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Old 11-22-2012, 11:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I drove a Focus Electric today.

Today my boss brought a new Ford Focus Electric demo to work for everyone (mainly me) to check out. Wow what a car. But wow what a price.

Under the hood is the typical plastic "engine" cover. All it took was a pair of pliers to remove it. Underneath was lots of goodies that made me want one. The battery pack behind the rear seat and takes up most of the trunk. Any utilitarian qualities of a hatchback are completely eliminated with the giant battery box in the way.

A couple things I noticed.
-It has a normal Focus radiator and a cooling system that cools the AC motor controller and heats the cabin.
-There is an electric coolant heater for cabin heat, not a heat pump like the Toyotas.

After in depth inspection, my boss chucked me the key fob and I took for a quick 15 minute burn. Wow…what a thrill. So quiet. So smooth. It basically makes my eBooger feel like a piece of crap, which is to be expected since the Focus costs 17 times as much.

I love the graphical readouts for energy use, regenerative braking, range, etc. After each time you use the brakes and lift off the brake pedal, the readout gives you a percentage score or how much braking was done by regen. Even on fairly hard stops my score stayed above 90%.

Power wise, it actually goes like snot. For real. I spun a tire when I booted it making a turn onto a road. It's weird hearing a spinning tire with no accompanying engine roar.

I am amazed how little interior noise there is. Ford has really done an amazing job of making sure their electric car is QUIET inside.

My boss told me to rely on the heated seats for warmth for maximum range. But after a while it started fogging up inside, so I turned the defroster on. My remaining range indicator quickly dropped from 107 km to 69 km. Once the windows were clear I turned it back off and the range jumped back up.

Once I returned back to work and turned the car off, the display screen gave me a run down of my score - total braking score (I got 96%), average kwh/km, etc. Pretty neat.

All in all, it is a very impressive car. Would I buy one? Yes.

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Old 11-23-2012, 01:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Do you have the money?

I wish they'd bring it here.
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Cool review.

The braking and energy use feedback sounds great. Because I'm a nerd.
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Any pictures ?

I love the Aston Martin like grille and the overall look of the car. It's actually an attractive design.

Did you happen to look under the car ? I saw a pre-production model that had a HUGE open area where a conventional ICE would go and that a belly pan should have been.

I'm hoping that this area is addressed in the production car.
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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A friend has a 'regular' Focus and he loves it. But the price on the electric version is a major hurdle for me and I'm sure many others.

I guess you could argue you'd make up the price premium in fuel savings, depending on how many miles you drive per year.
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Old 11-23-2012, 01:21 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree that the price is somewhat prohibitive, but as with any new technology, it takes time for it to mature. Once the company gets its ROI and production ramps up, prices will fall.

Great review btw !
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I did not have a look under the car. But I did notice that the front belly pan extended quite far back - past the motor, I believe. To be honest I didn't have much time to look at it and I was spending most of my time deciding what all the gizmos under the hood were.

Another thing is that they have programmed the car to creep like a normal automatic. As soon as you release the brake (in gear) the car starts moving with no throttle input. The throttle feels very natural. It acts exactly like an ICE car. I mean exactly - the only difference is the lack of engine noise.

The price is a big thing. One has to wonder how many years the fuel savings will take to pay for itself. One also has to factor in how long the 23kWh lithium pack will actually last and how much replacement will cost.

For me that's not the point. I wouldn't buy the car because of economic rationale, but because I would be getting a really cool car that is quiet and smooth and interesting.

Then I think about how this car would fit my needs. It would be perfect for 95% of my family's driving needs. A secondary [cheap] vehicle would take car of the rest - the long trips. But I see that Ford is releasing a PHEV version of the new Fusion in 2013 - and THAT car is probably the nicest looking sedan I have ever seen in my life. I wonder what pricing will be like on that one. A bigger car that's an EV for the first 20-30 miles and can still get me to the cabin in Osoyoos on long weekends? Hmm...
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Did you happen to notice what the Wh per km were running at 100 kph according to the gauge?
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I have a Ford C-Max Hybrid. It is based on the Focus platform and runs 60% of the time in pure EV mode. I can attest to much of what he said as far as cabin noise, smoothness, and the electric system feeling much like an engine. I can also say that all the interior goodies are very entertaining to say the least.

I am pushing to pay off my car ($30,000!) in 3.5 years if at all possible. My hope is that the Focus-E will drop to about $35,000 with improved rage up to about 115 miles or so in that time. That would be the tipping point for me. If the car were that cost with that range, I would buy one as soon as my C-Max is paid off.

Matt
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Recumpence View Post
improved rage up to about 115 miles or so in that time.
We are not going to see real highway range over 100 miles in any car that nice for a long time. The stripped MiEV cant' even make 100 miles at highway speed.

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