Monthly Archives: November 2013

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Hey watch those tires!

I’m on my morning commute when I get an alarm tone from the dash and the yellow triangle appears. For a moment I thought the worst but then I looked closer: “Low Tire Pressure”! Really?

Ok granted I haven’t checked the tires since I got the car home back in May so its entirely possible that they are low. I pulled off into the nearest parking lot to check. All four tires appeared to be fine, no obvious bulging from low air and none of the wheels were riding on the rims.

I proceeded down the road to the next gas! station on my route, parked by the air hose and purchased a tire pressure gauge (I have one in the cars at home but not in the FFE). Sure enough the drivers front tire is down to 25lbs (the recommended pressure in the FFE is 38lbs). The TPMS will trigger an alarm when any tire’s pressure drops 25% below recommended (for the FFE that would be about 28lbs and below).

Since there is practically no maintenance requirements for EVs it is easy to forget some of the simple, required stuff like checking the air pressure in your tires!

Update: Checked the pressures with my good tire gauge at home: all 4 were around 25lbs when I got home. Pumped them all up to the 38 recommended and the car rode like it had solid wheels all the way in this morning! LOL

Gas…whats that??

I was reading the newspaper the other day; an article about how truck sales will be going up now that gas prices have fallen towards $3/gallon. It then dawned on me: “$3/gallon? when did that happen?” Yes dear reader: drive an EV and it won’t take you very long to forget completely about gas prices. Gas stations are everywhere, I drive by quite a few of them on my commute in to work and home every day. You’d think that I’d know gas prices simply because I see so many stations with their prices prominently displayed out front. No, not so much.

Before when driving an ICE vehicle I’d pay attention now and then simply to make note of the cheapest station and remind myself to fill up there when I need to. Now I just silently ride by not even paying attention to them anymore.. I think the last time I actually filled up a gas car was a couple of months ago when I was helping out the wife–had to fill up her car.

I still find it amazing how fast you acclimate yourself to driving an EV around vs ICE car. For the family it is no longer an anomaly riding around in it–the novelty has warn off for them. This is probably hurried along by the fact that our Focus Electric on the inside is identical to our ICE Focus (minus the engine vibrations). Inside the only real difference is the dashboard–so only the driver knows s/he is in an EV.

For me the novelty has not warn off. It is still my favorite car to drive around. Plugging it in every day has become the new habit–just like plugging in the cell phone, or the leaf blower, or the trimmer, or the lawn mower..etc. (yes I’ve also been converting the yard power tools all over to electric as well–started with the lawn mower about a year before even getting the EV–the last one, a snow blower, may not be converted as the only cordless snow blower I could find was well over $1k in price!)

We have a recall…

For well over a year now several owners of the Focus Electric have been reporting that the car stalls out dead with “Stop Safely Now” appearing on the dashboard. From the number of complaints it would appear as many as 4-5% of Focus Electric owners have had this issue (maybe more–with less than 2000 vehicles on the road 5% is almost 40 of them).

Many people were getting quite frustrated as the dealer would return their car with “we couldn’t find anything, no codes were set” only to have it happen again. Further frustration would be incurred when calling Ford’s customer service line: “This is the first time we’ve heard of such a problem with the car?” When all someone at Ford would have to do is a google search for “Stop Safely Now”, and even look in their own forums they setup for the car!

Well we finally have a recall for the SSN issue as detailed here, here, here, and here.

I think the Inside EVs article gets to the bottom of the issue:

“The exact nature of the problem with the FFE was a Battery Energy Control Module failing to communicate,  which prevented the bottom HV battery from engaging.”

Hopefully this recall takes care of the vast majority of the SSN (I don’t think it will take care of all of them since some of them have seem to have been due to a low 12V battery).

(Ironically you could get in an accident due to the SSN and be taken to the hospital in a Ford ambulance and have the same thing happen to the ambulance! LOL)