Tag Archives: Vacation

La La Land

You may have noticed that I’ve been absent this past week (well perhaps not as my postings haven’t been that regular lately and missing a week has happened a few times). This past week was, for us, spring break. For several years now our son has requested that our vacations take place in cities with MLB ball parks in them (and that they take place during baseball season). This years spring break was the greater Los Angeles area to catch Dodgers (his favorite team), Angels, and Padres games (which brings us up to 13 of the 30 MLB ball parks we’ve visited).

The three games constitutes 3 days of the 9 day vacation, what to do for some of the other days? Imagine my surprise when I find out that the Formula E race was going on the very Saturday after we arrive? (Yeah this post was going to get to EVs eventually.)

If you are not familiar with Formula E: The FIA guys (the ones responsible for the Grand Prix races world wide) started this year a shorter Grand Prix style race with electric race cars. They are going to introduce it in stages: This year each car is identical: Identical batteries, identical motors, etc. Next year the races can customize the motors all using the same batteries. In the third year its all custom: custom batteries and motors. The interesting thing is that during the race they limit the power from the batteries. On the website you can vote for your favorite car/driver. The top 3 drivers get a power boost for a minute or two.  Are you curious yet? What do these things look like?

Since they are electric cars you’re probably wondering what they sound like going around the track?

Well they sound like electric cars: Very quiet with only some gear noise/whine (they simply replaced the engine with an electric motor and thus they still have a transmission with a few speeds). No ear plugs are necessary for this race! Unfortunately, though, I wasn’t able to stay for the race itself–only for the time trials and for the school race.

They invited 10 local high schools to spend a few days building these racers and then had them race on the same track as “the big boys”. Unfortunately for them all of the cars went about as fast as someone can run. Watching this race was like watching paint dry. The electric go-karts they had setup in the infield for anyone to drive went at least twice as fast as these guys!

Watching the schools race was about all we could handle (and we had other things to do) so we left prior to “the big race”.

This was an interesting experience, though, watching the Formula E cars quietly zip by..those of you who really enjoy the sound (and the feel) of car racing will be very disappointed by Formula E. If, however, the thrill of the race and speed are your thing then you’ll love it: just another form of car racing.

 

 

Quiet around here again…

Haven’t had much EV to post about lately as I’ve been out of town on vacation. If you’ve read some of my other posts about attempting to bring the EV with us camping..this was the trip I was targeting. Unfortunately for the EV it sat at home (it was far cheaper to simply rent a car at the destination than it was to purchase an aluminum car trailer not to mention that the FFE + Camper combo would have been even less efficient than the Camper alone).

It would have been pretty sweet though to post pictures of my Michigan plated FFE in different states!

 

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.

 

The long road to warmer places

Happy New Year.

This being the new year we’ve just returned from a 10 day vacation that included a 2600 mile road trip (Michigan to Southern Florida and back). I’d like to say that we took the FFE for the trip but the two options I tried wouldn’t work (simply driving it there would have taken all 10 days and loading it on a flatbed trailer and towing it with our F-350 was cost prohibitive). In the end we decided to take the ICE Focus for the ¬†journey.

I know this is an EV blog but hear me out: For a trip of such length the ICE Focus is a pretty good choice as far as efficiency is concerned. Creature comforts and storage is another question! Even with the full trunk available it was a challenge packing the three of us and our included “stuff” into the car. Frequent stops were required to simply pry us out of the car for short walks to get all the kinks out of the limbs–much of which would be similar attempting any lengthy trip in the FFE.

On the efficiency side of things: Overall the ICE Focus sipped fuel at around 35 mpg for the entire trip. Not too bad for the speeds and mountains involved. The best mileage for a tank of gas was in FL & GA where we got 37 mpg. These numbers show why it was a good idea to electrify the Focus: It already is a pretty efficient little vehicle. Converting it to a BEV only increases that efficiency even more.

I did notice a few familiar noises in the ICE Focus: If I listened carefully I could hear some common sounds with the FFE over the noisy gas engine. For instance: When changing the settings on the climate control you can hear the vacuum controlled valves move–these are common between the FFE and ICE Focus. You just hear them more on the FFE since there isn’t any other sounds drowning them out.

Over the 10 days I did miss the FFE and frequently thought about how it would have been a better vehicle for driving around town once we were at our destination. Checking on it with the mobile app helped, except for the 3 or 4 days where it inexplicably lost communications with Ford’s servers!? I did have some “go times” setup for it to turn on twice a week. These were set with the climate control off. This was done to maintain the charge on the 12V battery (some users have experienced the 12V battery discharging when the car is left for an extended period of time while plugged in).