A Ford EV Recall–sort of

Ford is recalling 2012-2015 Focus Electrics, 2013-2015 Fusion and C-Max Energi vehicles. This is due to the 120V EVSE included with the vehicles doesn’t have a sensor (thermistor) in the plug to reduce the charge rate if it detects that the plug (the wall side plug) is overheating. The idea is that not all households/buildings have the capacity to handle a sustained 12 amp draw from a standard outlet. In those cases the outlet may overheat and cause a fire. By including a thermistor in the plug the EVSE can detect this situation and instruct the car to reduce the charge rate down to 8 amps. This is a nice automatic safety feature in the EVSE (at least it is in the ones that have the thermistor).

GM handles this a little differently with the Bolt: When you use the included 120V EVSE the car will default to charging at 8 amps. If you wish to charge at 12 amps you have to go into a menu setting on the car and turn on 12 amp charging. Thus it takes manual intervention on the driver’s part to charge at the higher rate (in either case charging a Bolt to full on 120V Level 1 EVSE takes a looooong time–even Chevy’s charging guide doesn’t give you a value, only says 4 miles per hour–because it would take a whopping 60 hours–2.5 days–to charge!).

The recommended home charger for the Bolt is the Level 2 EVSE which brings the charge time down to something a little more reasonable 9.5 hours or “overnight”. For my usage I’ve been charging the car overnight when it hits the 1/4 tick mark. From there to “full” takes a little bit over 6 hours.

If you’re driving one of the recalled vehicles take the EVSE back to the dealer you’ll get a new one. Drive safe everyone.

 

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A Ford EV Recall–sort of

Time flies…

Here we are, February 2018 already. Wow its been 2 years since I turned in the FFE (and 5 years since I picked it up).

So far 2 years on the C-Max: I’m averaging about 800-1000 miles on a “tank” of gas (in winter I burn a little more to generate heat). This usually means I’m getting gas about once a month. Which isn’t too bad all things considered.

In Ford news they did up their commitment to 40 electrified vehicles by 2022 still, however, they haven’t shown a single prototype, rendering, or anything for that matter. This means that when my C-Max lease is up in a year there won’t be anything available from Ford with a plug (assuming they stop making the Focus Electric, C-Max Energi, and Fusion Energi when the Focus plant switches over to Ranger production this year–Focus production is moving overseas).

Given that I have to start looking elsewhere for an EV to lease. The most logical one to choose would be a Chevy Bolt EV (given that it is A) available, and B) a bit less expensive than a Tesla Model 3). To that end we have a vacation coming up…perhaps I’ll try to rent one…hmmm.

 

Time flies…

Busy summer indeed

Now that fall is here I can start posting about weather and range issues again…! LOL Just kidding. What a busy summer around here with a few life changes thrown in to boot.

As far as the subject matter of the blog here: The C-Max is performing well, however I’ve been noticing some fit & finish issues with it (like any car these days). I’ve got a new commute that is a tad bit longer (+5 miles) than my last one (which brings my round trip mileage to 40 miles). I can still get by using a full charge for one trip on the commute (new job didn’t come with a charger, sadly).

We/I did take a few trips bringing the C-Max along for the ride (one family vacation, and one business trip). In both cases the C-Max was towed along behind the camper and I used the 50A RV plug at the campground to charge it up.

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The trusty Clipper Creek LCS-20P doing its thing.

This time no campground breakers were tripped LOL.

 

 

Busy summer indeed

Are you still here?

Yes, I’m still here. Not much to post about lately..catching up:

  • Ford announced a 300 mile SUV EV (something I posted about).
  • Then Ford sacked their CEO.
  • Since then no news from Ford either good or bad (e.g. have the plans changed, will the EV come sooner or later–don’t know…)

Other things: I’ve been able to take the C-Max Energi camping some more: 

Here it is with us at the Nashville KOA. It really is a great car for a “toad” (car towed along with the RV). Its small but not too small (same size as an Escape), with a small EVSE like my LCS-20P you can charge it up at the campground and be ready for any adventures/sightseeing/etc. and it can be towed 4-wheels down (we use a dolly so we can take any FWD car). About the only drawback to the C-Max Energi is its weight: at 3900+ lbs it is a bit heavy; enough so that some RV’s may not be able to tow it (the Hybrid version comes in at 3600+ lbs..those 200 lbs fewer may make all the difference).

So, yes, I’m still here and still posting (looks like I’m at a one a month give or take clip)…

 

Are you still here?

Hey it only took a year

When I first picked up the C-Max I immediately setup a charge profile for home. For some reason, though, it didn’t work the way I had expected. My experience with the Focus Electric was quite positive with respect to the charge profiles–once I had set them up they pretty much worked 99% of the time. The C-Max was different, and after a couple of weeks I finally gave up and deleted my charge locations. I even have at least one post about this.

I’ve been using the method I described in that post ever since. Fast forward to now. Ford has been working on a software update for Sync 3 that includes Android Auto and Apple Car play. This update has been shipping on 2017 model year cars for a while now; its just been taking Ford a while to get the update for the 2016s working/released. Not too long ago a version of this update leaked (really!?). After a few weeks I figured “what the heck I’ll give it a shot”. The update process went pretty smoothly (it is Ford software, not some hack). Android Auto is pretty cool–perhaps that will deserve a post of its own.

With the new software installed I figured I’d play with value charge and charge locations again. Thus I re-setup my home location with a charge window slightly different from the one I setup for the default location. For the next few days when approaching home I would put the radio on the charge setup screen so I could watch which profile it chose to use. This was very enlightening. Turns out something that I had suspected in my post (linked above) is true: On the C-Max the charge now/value charge setting is global. On the Focus Electric that setting was tied to each charge location (so the default charge location could be set to charge now and your home location could be set to value charge). (I also suspect the older software worked this way as well, just my thick head couldn’t figure it out! LOL) Thus now I can leave the default profile set to charge 24/7 and home to the window I want and it should work. On the my ford mobile website, however, it shows the charge now/value charge setting like it is on the Focus; separate:

The really goofy thing about this is that with the setting global it makes it even easier to put the quick flip on the dashboard like the Focus Electric does. The new version of Sync 3 does reduce that change to three clicks from four though.

Hey it only took a year

A year of C-Max

One year down, two to go–at least for the C-Max lease. It took a while but I’m now pretty used to the gas engine kicking in. I find I’m using gas more with colder weather to keep the car warm (in summer the trip meter would hover around 100mpg, in the colder months its more like 50mpg).

The car seems to have a similar quirk to the FFE: If you don’t start it quite right it doesn’t like it. In this case I’ve seen a few times where I didn’t start it and it thought it was only a hybrid (wouldn’t let me select EV Now, or EV Later modes). Turning off the car, opening in a door, and restarting easily clears that condition.Strange not being able to select a mode even when the dash is showing a full battery.

EV only range on the C-Max goes from a pitiful 13 miles or so (cold weather, using climate control) to about 28 miles (80s, no climate or minimal A/C). I would much prefer the car to have a solid 50 miles of summer range. 50 miles would be perfect for my commute–even in winter–it could reduce my gas consumption to virtually zero.

It sits taller than a Focus–more like the dimensions of an Escape (my wife drives a 2014 Escape and we park them next to each other in the garage; they are very similar in size and shape). This means that ingress and egress are much easier than the Focus as there is more room and you don’t have to lower/raise yourself to/from seat level. This alone makes the C-Max a bit more livable than the Focus.

Still, though, I’d give some of that up for a bit more EV range, or a full BEV. Reading many of the EV sites you get the feeling that people just love their EVs and would prefer to have a BEV than a PHEV… I would tend to agree with that. Now if Ford would only release their 300 mile EV SUV in Jaunary of 2019 ;).

 

A year of C-Max

Strange math

Here is an interesting, um, feature of the car: The car has a range display that shows gas range + electric range (when everything is full it will display something like 600 + 22 or so). The trip meter, on the other hand, will show you total miles, and “EV Miles”.

The way these are calculated is very interesting: The gas range value shows “hybrid range available” and “EV only” range available. The trip meter, however, shows total miles and “EV miles”. The “EV only” range is not the same as “EV miles” on the trip meter.

I seem to be averaging about 1000 miles a tank of gas, at least that is what the trip meter is telling me: ~1000 miles total, and 700 miles EV. Hang on doesn’t that mean I only went 300 miles on gas? Nope, this is where the strange math comes in. The “EV miles” on the trip meter simply measures how many miles the car traveled on battery power only. Now you can see the disparity: When running in hybrid mode the car will run the engine at its most optimum speed and store excess rotational energy in the battery (e.g. runs the engine faster than required to move the car and uses the generator to take up the excess speed above what the car needs to move). When the battery has stored sufficient electricity it uses the electric motor to drive the car and shuts down the gas engine (until the battery is depleted below a certain point). In this electric drive state the trip meter counts the distance as “EV only” because the gas engine is off, but the range meter counts this towards the gas engine range (presumably because the electricity came from the gas engine).

The net effect of all that is there is no way you can relate the range values to the values the trip meter shows you. Sure the range is a pretty accurate representation of how far you can go on your remaining fuel but there is no way to account for the differences between the trip meter and the range value.

Yeah I know: “This seems like a long blog post to be nit picking about some gauge values” and you’re right but I have to post about something now and then LOL. I really count this difference (and post here) as just an observation and not “nit picking” though as it doesn’t bother me that much: You are going to use the range and the trip meter for two different purposes and probably never will want to “do the math” to see how they relate anyway. All these different ways of calculating, though, really make it difficult to come up with a “true” mpg figure for the car though (it does show one in diagnostic mode but that is for another post).

 

 

Strange math