Category Archives: Tesla

2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS)

Known locally as “The Detroit Auto Show”. For this years show I was only really interested in 3 cars: The new Volt, the Bolt concept car, and what kind of treatment would my beloved FFE get? There wasn’t anything else “new” that I was interested in (or that I haven’t seen before)–at least with respect to plug in cars.
The new Volt: This car is really sharp compared to the old Volt. To my eyes it looks a bit sleeker and more modern. In addition there is sort of room for 3 in the back seat:
2016 Chevy Volt
2016 Chevy Volt
2016 Chevy Volt
2016 Chevy Volt
The Bolt concept car: This is GM’s 200 mile concept EV. I like the looks of it–to me it has a very similar form factor to the Ford Escape, or C-Max (although it is a bit smaller than either):
Chevy Bolt
Chevy Bolt
Chevy Bolt
The Focus Electric: Last year Ford had all their plugin cars off to the corner of the display, almost as an afterthought. This year the plugin section was a little more prominent in with the cars. As for the FFE: It was smack dab right in the center of the Ford display!
Focus Electric
Focus Electric
Unfortunately we decided to go to the show at the same time as everyone else from Southeastern Michigan and thus I wasn’t able to get many clear shots of any other cars of interest (not that there were many more of interest than mentioned above). Tesla only had Model S’s on display of which all of them were packed with people.
Tesla Model S
A few other items to note: Aside from GM having the Volt/Bolt up on a prominent display and VW mixing the eGolf with the other Golf’s most other manufacturer’s plugin cars were off to the corner, almost as an afterthought. Even Nissan had their only Leaf way in the back of their display.
Nissan Leaf
The other observation was the demographic of people taking pictures: Those taking pictures of plugins tended to be younger college age (especially around the less expensive plugins like the Leaf or the Smart car). Those taking pictures of your typical ICE vehicle were more middle aged (except for Tesla–everyone was taking pictures of Tesla’s).

Contradictory article contradicts itself!

In the Detroit News today there is an article with the headline: “Buyers, electric cars slow to connect“.

I do realize that, in many cases, the headline is written by a different person than the article. The first section of the article would seem to confirm the headline saying things such as:

But four years after the Volt went on sale in late 2010 to enormous fanfare, sales haven’t met early optimistic predictions

Then later on, though, the items such as this are mentioned:

Still, EV sales overall are growing — with EVs up 25 percent and plug-in hybrid sales up 35 percent — but they still account for a minuscule .7 percent of U.S. car and truck sales. Some 20 models come in EV versions in the U.S.

What isn’t mentioned is that plug-in sales are increasing at a rate faster than hybrids did (source). The article, to me, just confirms that people are being overly critical of plug-ins in general and that if they aren’t a sales smash (e.g. in the top ten sales list) then they are a failure. This is completely unreasonable; no new technology was a sales leader when it was first introduced (Apple iPhone notwithstanding).

I have another nitpick with the article:

Automakers have spent billions to introduce the vehicles. They repeatedly cut prices in an effort to juice sales. Just this month, Ford Motor Co. cut — again — the price of its slow-selling Ford Focus EV. Its price tag is $29,995 — down $6,000 since last year and down $10,000 since the Dearborn automaker put the vehicle on sale in late 2011.

Price alone isn’t why the FFE hasn’t sold that many (all along its price structure has been in-line with its competitors). Ford itself has said many times “We don’t expect to sell many of them” and, given how much effort they’ve put into selling them, sales have born that out. The FFE is a great implementation of an EV and Ford would sell many more if they simply marketed the thing…

In contrast the Detroit Free press has published an article helping people decide what kind of alternative vehicle they should get.

Drive Electric Week–Ann Arbor

This year the National Plug In Day event, er sorry Drive Electric Week, for Southeastern Michigan took place in Ann Arbor at Briarwood mall. This is a very popular mall with a lot of traffic–a much better location than behind a parking structure at a community college where last year’s event took place.

In addition, this year the timing worked out for me: The event was originally planned for Saturday but there is a U of M football game on Saturday (many people attending the game park at the mall and take the shuttle and traffic near Ann Arbor on game days is a nightmare). I would not have been able to attend the Saturday event with my son’s sports schedule.

Now on to the event; I loaded up the FFE with some EVSE’s and a table to display them all:
Loaded up
Arriving just prior to the official start I setup my display:
All set up
The EVSE table
On display I had the Juicebox, a Clipper Creek LCS-25P, and the Ford Level 1 charger. I was surprised to learn that many of the EV drivers haven’t heard of the Juicebox. This was most likely due to the fact that the majority of cars that showed up were Volts which doesn’t need much more than what came with the car (in fact many of the Volt drivers just used the included Level 1 charger).

The car tally for the event was:

  • 1 C-Max Energi
  • 1 Jet Electrica
  • 3 Tesla Model S
  • 2 Focus Electrics
  • Half dozen or so Volts
  • 3 Battery Scooters
  • Many battery bicycles

Shortly after setting up I was asked to assist with placing the signs around the mall. I only mention this small detail because we used a Tesla Model S to drive around and place the signs–my first and only ride in a Model S. What struck me the most about the Model S was how similar an experience it was to riding around in the Focus Electric. Now before anyone gets all bent out of shape, think about it a little bit. They are both EVs and they both exhibit all the common qualities that makes everyone love an EV: the smooth and quiet ride. As far as acceleration: Yeah the Model S has that in spades (and this was only a 60) over the FFE.

During the show/event I noticed that when people would show up to see the cars they tended to gravitate to my small display first. I’m not sure if that was because I had a lot of stuff to look at with the EVSE’s on display, that I was always by the car, or simply because of my car’s color. I did get a few comments on the color and how striking it looked compared to the other cars on display (most of the other colors: The Ford’s were their Ice Storm color, the Volts and Model S’ were various colors of: Silver, Black, White, etc.).

I would estimate that throughout the day I spoke with about a dozen people. Some happened to be driving by the mall and noticed the cars, some were already going to the mall for other reasons and noticed the cars, the remaining few (about 3 or so) actually looked up the event online and came specifically for the show. All of the discussions were positive–I may have even sold an EV or two (perhaps even an FFE–there was a gentleman and his friend who were really interested in everything about the FFE).

If you’re still reading this far, you’re probably thinking: Enough blabbing already! More pictures. Ok here is the Jet Electrica:
Jet Electrica
Jet Electrica

Here are the converted electric bicycles: (These were very popular with everyone taking at least one for a spin.)
Electric Bicycles

Finally, some wide shots:
That's it
In the lot near Sears
Model S

On the whole everyone seemed to agree that it was a good turnout (given the fact that the date changed only two days ago) and it was much more visible being at a popular mall right by the busiest entrance.


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.


Quick post: I’m not dead! LOL

Yeah haven’t posted much in a while. Just got back from a spring break vacation in Manhattan. About the only EV related news there is: I noticed quite a few charge stations on the plug share map, most of the cabs are hybrids with quite a few being C-Max hybrids, and I saw exactly one Tesla Model S driving around.


Another Tesla road trip in progress…

This trip is NY to FL. At some point the trips wont be noteworthy as everyone will be making them (at least Model S owners).

This one is driven by a Green Car Reports driver. Its funny how, on his very first leg, he’s learned the low-temperature lesson that every EV driver has to cope with.

Update: There are two more reports on hist progress: Here and here.

After reading these reports a couple of statements stood out to me:

As I drive, I keep careful track of how the range display compares with the actual miles driven.


Once consumption settles down, I do my now-standard comparison of rated mileage decay vs real mileage traveled, and find it’s right at 20 percent.

His mental calculation of “rated mileage decay” and “real mileage traveled” is right on my dashboard in my Focus Electric! Its called status. It is the difference between the range to empty at the beginning of the trip and the current calculated range to empty (I discuss it more in this posting). Do we have a feature on our Focus Electrics that is missing from a Tesla Model S…it would seem so.

A Tesla first…

Big news today in the Tesla world: A first ever cross country trip using only Tesla Superchargers was completed this weekend by a father daughter team.

You can read up on their adventures in the Tesla Motors forums here.

The story is very interesting and very well planned: Some of the Superchargers were not even available yet when they started the journey! Very brave souls indeed.

If you look at the Supercharger map currently the only way to go from NY to LA is via a circuitous northern route via Chicago, South Dakota, down through Colorado and Arizona–a very long drive to say the least but through some of the most scenic areas of the country. Many on that forum are proclaiming this as a historic moment like the first trip from NY to Paris by plane, etc. I don’t think I would go that is historic as far as EVs are concerned though.

Kudos to John and his daughter for having the time, courage and energy to try it.

Hopefully soon there will be other long range EVs that will be able to easily accomplish the same feat (I might add affordable to that as well).

Looks like some media is picking it up:

Green Car Reports

Daily Kos

Inside EVs

Update: Now Elon Musk will be taking the trip as well.

Update 2: The story is now on Tesla’s website.

Long trip planning, the Tesla way…or is it the EV way?

I found this article quite interesting for a few reasons (take some time to go read it…I’ll wait):

  • The current lack of Tesla Super Chargers on the east coast forces the driver to plan a bit more–like having a Focus Electric, or a Leaf (or any other <100 mile range BEV)
  • The driver comes to the conclusion at the end that is better to be more efficient than to rush (determining that driving slower and using less electricity actually saves time in the long run)
  • His reported “burn rate” for electricity is really not much higher than the FFE “burns” (300+ Wh/mile in the cold with the heater running, ~270 Wh/mile in milder conditions without heat from the article).

The ability to quick charge the Tesla does make for a much nicer experience when taking a long drive. In the above article he gets 190+ miles for 45 minutes of charge–short enough that a simple stop for dinner fills it up. I certainly hope that the next generation of EVs (FFE included) has a provision for fast charging (the J1772 Combo Plug option is already available on the Chevy Spark, and Ford has pledged to support it on future BEV and PHEV vehicles).