reading as much as -10 on the way in, but by the time I get home it reads +10.

Speaking of that Status value: If you don’t own, or haven’t driven a Focus Electric before you don’t know what I’m talking about. When you “start” a FFE the car keeps two numbers on the dash:

  1. The current estimated distance to empty (EDTE)
  2. The estimated distance to empty when you started the car (I’ll call this ODODTE)

The EDTE value will fluctuate (sometimes wildly) as you drive: The car constantly recomputes the EDTE based on your driving style (drive for 20 miles down a 25 mph street and watch as the EDTE increases giving the appearance that you are charging; likewise drive down the highway uphill and watch as the EDTE plummets).

The ODODTE value decreases with the odometer: for each mile you drive the ODODTE value will also drop by a mile.

The status display basically just shows the difference between these two numbers (when no destination is set on the nav system–more on this later). Thus if you start the car with a full battery and its showing the EDTE as 80 miles the ODODTE will also get set to 80. Now if you drive down that 25 mph road your status value will start increasing as your EDTE increases or if you dash down the highway the status value will go negative as the EDTE value drops below the ODODTE value.

Now if you program in a destination to the Nav system and tell it you will be charging there the numbers reported on the dash will change: ODODTE now becomes the distance to your destination which means that the status value becomes the amount of estimated range left in the battery once you get to your destination. This information is much more useful as the # of miles remaining after your destination gives you and indication if you’ll need to charge there or not–helpful when planning and driving on a trip that is longer than a single battery charge.

Note that there are a ton of goodies on the FFE’s dash more than just the values discussed here. Something I’ll have to address in a future post: The FFE’s customizable dash.

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