Goodbye FFE…

I’m sad to report that I turned in my FFE today. This doesn’t mean the end of the blog, however, as I did get a new car with a plug as well (more on that in a sec).

Things I loved about the FFE:

  • The quiet ride
  • The looks (probably the sportiest little EV available)
  • The technology (many people knock My Ford Touch but I really didn’t have much issue with it and the EV features integrated in are very nice)
  • The fact that it is a stealth EV. In the entire time I had it only about 3 people noticed that it was an EV and said something (all of the comments were positive)
  • Being able to charge at home. Not having to stop somewhere to “fill up” is huge–we would rarely take it somewhere beyond its range and thus I didn’t have a need to use public charging very often (I think I have about 10 entries in my Chargepoint account history).

Things I didn’t like about the FFE:

  • Winter
  • The heater
  • The lack of a fast charge–sort of
  • Not towable

Note the first two items here as they are related: In the winter the heater uses up more electricity than the motor on the FFE. Thus in the winter I would get 40-50 miles out of the car when using the heat. These two items (and the last) are the major reasons I did not lease another FFE.

That last item is kind of important to us as well. When we first leased the FFE we used a 5th wheel pulled by a pickup. Thus when we went camping we’d just use the pickup to get around. Over the course of the FFE lease we traded in the 5th wheel & pickup on a motorhome. Now we tow a vehicle for use. Look in the FFE’s owners manual: can’t tow it–pretty much at all.

Instead I opted to lease a C-Max Energi. Sure it seems like a step backward given its ~20 mile EV range vs the 70 rated miles on the FFE. In addition I will occasionally have to frequent gas stations again (that doesn’t matter much as our RV holds 55 gallons of gas which kind of negates all the EV driving I do! LOL). I figure that in the winter I’ll have to use the gas engine for one of the legs on my commute (probably the commute into work as that is when its coldest and I’ll welcome the engine’s heat). In addition, the C-Max can be flat towed (4 wheels down). Hopefully when this lease is up Ford will have a more compelling choice for an EV other than a 100 mile FFE!

The reason I stuck with a Ford is mentioned in the about link on the blog: I used to work there, and have family that still does–can’t beat the employee discount.

Since this is a 2016 C-Max Energi it comes with the new Sync 3 system. Look in the future for some posts on how to use that (much like all the My Ford Touch posts I did for the FFE).

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Goodbye FFE…

4 thoughts on “Goodbye FFE…

  1. Hi, Jamie. My name is Jamie too! – and I’m considering the purchase of a used 2013 FFE electric. I’m really on the fence with this one because I’m uncertain of the longevity of the battery. This particular car has 26,000 miles and is 3 years old, and the Ford dealer would like about $11,500. I drove it and am really intrigued. But then I read about range w/ heat, and “normal” battery degradation, and I’m afraid this could turn into a completely useless electric toy that I can drive around the block once or twice in 10 years from now (I buy cars for the long haul.) I really appreciate your blog and would value any advice you have to give. Like, how do I assess the current health of the battery of this car? What questions should I be asking? What to look for? Is this a bad idea? Thanks for your thoughts, if you have the time. -Jamie

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    1. Well purchasing a used EV is an interesting prospect. The dealer may not have any knowledge of how the car was treated. That would be my first question: What kind of life did the car have?
      You could ask them do to a run down test to see what the battery capacity currently is: Turn on the enhanced trip meter, reset it, from fully charged leave the car “on” with the heat turned up on high (with the windows open) until the car runs out of battery. The enhanced trip meter will tell you how much battery was used. If its around 18 or 19 kWh you’ve got a good battery with little degradation.
      When treated properly the battery should last for a while (the FFE does have the heating/cooling system for the battery which helps out a lot).

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  2. Greg says:

    Hi, Jamie. Thanks for the blog. Could you say a little more about your winter driving habits? When you were getting 40-50 miles of range, what was your cabin thermostat setting? I presume that you were not charging at work? (Sorry if this is discussed in earlier posts.)

    I live in Pittsburgh and have my eye on a 2017 Focus Electric. (I’m also a Ford brat, originally from the Southeast Michigan area.) As I’m sure you’ve heard, the 2017 model should have >100 miles of range, and quick charge capability.

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    1. I could get 50 miles out of the FFE on the coldest days by:

      • Preconditioning the car to 85F
      • Driving in to work without heat at all (either cracking the window slightly or running the vent to prevent fogging)
      • Setting heat to 72F for the commute home

      Using the above techniques I’d get to work only consuming about 40% of the battery. Using the remaining battery for the ride home (typically I’d get home with the guess o meter showing 10 miles remaining). I could also moderate the range home by turning on/off the heat (e.g. if it was showing that I couldn’t make it home I’d turn off the heat for a bit).

      The best way to estimate if you’ll make it or not is to program your route into the navigation (at least with My Ford Touch, not sure it works the same with Sync 3). With MFT you could use the status value to determine if you’ll make it or not (if its >0 you’ll make it, if its <0 you wont).

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