Tag Archives: Electric

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).

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Can’t catch a break

On any given day at my work you can find two FFE’s. It is rather unusual that we park next to each other like above, though. On that day my coworker’s FFE had just returned from its latest hardship–his FFE has led a much tougher life than mine:

Ironically, in the picture above his is on the left: the cleaner one as it had just returned from being repaired from the accident.

The story gets even more sordid: On the day he picked it up from the dealer after getting the body work repaired he discovered that the 12V battery was dead (for the 2nd time). When he managed to get the car back to the dealership they were out of power: Their transformer had blew. It took a couple of days before the dealer was back up and running before he could get his car back. (On that 12V battery: When we measure the charging voltages between our two FFEs; mine is consistently between 1/2 volt to 1 volt higher.)

Nonetheless he still is pretty happy with his FFE and continues to drive it (when it isn’t being repaired). The funny thing is: When we were both putting our orders in for the car I had warned him about some possible issues (like the Stop Safely Now issue, etc.) and his reply was: “I’m fully aware of what I’m getting into.”!

* During the record rains we got in August of 2014 his area was one of the hardest hit. He said there were several instances when he was driving around where the water level was just below his rear view mirrors. Yet his car never leaked inside and it continued to function normally.

The bad part of preconditioning

Preconditioning: Where you can setup the car to be ready to go at a specific time every day (like during the week and you want the car nice and toasty warm for your commute in to work)–what can be bad about that? The car is warm. The battery is conditioned (heated or cooled for best performance). What could possibly be a negative?

Well its spring; when the mild weather returns, the snow melts, and some of the critters return. In our area one of the harbingers of spring is skunks. Typically we’ll see three or four on the road dead. Each dead one on the road produces that lovely skunky odor for a good mile in radius. What is worse is when the neighbors let their dog out in the morning who gets immediately sprayed and then your car starts to precondition. Yup…that is the bad part: My car was even closed up in a garage but still found a way to grab some of that lovely skunk musk.

Fortunately the car itself didn’t get sprayed and a few minutes with the windows open took care of any lingering essence. Even so this is a minor drawback to the car automatically preconditioning itself (granted any neighbors with their ICE cars outside remote starting them would also subject their cars to the same treatment). Our neighbors got it much worse and were still doing damage control as I left for work–they are a bit experienced at this as their dog has been sprayed a few times now.

 

20,000 leagues under the….er miles under the wheels

This afternoon my FFE will roll over the 20,000 mile mark. This milestone also means I’m approaching the 2/3 point of my lease. My thoughts are more frequently considering what will be the next car (I’ve mentioned before on the blog that the next car will more than likely be a plugin). Given the timing of things I doubt my Ford choices for another plugin will be much different than what they are now (FFE, or one of the two Energi products).

Just today there is a new rumor about Ford producing a 200+ mile car. Even if this rumor is remotely true, it is very unlikely that the 200+ mile EV will be in production before my lease is up. Even the rumored timing of the Chevy Bolt places its sale well after my lease end date. The only new plugins to be available for me in the time frame are cars like the VW Golf or the new Volt. Both of which I may consider if only briefly.

All of these considerations are still more than a year off though. Today I’ll just silently observe the changeover from 19,999 to 20,000 (if I happen to be looking at the odometer) in a bittersweet moment as the novelty hasn’t really worn off about driving a BEV around..

Which reminds me…have to take it in for that $10 20,000 mile service (rotate the tires).

 

Brrrr yup another winter weather post

Hey I haven’t posted a winter weather post for a few months now! LOL I’m due for one.

This morning our thermometer’s are reading -11F which is a record in these parts (official temp this morning -10F, old record was -8F from 1934). In these brutal days I pretty much use all of the battery for my 30 mile commute, arriving home with the <10 mile remaining warning indicator showing. I find my non-symmetric power consumption interesting: In the morning I precondition the car and attempt to use as little electricity is possible on my way in. For the drive home, however, I crank the heat and take the freeway maximizing power consumption. The net result is that I use about 25-30% of the battery in the morning and almost 60% of the battery in the evening.

Another thing that is noticeable about the car in such cold weather: The noise. On a balmy 70F degree day the car is virtually silent with only a slight whrrr noise from the front. In temps this cold things shrink and start rubbing differently, the plastic squeaks, the window creaks, the driver moans, etc. Makes you feel like something is going to break during the commute.

Thankfully this cold spell is happening in the 2nd half of February which means it can’t last too long…right? (Last year the cold spell started in January and thus the light at the end of the tunnel was a lot further off).

 

Enhanced Trip Meter

Nearing the end of my series on the dashboard (maybe one or two more) we come to the “Enhanced Trip Meter”:

You turn this on by using the left arrow pad on the steering wheel, select “trip 1 & 2” then press the right arrow. From the menu that appears select “Enhanced”.

Ford has a brief video on the trip meters:

Its a good idea to use one of the trip meters to watch the battery: Reset it every time you charge to full. The total kWh value shown will give you a good idea of how much you have left (more than just the % value shown everywhere). The FFE has about 18.5 kWh of usable battery charge thus comparing that with the kWh value in the trip meter is another decent estimate of power remaining (the kWh value in the trip meter will actually count down during brake regeneration).

The Wh/mi value shows the average Wh/mi consumption since you reset the meter and is a good way to judge how efficient you’re driving. In the above image 240 Wh/mi is really good for my FFE in the dead of winter. Typically when I have to use the heat the value will be 300 Wh/mi or higher (in one instance it was really cold out and I was driving on the highway into the wind it read over 400 Wh/mi). In the summer months it is not uncommon to see values in the 220s range or lower depending on the roads driven.

For those people who like hard numbers and not pretty graphs the enhanced trip meter provides plenty of engineering eye candy.