Category Archives: Ford Focus Electric

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.

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.

 

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.

 

The next chapter in the melting saga

If you’ve been reading this blog a while you may recall one of the stories of my coworker’s car when his charge plug melted. For a refresher here is a picture of the plug:
Melted Vehicle connector

After getting the vehicle side connector replaced twice he finally had Bosch come out and replace the vehicle side wiring of his Power Xpress EVSE. Since then we’ve both been contacted about a recall of the Power Xpress unit. Since then I’ve received a phone call from Bosch stating that parts are finally available and I’ll be contacted by an electrician to swap out the cables.

The funny thing is that last week I received an e-mail with a tracking number from Bosch. Today that package was delivered:
Power Xpress harness

A shiny new wiring harness for my Power Xpress unit (Note that I have not been charging my FFE with the Power Xpress since my coworkers problems with it and about the same time I had noticed that the handle was starting to get a little warm in the morning after a charge. I’ve been making due with either the Juicebox or the Clipper Creek EVSE’s that I have).

What is more interesting about this shipment is that it comes with very clear instructions on how to swap out the wiring harness. I may just do the swap myself and when the electrician calls just tell them that I’ve already performed the task. (The procedure is pretty simple: remove a panel, disconnect the old wires, unscrew the strain relief, remove the old wire, insert the new wire, connect wires, tighten strain relief, and replace the panel.)

Taking a close look at the plug:
Power Xpress plug
Oooh all shiny: These contacts are silver coated. Silver coated contacts don’t corrode. The old plug is all copper which can oxidize and introduce some resistance. Given that 240V at ~30A goes through there even a small amount of resistance here will generate some heat.

Now I’m awaiting a phone call…LOL.

 

What’s so special about a grill?

When Ford redesigned the Focus in 2012 to the current platform it had a rather unique face to it:

The car itself drew rave reviews not only with the styling but with its handling as well. Shortly thereafter Ford released the Focus Electric:

Interestingly this is the first Ford with the Astin Martin inspired front grill. Since that time Ford has also introduced the Fusion with the same design language in front:

and the new C-Max in Europe:

Beginning to see a pattern here?

Why am I mentioning this? Up until this model year the Focus Electric’s only unique styling on the Focus line was really the front end and some miscellaneous badging that said “Electric”. Indeed many reviewers pointed out that the Focus Electric is a “stealth” EV in that it is really difficult to discern the Focus Electric from the conventional Focus. This year Ford has made it even more difficult to pick out a Focus Electric from a crowd of Focuses:

For those people who are looking to drive green without screaming to the world that they are driving green this is even better news. Now your average Focus could be an ICE or an EV–you’ll never notice given a passing glance. (Personally I like the new look: it makes the ICE Focus look more “grown up” from the previous incarnation.) The only real issue is that people will be even more surprised than ever to discover that Ford sells an EV–although I can’t imagine people being more surprised given that the vast majority of people don’t know that the FFE exists at all but that is a different rant for a different day LOL.

 

 

What is Ford up to?

This blog post is just a bunch of speculation thus you can take it with a very large grain of salt but here goes:

What exactly is going on at Ford about EVs these days? We don’t know: Ford has said nothing about any of its future EV plans even when competitors make huge announcements…crickets…

Even more maddening is that recently there was a rumor floating around about Ford also working on a 200 mile EV (started by a speculative article on one website) and Ford’s only comment about it was:

“We do not comment on speculation but can confirm these reports are not accurate”- Ford spokesperson

Which is nuts: “Not accurate” could mean anything from: “We aren’t working on any future EV projects at this time” to “well 200 miles isn’t correct but everything else is”. Add to that Ford’s focus lately on performance leads one to believe the “Not working on any EV at this point of time” meaning of “not accurate”.

Included in that frame of mind was a comment to one other Inside EVs article by a member of that site who lives in the greater Detroit area to the affect of: “Nobody in the Detroit area thinks EVs should be any part of the automotive market” (living in Southeast Michigan myself I can concur that this is the general opinion of the people/engineers that I talk with).

Think about all these negative EV thoughts then look at this:

That is the plugshare map of Dearborn. All those grey charge spots? Yes Ford employee charge locations. Does this imply Ford is up to something in the EV world or just providing spots for all of their employee’s for the cars they already have? (I presume these were all added as part of an announced partnership.) Who can say (except Ford and they aren’t as of yet.)

For myself all this speculation is part of my “What is next after the FFE lease is up?” question which I still have over a year to answer but given automotive production cycles such as they are; the cars available to me at that time will pretty much be the cars available right now….