Focus Electric Fire sale

Hat tip to the Focus Electric Forums: Due to the 2017 FFE having >100 miles of range, the 2016 FFE will be pretty hard to sell. If you look nationwide on Auto Trader you find that there are a bunch of dealers offering them for less than $20,000. Combine that with the Federal rebate of $7500 and you could get a brand new electric car for around $12,000 (mind you a car that, less than four years ago, was selling for $37,000!). (Keep in mind, that if you buy the car, the Federal rebate comes off of your income taxes–you don’t get that as cash back at the time of sale. In addition, if your tax liability is less than $7500 you won’t get the full value. If you lease the car, however, the rebate goes to the leasing company and many of them pass on the savings in the lease.)

Granted this car comes with some caveats, but if you fit the profile it may be worth it.

The big thing to think about with the car is how far you have to drive and how bad are your winters. Start with your required max distance without charge (MDWC). I’m going to use this figure instead of something like “your commute” because people’s commutes vary wildly and some people may have access to charging at work. Thus your MDWC is a given distance in a day that you can be expected to go without having access to a charger.

The second factor to consider is your weather, specifically your winters (a secondary consideration is how hot it gets in the summer, but the FFE’s battery is actively cooled and cooling costs far far less in terms of battery range than heat does so we can neglect high temps to some degree here). If you have really mild winters (say you’re in Atlanta, or Dallas) you won’t have to worry about the lack of range in the cold. On the other hand if you’re a bit further North: Portland, ME, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, etc. you’ll have to consider that in your “can I use this car” calculations.

Time for some examples: I’ll start with my experience:

My MDWC was 30 miles (couldn’t charge at work, 30 miles is my round-trip commute), living in Detroit I had to be prepared for really cold winters. Frequently when the temps were

I can also use a coworker’s data: his MDWC was 50 miles. He determined the FFE would work–but just barely.

Now lets say someone is in Dallas and has a MDWC of 50 miles. In this case 50 miles really shouldn’t be that big of a deal, except for those rare days where its freezing or below.

The rule of thumb is: Determine how much heat you have to use. If you can get away without using any heat then your MDWC can be as high as 60 miles (or more). If you use marginal heat (the coolest temps your car will see are above 50F) then your MDWC can be as high as about 50 miles. If your coolest temps drop lower then that then your MDWC will also drop. When you get to temps freezing and below your realistic MDWC will drop to about 30-40 miles.

In addition, if you don’t already have a Level 2 EVSE, you’ll have to consider that as well. The FFE will take close to 20 hours to charge an empty battery on a normal 120V house plug. A Level 2 EVSE uses a 240V line (like a dryer, or electric range plug) and can charge up the FFE in as little as 3.5 hours. Prices for a Level 2 EVSE start around $500 or so and go up, and you have to add in any extra electrical work that may be required. You may be thinking that even 3.5 hours is a long time. Remember that is an empty battery. In my case, with my Level 2 I could put enough range back into the FFE to be usable while I cooked dinner.

If you’ve read this far and determine: YEAH! A FFE would be a great car for me, and I love those prices. Don’t be discouraged if the nearest dealer is 500, 1000, or even 2000 miles away. At those prices an extra $500 is worth it to get the car shipped to you.

I would imagine that you’d want to act fast on these if you are even thinking about it since at these prices the limited inventory of 2016 FFE’s won’t last long.

Focus Electric Fire sale

Alexa start my car

Here is something interesting: Ford will be integrating My Ford Mobile with Amazon’s Echo (Alexa).

According to the article you’ll be able to start your car, lock and unlock the doors, etc. by speaking with Alexa. This represents simple commands that Alexa can send to My Ford Mobil.

More interesting is that you’ll be able to command Alexa to do things from inside the car (set your house temperature, cue up music, etc.). This must mean that there will be a Sync app for Alexa on Sync 3 equipped vehicles (this is the easiest, and most logical course for applying this functionality).

Much like adding watch support to My Ford Mobile (about a year ago) this seems like something pretty easy to accomplish as most of the work involves linking internet servers (Ford’s My Ford Mobile server with Amazon’s–heck who knows: maybe My Ford Mobile is hosted in AWS!).

 

Alexa start my car

Whats this Waay up north?

On a recent camping trip in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula I spotted a very interesting vehicle. We were on our way home driving along route 28 towards Munising just past Christmas: See this map here:

This is the plugshare map of the area, note no public or private charge stations. Anyway on the right side of the road with a Michigan Forestry Service logo on the side of the car was a white Focus Electric!? I’m about 99% sure it was an FFE: It was parked facing us so I immediately recognized the front grille (which is unique even to the 2015 Focuses) and as we passed I clearly saw the word “Electric” on the driver’s door (and the circle outline of the charge port). Unfortunately since I was driving I was unable to snap a picture and the configuration of our camper makes it really difficult to pull a quick U-turn (we were pulling my wife’s Escape on a dolly).

I hope my “sasquach FFE” sighting is true. That would mean the forestry service is using some green vehicles (and also that whomever is driving that FFE has a limited area to manage!).

Cool!

Whats this Waay up north?