Where are we in mid-October?

So here we are almost the middle of October 2020 (yeah really?) Where are we?

Well I’ve done nothing all year..right? Hunkered down day by day, what day is it anyway?

Well fortunately some of the world keeps moving…

Mach-E development is continuing and Ford is on track to deliver some cars by the end of this year. Preproduction and production builds are going on now (I hear that the dealer units and some production units have been built). Sounds like people with orders may start to get VIN’s assigned starting next week. No vehicles will leave the plant until OK to buy which is currently planned for sometime prior to Thanksgiving.

So there is a possibility I may see a Mach-E around Christmas maybe. Wouldn’t that make for a great Christmas present to myself.

Where are we in mid-October?

Whats going on with the Mach-E?

We’re now into September. The Mach-E was introduced 10 months ago (when I placed my reservation) what is going on?

Well, if you have a lot of time, you can read up on progress here (it is a rather lengthy thread). Some highlights:

  • Ford only planned to sell about 50k due to limitations on obtaining batteries
  • The Mach-E has been a lot more popular than that (80k orders)
  • Right now there are “bigwigs” in the plant watching over the entire process making sure everything is perfect
  • No vehicles will be shipped out until Ok to buy (sometime in November)
  • They should start assigning VINs within the next few months (well of course before OKTB LOL)
  • Ford did a rather strange marketing stunt (the “Mach-E drop”) on various media allowing people to pick up a First Edition (and thereby jumping in front of the line of people waiting since November..huh?)
  • It looks like the California Route 1 trim level (the one I ordered) may have the longest range of all the versions of the car (smaller wheels, extended range battery, fewer options, etc.)

The above implies that A) the Mach-E is a very popular vehicle, B) if you want one and didn’t reserve one good luck getting one before 2022 and C) very few will likely be delivered by the end of this year (was hoping mine would show up this year but probably not).

I’m also still waffling back and forth on if I actually want the car (well yes, but is it the right car for us/me?). Here is a list of reasons why I wouldn’t get the car:

  • It will be the most expensive vehicle (aside from the RV) that we’ve ever purchased and thus any change to our financial position between now and the car arriving will dramatically affect if we can get it or not
  • I can’t take it with me LOL–I think I did an earlier post on this: I’m going on the assumption that it cannot be towed (flat or on a dolly) which means bringing it with us when we use the RV is a drive two vehicle proposition. For any trip longer than about 4 hours this isn’t tenable. There are less expensive EV’s that can be towed (e.g. our current Bolt).

That 2nd point is pretty big: Our son is off to college now and we’re planning (post pandemic of course) to do a bit more travelling with the RV than we have to date hence I’d want to bring the sparkly new car with us if we can…. (Can’t tow it on a trailer as that would be too heavy for our RV to pull–as it is the Mach-E by itself may be too heavy for our RV as well! LOL).

At this point we’re still in the waiting game with no real “action” (e.g. seeing a demo car to drive, or the dealer contacting me with an update) expected until at least Thanksgiving.

And the pandemic rolls on.. LOL

Whats going on with the Mach-E?

Marketing…updates

Wow been a month..I’m still here LOL With the whole pandemic thing and working from home one day blends into the next and suddenly its a month later.

I’ve been trying to do a post about every two weeks but sometimes you miss and sometimes there really isn’t much to say (granted there has been a lot of EV news lately (Lucid Air’s 517 mile range, Ioniq becoming Hyundai’s EV brand, Michigan getting 36 new DCFC’s, etc.) but not much EV news here (Mach-E is on order awaiting production scheduling)).

The thing that prompted this post was a phone call. I’ve received a call like this about 3 or 4 times since I’ve started driving a plugin. A market research firm calls asking if I’d like to take part in some sort of EV event where I get to see a prototype or take part in some sort of panel. I really don’t know what these are all about because I never get past the “Do you, or anyone in your household, work or has worked for an automotive company, marketing company or related industries?” “Um, yes” “oh sorry then you don’t qualify”. I can imagine that they would be very hard pressed to find someone in the Southeastern Michigan area that can anwer “No” to that question!

Of course these types of phone calls get the imagination working: “What kind of prototype would I be seeing?” “Is it just a render on screen or would there be a real vehicle there?” “Would I end up in one of those old Chevy commercials?” (which they have seem to stopped airing) and, of course, “Will they have a Mach-E I could see and touch??”

I guess I’ll never know will I LOL.

About those new DCFC’s in Michigan. It looks like they will be a good distribution around the state. The somewhat bad news about them is that for being “fast” it appears that they won’t be very fast. Many may only be 50kW, some may be as fast as 100kW–maybe a little higher like 120kW. A 50kW charger is 3x slower than a 150kW (obviously) and thus, using Ford’s advertised 40 minutes to 80% spec on the Mach-E you’re now waiting 2 hours for that 80% charge. I guess its better than nothing, however.

As an example, the new chargers in Gaylord Michigan are only 62.5kW and there are only two. This means people will be there for more than an hour and if there is a line it won’t move very fast at all. (They are located in a good area for walking about, getting a bit to eat, etc. so at least there is something to do while you wait.)

Edit: If the chargers are like the ones in Cadillac, MI: Where they have two plugs and if only one is in use then you get the max of 125kW charging. That could be a reasonable compromise.

Marketing…updates

EV is just another car?

Check out this new Chevy commercial:

From the still it just looks like its just a sale on their SUVs but watch it; you may glimpse something here and there…

Wait is that a Bolt in there and another? Charging? Interesting.

Did they mean to do that or just grabbed some random footage they had laying around?

If that is intentional it does send a signal that the Bolt is “just another car” and not something separate. Not that it means much but it is possible that some random customer may show up at a Chevy dealer asking to “see that car I saw being plugged-in in the commercial”.

EV is just another car?

Taking the next step

The Mach-E order bank opened this morning (or late last night, not sure). This means that people with reservations (except for GTs) can now convert their reservations to an order.

I had a Select AWD model reserved. The select line was the least expensive version of the Mach-E available but you couldn’t get the larger battery for 300 miles in range. Thus before converting my order I spent some time changing the configuration around until I found the least expensive 300 mile Mach-E.

The version I ended up ordering is a California Route-1. This trim level is only available with the larger battery and rear-wheel drive yielding the 300 mile range figure. This configuration turns out to be around $2k-$3k less than a Premium trim with the big battery and rear-wheel drive (also is missing some of the bells and whistles of the Premium but I can live with what’s not there).

Sadly, however, the payment estimator on the Ford site comes up with a monthly that is out of my range. If I can’t get the monthly down to something a bit more palatable then I may have to ditch the Mach-E and go with the backup…a Plugin Escape (yeah its no Mach-E but its also $20k cheaper). Won’t have to make that decision until November or December, however so I have some time.

Taking the next step

Now here is a trick..

Before I get to the trick: Ford sent out an e-mail to people who have a Mach-E reserved (and of course news and rumors are running rampant). Apparently we can start converting our reservations to orders (at least in the US) next week.

Ok, now on to the trick. The trick here is how do I estimate how well the EV is driving, or rather who well the GOM is calculating my range to go (as a side note kind of related Ford has said the Mach-E is going to crowd source the GOM! interesting). (GOM = Guess-o-meter, or range to empty).

Lets say you have a longish trip, say 85 miles one way, or 170 miles round trip–give or take (oh hey I just happen to have driven this today, hmm). Most of it is highway and you want to estimate if you’re driving more or less efficient than the car thinks you have or will. Bear with me here…lol

Leaving with a full charge the GOM says you have 230 miles available (since this is slightly less than the 238 rated range the car has calculated my recent efficiency a little worse than average). Reset the trip meter upon the full charge so you can watch the trip meter go up as your range decreases.

Now here is the trick: While you’re driving add those two together (yeah ok wait until they get to easy values like 50 miles on the trip meater and 180 miles remaining). If you’re driving about the same efficiency as you were before the total should equal the full range at the start of the trip. If the total has fallen then you’re driving less efficiently and if the total rises you’re driving more efficiently–yeah all this math is hard.

Now for the trip we took today: 170 miles round trip, the car read 230 miles, it was in the mid-80s for temperature, air conditioning set to 70, and my speed ranged from 70-75 using cruise control (and occasionally going faster to pass people). As we were driving I would glance at the miles remaining and the trip and add them up.. 230, 230, 229, 229, 230, 229, 228, etc. By the time I got home (with about 50 miles showing on the GOM) the total was around 220. This means that driving on the highway at 70+ mph caused me to lose 10 miles of range or about 4%–not too shabby.

This is much better than many would expect from driving on the highway as most estimates say you lose about 10% in range from highway driving (or more). I’ve noticed this a few times now in the Bolt but I didn’t have an effective way to quantify it until I thought to add the values together…cool.

Now here is a trick..

New Escape plugin

Ford’s new Escape plugin hybrid is finally here–yeah I haven’t mentioned it much on here since I’ve been focusing more on BEV’s than PHEV’s (Although I’ve mentioned a few times that I thought Ford should make an Escape BEV–why not make a BEV out of one of your best selling vehicles? They did with the Focus: When they made the Focus Electric the Focus was a very popular car.)

Here is a review of the Escape PHEV; sounds pretty compelling, especially with 37 miles of battery only range–my C-Max could only go about 25 miles an extra 10 miles would have made a big difference.

One interesting thing of note is that the Escape will have 4 drive modes:

  • Automatic
  • EV Now
  • EV Later
  • EV Charge

The C-Max only had the first 3. Automatic is just that: you drive the car and let it figure out how to manage all the extra miles in the battery (it will predominantly use the battery but when extra power is needed it will fire up the gas engine). EV Now is similar except that it won’t fire up the gas engine until the battery is depleted (the car will keep a small reserve in the battery to operate in hybrid mode). EV Later will use the gas engine as much as possible to keep the battery charge constant.

The new mode here is EV Charge. I’m guessing that it will run the gas engine a little bit more to charge up the battery. Hmm what will the car do when the battery becomes full? It could switch to automatic, or it could switch to EV Later and hold that charge. I wonder if the owner’s manual is available online?? Why yes, yes it is (PHEV Drive modes start on page 176)!

It would appear that EV Charge will charge up the battery to some level less than 100% and then operate like EV Later in that it will attempt to hold the battery at that level. This leaves room for any long brake regen times.

The 2020 Escape was already a pretty compelling vehicle adding such a capable PHEV option only makes it more attractive.

New Escape plugin

Going on another month

Another month since I’ve last posted and nothing new to post: We’re all still at home, I’ve probably put less than 200 miles on the Bolt over the past month. I’ve left hill-top reserve turned on and simply plug it in after using it each time–this way its always ready to go and not charged to completely full. Occasionally we’ll take it for a “long” drive (in these times long consist of 20 or more miles LOL). Given that no car likes to sit we’ve also had to drive our ICE vehicles from time to time to keep their batteries charged and everything operating properly. Even the RV hasn’t gone anywhere..strange times indeed.

The most used vehicle we have right now is my Rad Power Bike–I’ve probably put more miles on it than any car!

I still have a Mach-E reserved; it looks like Ford is doing everything they can to keep that guy on track for late this year delivery (of course I’m hoping for a 2-3 month delay to push it closer to the Bolt’s lease end date but whatever happens we’ll see…).

Stay safe and healthy out there.

Going on another month