Category Archives: Ownership Story

More colors!

With the 2015 model year Ford has added at least one new color for the FFE: Ruby Red. This is welcome news since prior model years only offered one “splashy” color along with the standard list of conservative colors (white, black, silver).

My own anecdotal observations show that this is much needed (e.g. non-scientific wild guess LOL). I see a lot of the current “splashy” color, Blue Candy (BC), around. At the moment I know of at least 6 FFE’s in Blue Candy on my side of town: In addition to mine and my coworkers I’ve seen on several occasions BC FFE’s driving around (granted all of the ones I’ve seen could all be the same one). These sightings are in addition to the several BC conventional Focuses I see a day (again these all could be the same cars, especially since I take the same route to/from work and thus are probably seeing the same drivers along their same route).

This is, of course, all unscientific and simply my observations since studies have shown, over and over again that the most popular car colors are the three conservative ones: black, white, silver. (For some data see here). At least its nice that Ford is giving the new FFE driver another choice in Red–I probably would have chose that Red had it been available at the time of my order.


Another novel use for the FFE

Found another novel use for the FFE:
Another novel use

What am I doing here? It would appear that I’m charging the FFE off of a covered RV. The novel use here is to provide a load for the generator in the RV. While in extended storage (say over winter) the engines have to be run about once a month or so. For the generator the Onan people told me that when you do run it you have to provide a load. I don’t think I could provide a better load to the generator than having the FFE charge with its Level 1 EVSE (which will draw about 12 amps).

Other options for drawing a load would be the A/C (which shouldn’t be run in cold weather), or a ceramic heater (which would have the benefit of heating the interior of the RV). In both of those cases, though, the electricity produced will simply vanish into the air. With the FFE the electricity goes to good use charging the battery (granted only using Level 1 for about 20 minutes I’ll be lucky enough to get a mile…maybe).




Whats next, part II?

In my first Whats Next post I described some things that would be nice to have with the next generation of the Focus Electric.

Now I’m approaching my 1/2 point of my lease and have started considering what I may get following the FFE. I still really love the FFE as much as I did when I picked it up, and it still is my most favorite car that I’ve driven. Thus my personal preference would be to either pick up another FFE or just purchase the one I already have. That decision is highly dependent upon what Ford will be doing with the FFE over the next 18 months. I have a feeling that my timing will not be right: My lease will be up in May 2016. I don’t think any new next generation FFE will be available before fall of 2016… On the other hand, that may mean the deals for the 2016 FFEs at the time will be really good? or not?

Other possibilities include (in decreasing order of preference):

  • C-Max Energi
  • Fusion Energi
  • Tesla Model 3 (If available)
  • Another manufacturer’s EV

I kind of have two conflicting “requirements” here: I’d like to stay with Ford if possible, and I’d like to stay with a BEV if possible. If Ford drops the FFE completely that kills one or the other requirement. Nonetheless the next car will have a plug on it.

Of course I also have other considerations: Family. My son will be getting his license over the course of my next car’s ownership (can’t think of an easier car to drive/learn on than an EV. In addition a limited range EV may be perfect for a teen driver.)

So decisions, decisions…fortunately I still have 1.5 years to let all this roll around in my brain. We’ll see what falls out….


Hmm this is new

Well now this is something new that the car has decided to do.

The MyFord Touch system has had a very rocky history. Many people can’t stand it (with good reason), some people like it (I’m one of them). Regardless of where you stand it can get maddening from time to time when it doesn’t exactly work.

Recently the MFT in my FFE has started acting up. For some reason it just decides that I shouldn’t be listening to the radio so it shuts it off on me. It behaves exactly like I hit the power button: The display switches to the power off screen showing the button and the audio cuts out. I can hit the power button to turn it back on again but sure enough within a couple of minutes it shuts off again. So far in the 4 vehicles we have had with MFT we’ve never seen this kind of behavior.

To try to rectify the situation I’ve attempted:

  • Pulling fuse 67 (the sync module/MFT fuse) to reset it
  • Performed the master reset
  • Tried out every audio source to make sure it isn’t isolated to one

So far nothing has worked (switching to FM seemed to work but sure enough after about 10 minutes–long enough to make me think that it might work–it shut off). Sigh..I may now have my first issue with the car that I have to take it in for service… oh joy.

This doesn’t appear to be a mechanical thing like a loose wire: It has happened at stoplights when the car wasn’t moving, and it only turns off the radio (if there was a loose wire in the power button I’d expect it to also power the radio on when it is off).

Update: Radio heal thyself. From what I’ve heard the issue was with a local radio station’s HD equipment and affected quite a few vehicles. They have apparently fixed their broadcast equipment. So no trips to the dealer for me.


One of those days…

Yesterday I had one of those days. It was the kind of day that ICE drivers use as an excuse for why they don’t want to drive an EV. A busy Saturday starting out running some short errands which turn into longer errands, then out to dinner, and finally the local department of transportation decided that now would be a good time to close off that entrance ramp to the freeway that you were going to take thus adding another 10 miles to your drive…and so on.

At the end of the day the trip meter showed a total of 65 miles driven with 20 miles of range left (I managed to get a quick 1/2 hour charge at home between trips). Had I known the day would have turned out that way from the beginning I would have had the car charge all the time at home (taken off value charge for you FFE owners). Here is the thing, though: the car made it all day, it never left us stuck at the side of the road with no juice. They don’t just suddenly run out of power, there is a gauge telling you how much you have to go. If at any one time I had thought that the trip was longer than what the car could do we would have taken the other car (or waited on the charge). Its as simple as that..


September is on us

Now that September has started it won’t be long before my posts veer towards weather and the accompanying range loss that comes with colder temps. Hopefully this winter won’t be nearly as bad as the last one! The last one certainly proved to be a test for the FFE (which came through with flying colors).

This post will probably wander around a bit as I don’t really have much to say on any particular topic. Things have been a bit quiet for two reasons:

  • I’ve been on vacation (which typically means the FFE stays in the garage)
  • There hasn’t been any “exceptions” to talk about with respect to the FFE: It continues to purr right along

In a few months I’ll be 1/2 way through the lease with about 15,000 miles on the car. I’ve already started pondering what the next car will be. It will most likely have a plug since I already have the infrastructure at the house for it. Unfortunately I think my timing may be a bit off as the lease will end in May and any newly redesigned FFE won’t likely come out until Fall of the same year. I’m reasonably sure the next one will be another FFE if possible (or an Energi vehicle).

In the FFE forum’s there has been considerable thought put against the net usable capacity of the 23 kWh battery in the FFE with most calculations settling in on the range of 18.5 kWh to 19.5 kWh. Using the trip meter and the % remaining my calculation comes in around the 19 kWh range (divide the % used into the kWh used shown on the trip meter, for instance: 13.6/69% = 19.71 kWh..a bit on the high side).

Lately I’ve also given some thought to getting an electric motorcycle or scooter. This probably won’t get much past the thought stage as I don’t have any experience with a motorcycle (although with no shifting I’m sure an electric one would be quite simple to drive). The Zero S does look like a sweet ride though.


More on that melting..

Back in May I had mentioned that my coworker noticed the handle of the Bosch EVSE he was using was getting warmer and warmer (see post here).

After he had his EVSE and the charge connector in the car replaced all was well..or so he had thought.
Melted Vehicle connector

Above is his first vehicle connector before being replaced.

Changing out the EVSE eventually fixed the problem but not before the 2nd vehicle connector also suffered some damage. Unfortunately his dealer did not feel the need to replace the 2nd damaged unit.

Fast forward to last week: He gets in his car to go to work and is greeted by a strange prompt in the car: “Am I still plugged in?” Not thinking much about it he dismissed the prompt and proceeded with his commute. At work everything went nuts: The dash board started flashing many errors and warnings, including the dreaded “Stop Safely Now” message and the car quit. He called Ford’s Roadside Assistance for a tow–which was very efficiently handled, he got text messages to his phone indicating which tow company was coming and when..if only other Ford operations worked so well. The tow truck driver even asked to see the owners manual to clarify how to tow the car.

Once the car was at the dealer he prepared for the worst (since most of his experiences with the dealer have been less than satisfactory). They replaced the charge plug and harness, the LED ring and the 12V battery in the car (With the damage to the old plug the car was left in a state where it thought it was plugged in and thought it wasn’t plugged in thus keeping the 12V electronics in the car alive enough to drain & damage the 12V battery which is why the car freaked out). The dealer even kept the car overnight after all the fixes were done “for observation” to ensure that all was well and working before returning it.

Happily after a weekend of putting 50+ miles on the car it seems to be back to its quirky self again, and plugging a charger in is no longer a delicate operation…

Here is hoping this is the last story I hear from him about car malfunctions! (He is now investigating a completely new EVSE.)



I saw another..

Today I saw another FFE on the road but this encounter was slightly different..backing up a bit:

On any given day I usually see a few plugin cars: Lots of Volts–like one every two or three miles–a couple of Leafs (I see two in my city all the time with the same people driving them), the rare Tesla (there is a gray one near my work and just saw a red one near my home last week), and occasionally an FFE. You’d think I’d see more FFE’s being that I live only a few miles from the plant where they are built (I see more C-Maxes than FFE’s). In fact I do see the odd manufacturer plated FFE from time to time.

Today, however, was slightly different. Typically the other plugin cars I see are going in the opposite direction to me, or are on an intersecting street. This morning I was stopped at a light all by myself when I noticed a distinctive grile approaching me in the rear-view mirror. A black one. He pulled up next to me in the adjacent lane at the red light and looked over when I gave him the thumbs up. My gesture was met with a smile and a brief period of puzzlement until he noticed the “Electric” emblem on my door. It would seem that the FFE is so stealthy that even other FFE drivers don’t notice it! (Giving him the benefit of the doubt: It was early and from the back it is very hard to distinguish the FFE from any other Focus. The “electric” emblem back there is in the same spot as “Titanium”, “ST”, “SE” or any of the other trim line emblems thus if you are not specifically looking for it then you wouldn’t notice that its another FFE. It was easier for me as the front grille is a dead giveaway.)



Quiet around these parts…and unplugged? really?

Yeah haven’t posted much lately. Fortunately there hasn’t been much to post about!

Ok here is something to talk about: BMW i3 Road trip. The item I’d like to discuss in that lengthy piece is the fact at the hotel he overnighted at the owner unplugged his car twice without communicating anything to him. I certainly hope he does follow up with Hampton Inn’s national customer service line. He was unplugged even after calling in and asking if he could plug in. That was likely the worst thing the hotel owner could do.


Whats it like to own a Tesla Model S

Internet comic “The Oatmeal” has written a rather lengthy graphic about what its like to own a Tesla Model S. This is very interesting reading. Many of his points also apply to the FFE:

  • Charge the car by plugging in at home
  • The fact that its different from standard cars
  • Partial: Proximity locks (on the Tesla the door handles extend and retract when you approach, on the FFE the doors unlock when you touch them–I’m calling this a 1/2 point for the FFE LOL)
  • Another 1/2 point: “no ignition”–ok yeah you start the FFE like a car but it does have pushbutton start (yeah I know I’m reaching here)
  • No noise/very quiet drive train
  • A/C Motor (Tesla has an induction A/C motor and the FFE uses a synchronous A/C motor)
  • Don’t stop at gas stations
  • Handles well (I’m not saying the FFE handles like a Tesla but it is known to handle very well with a 50/50 weight distribution–better than the ICE Focus in some respects)
  • Another 1/2 point due to My Ford Touch (some people would say this is a -1 for My Ford Touch. I still like it and find it easy to work with)
  • Can’t install apps on either screen (but rumor has it that we may be able to use applink this year)
  • “Unlockable Achievements”! Something the FFE has (on My Ford Mobile) that the Tesla doesn’t
  • Smartphone interface
  • Full safety ratings–now the FFE didn’t break the testing machine but it crash tested even better than the ICE Focus
  • Zero fires for the FFE–at least I haven’t heard of any

Keep in mind the above is just for fun but it is interesting how many items are in common. It is likely that many of them are common with all of the BEVs and not just the FFE.