Category Archives: Ford

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.

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….

 

Budget + Avg

By far the most used and popular dash view/configuration (at least within the myfocuselectric forums) is using MyView showing the climate and “other” current power consumption combined with the Budget + Avg item on the right. I’ve mentioned this display in my “What your dashboard can tell you” post.
The view looks like this:

Ford has a video about how to configure MyView:

 

(This is the same video I posted in the Range View post.)

This view gives you the most information available about power consumption in the car. The climate graph shows how much power (kW) that the HVAC is currently using (on a cold winter day running the heat will frequently peg this graph). “Other” shows everything else: rear defroster, headlights, radio, seat heat, etc. I don’t think I’ve ever seen “other” go above a tick or two.

Below the two graphs is the usual budget and status values showing the range at start (budget) and the difference between the current calculated range and range at start (status). More explanation of budget/status can be found here.

To the right of those is the infamous “blue cup” (discussed at length here). This gauge is showing three values simultaneously: Budget, instant consumption, and average consumption all in Wh/mile x100. The budget is represented by the blue cup. Instant consumption is the white line and finally average consumption is the two white tick marks. The basics of this display: If you can keep the two white tick marks (average consumption) at or below the top of the blue cup then you will make the budgeted range. If the tick marks fall significantly below the top of the cup you’ll go much farther than the budgeted range. If you’re really driving bad/aggressively and the tick marks are above the blue cup you will not be able to go as far as the budgeted range.

I can easily say that this display stays on my left side dash for a good 95% of my driving if not more (other than the past few weeks when I’ve been experimenting with different displays for these series of posts).

 

Ford working on CCS for the FFE?

Is for working on CCS for the FFE? A couple too many acronyms there? Ok we know FFE = Ford Focus Electric as I’ve been using that in this blog for quite some time now, but CCS? CCS = Combined Charging Standard. It is the “fast charge” capability that SAE (yeah another acronym: Society of Automotive Engineers) had developed for North America.

To date Ford has said nothing about any improvements to the FFE. Just a year ago when they announced the 2015 ICE Focus the big news for the FFE was an additional color that was it. Since then Ford has said not so much as a peep about the future of the FFE (or even any possible BEV product). When they announced the 2015 Focus there was rumors that Ford would be including a Focus Energi. That rumor made a lot of sense: They already had the powertrain developed, it is already in a Focus based product (the C-Max), therefore it would take very little engineering to get done. Alas the 2014 auto show circuit came and went with no new news on any electrified Focus (or Ford BEV model).

Fast forward to today: We are in the middle of the auto season here (with the LA Auto show kicking it off last fall and the Detroit Auto show in a week). Included in this is CES. Now CES isn’t your usual auto show, but Ford has had a keynote address there for the past few years (in fact it was back in 2011 that Ford announced the FFE at the CES). This years Ford CES keynote can be viewed here. I encourage you to take the time to watch it as it shows the very different direction Ford is taking/planning for way out in the future. Pay careful attention at the 29 minute mark, though where Mark Fields says this:

It would also be beneficial if urban shared vehicles were electric. Because not only do they lower operating costs they also can be refueled in their parking space. But shared EVs need time to charge and in Dearborn we are developing fast charging technology for our vehicles. Plus we’re looking at partnerships with retail and fast food businesses to develop fast charging infrastructure. Because we want to make EVs easer to use because when more people chose EVs everyone benefits from the lower emissions.

The context of the quote is for an urban vehicle sharing environment but the last few sentences (about businesses and what they are doing in Dearborn) hints that they are already working on this for production vehicles. The only fast charging technology that Ford has publicly bought into is the J1772 CCS standard (and the photo in the video seems to imply that is what is on the FFE shown–including a much simpler charge port door):

CCS Fast charging doesn’t really make sense for the Energi products with their 21-mile range and small batteries. It only really makes sense for the FFE or another large battery BEV. Thus one could conclude from this small morsel of information that either a CCS enabled FFE is coming down the pipeline, or that Ford is working on another BEV for the marketplace?

Will Ford slip in more pieces of info like this at the Detroit Auto show in a week? You’ll have to pay close attention (like I did pulling the above needle out of a haystack)..!

 

Going green by….painting?

Ford has partnered up with artist Trina Merry to paint their plugins and people to match their surroundings in an effort to showcase the “greenness” of the cars:

The good news here is, of course, that they actually show an FFE! This is one of the very few times where I’ve seen Ford include the FFE along with the Energi vehicles.

Maybe, just maybe Ford will promote the FFE more?? Naaahh what was I thinking…!! LOL

Update: They’ve produced a video only on the FFE:

 

 

What is Ford’s next EV move?

If you are expecting some insider information here you’ll be sorely disappointed! LOL

That’s the rub though: We’ve heard rumors and speculation about what Ford will do in the past but nothing concrete. There have been rumors of an EV MKS, “insider info” about a Focus Energi, many have postulated that an EV MKZ would be perfect from Ford. What have we heard from Ford itself? Crickets..

Even though Ford’s people have said stuff like “We could make a Model S” and “We could make an electric Mustang” the implied statement following both of those would be “but we won’t” (otherwise why say something like that..you’d just do it).

Another point is the fact that Ford did announce the Focus Electric waaay back in 2011 at the Consumer Electronics Show. It wasn’t released to purchase until December 2012–that is almost two years. Granted this was a brand new powertrain for Ford to tackle. For contrast: Ford announced the all aluminum new 2015 F-150 back in January 2014 at the Detroit auto show and it is already “on sale” (you can order one now but can’t take delivery until early 2015). This is only a years timeframe.

This means that a new EV from Ford will be 1 or 2 years out from any announcements they make..and they haven’t said a peep. So all you get now is empty speculation.. and the fear that Ford won’t say anything about EVs for the foreseeable future…

Of course I could be a bit impatient here as well since we are heading into “auto show season” (LA Auto show is next week and it would make sense for Ford to announce any EV news there… we’ll see.)

 

An uptick perhaps?

So far the FFE hasn’t exactly broken any sales records. Inside EVs calls the FFE the “oak tree of EVs” because it always seems to sell about the same amount of cars each month. For the longest time it seemed to only sell a hundred or so. The past couple of months it broke through the 200 car level.
During this time the number of new owners appearing on the myfocuselectric.com forums appeared pretty constant at two to four per month. For this past September, however, the apparent number of new owners has really increased, like 8-12 or so. Granted these values are a really big guesstimate but this has been my impression simply by the number of posts that have shown up. Now if the ratio of users who search out a forum to discuss their cars to the total number of drivers of said car is roughly constant, then this would possibly indicate that the FFE will sell more than 200 cars for September? We’ll find out if my seat-of-the pants observation shows true or not….

You can check if I’m right here. Ford will report its EV and plugin sales sometime in the afternoon of October 2nd.

Update: Nope! Only 176 FFE’s were sold in September….sigh.

 

Ford’s director of electrification

Here is an interesting interview with Ford’s director of electrification.

The tag mentions that he was talking the future of electric vehicles, but there really isn’t much of that in the article. It is more about him, his personality, etc. than it is about anything specific with Ford (which of course makes sense: any announcements come from the press office, not some exec even if they do let things slip now and then).

Heck its probably a good thing that Ford has such a position to begin with–it would indicate that some thought was put into plugins instead of just making a bunch of “one offs” to check the boxes.