Home On the Range
On Wednesday, when the temps reached into the 60s, we explored the limits of its range, and set a new personal record, adding 76 miles to the odometer. When we arrived home, the indicated range showed an estimated 16 miles still remaining. So we can rest easy knowing that we were capable of driving 92 miles, in total, before needing a recharge.
About That Hatch...
About that hatch…the achilles heel of the Focus Electric. Yes, it’s small, but Ford has made it functional.
A measured drawing, not drawn to scale, follows:
There are both an upper shelf, where you see the milk in the photo above and under which the battery lives, and a deeper, lower shelf, in which Ford supplied a three-section, divided, closed-cell foam bin (photo below). Note that this bin can be removed to reveal an even deeper well where the portable cord and the flat repair kit are kept.
You’d have trouble packing in more than a couple of overnight bags. Fortunately, the hinged shelf behind the second row headrests is removable, if needed.
If you prop up the shelf, the one immediately above that bin and on which the milk is sitting in the photo above, with something of similar height inside the center section of the bin, it makes a flat platform that can lie even with the upper shelf.
Otherwise, the rearward shelf, the one above the bin, slopes downward. Anything you put here would fall out the vehicle’s back. The bottom line is that you don’t buy this car to be a cargo hauler. In fact, it might be more convenient to load grocery bags into the second row.
Is it enough? Yes. Is it too much? Definitely not!
Video Reviews & The Specs
While you’re awaiting that hatch investigation, below are three video reviews, much better produced than I could ever do. The first two are from CNET, on the 2015 and initial 2012 model years, and the third is from Motorweek on the 2012. Enjoy!
And again while we’re at it, Ford all the way back in 2011 published a fact sheet on the component systems inside the Focus Electric (click on the image below for the PDF):
Overconfidence can be its owner’s undoing, but with only three days of EV driving under my belt, I’m sitting in first position on one of Ford’s six driving efficiency competitions.
The Challenge: some are good at braking, others at using the accelerator. Those that have mastered all of the EV driving tricks sit atop the leaderboard.
How did this happen? I don’t really know how the scoring works. The screen indicator shows that feathering the brake when pulling up at a stop captures kinetic energy, regenerating the batteries. Flooring the accelerator, as much fun as it is with this car (pushing you back into the seat, like a roller coaster, although one that’s on the kiddie side of the fun park) seems to have the opposite effect. The drawdown in the indicated range estimate shows up right away when doing that.
And it’s likely that pre-warming the car also boosts the score, if you can then shut down the heater at the same time as you disconnect from the grid. The cost for this came on a 40 mile ride to Worcester yesterday, in the form of chilly feet, although the heated seats felt great, even if doing a haircut on my range miles. Also maximizing range is running the defroster only when the windows start to fog (needing to do that more so when other passengers are riding along in the car).
Up next, let’s look under the hatch. The trunk does seem pretty small....
let me introduce you
In an effort to help those whose thoughts run toward battery electric vehicles (BEVs), let me introduce you to the “Range View” gauge, on the Ford Focus Electric 2015, showing how much “gas” is left in the tank, i.e. the 39 miles posted on the battery icon. With 39 miles remaining before requiring a recharge, the screen shows I’ve added approximately 28 miles since driving off the dealer’s lot. Yes, 39 plus 28 equals ONLY 67 miles of range! However, keep in mind the range is just a guideline (I started out showing a 71 mile range). How you drive, the speed you travel, whether you’re uphill or downhill from your destination and how much heat is to your liking will all factor in. The computer will adjust its estimate on the fly.
I much appreciate the patience of Larry Lungarini at Sarat Ford Agawam for explaining the basics yesterday, before sending me on my way. Stay tuned, I hope to post next a novice EV driver’s thoughts and mistakes on maximizing that limited range....