So what is up with Ford?

Its been a while since I’ve written (complained?) about Ford. Is there any news to speak of with Ford and EVs?

Why yes, yes there is. A few years ago Ford had promised big things about “electrifying” much of their fleet. In the interim they haven’t really shown anything other than a few notes here and there on announcements just to keep it in people’s minds (a sentence on a presentation, buying a train station!?, etc.).

Today, now, we have a Lincoln with a plug coming out, a hybrid Explorer, and now an announcement that there will be a BEV F-150 (yeah ok more bluster but there maybe something here…shall we dig).

This is rather big news that Ford is officially saying they will make a BEV F-150. Perhaps the fact that Tesla has sold a ton of Model 3’s and are poised to make a EV pickup “really soon now” (Tesla timeframe LOL).

Perhaps its that there is another EV pickup going to appear on the market in a year or so?

Oh wait there is more than one EV pickup coming to market soon (well ok one may be a bit further out than the other ! LOL).

The F-150 is Ford’s bread and butter. Taking on all competition and crushing them (even with new entries from leading competitors GM and RAM they are still outselling them). Now along comes a few upstarts, in the past Ford may have thought of them as simple gnats to be slapped away but its a brave new world now where an EV car can sell almost 140,000 copies in a year. You have to take every competitor seriously.

The trick, for Ford, is that the F-150 BEV has to be at least as compelling as the traditional F-150 or its going to fail against the competitors. Exciting times are ahead if you’re a EV fan and a pickup fan (personally I think Ford should also make a Ranger BEV; it may be a more compelling option).

So what is up with Ford?

Bolt size, looks

I’ve heard some comments that the Bolt has “that funky EV look”? Really, or are you predisposed to think it looks funky because it is an EV?

Lets compare its looks to a contemporary CUV from a competing manufacturer (yeah ok a Ford Escape LOL):

2018-06-10 09.48.092018-06-10 09.48.202018-06-10 09.48.35

Not that it really isn’t that much smaller, perhaps an inch or two smaller in height and length. The hood is definitely smaller which stands to reason since you don’t need that much room for the electric motor.

The roofline is about the same (and pretty much looks like all CUV’s these days). I’d argue that the rear window having a little bit more of an angle than the Escape gives it a slightly sportier look..but that is splitting hairs.

Interior wise: there is a lot less room for stuff in the hatchback but that may be because there is tons of legroom in the rear seat–much more than available in the Escape.

To my eyes it just looks like another on of the millions of CUV’s on the road–its most distinguishing feature is how they put the “Bolt EV” name above the front quarter panel.


Bolt size, looks

Another plugin..a bowtie!

I’m now on my 3rd plugin vehicle, two BEV’s and one PHEV. This one is interesting: I’ve been purchasing Ford’s for the past 30 years or so. Walking into a Chevy dealership was a bit odd and the same (all of the American dealerships are essentially the same–just a different logo on the front of the car). After a few minutes conversing with the salesman the odd feeling disappeared and we got down to business.

I’ve now driven it a whopping 15 miles or so (spent most of the evening playing with all the configuration settings/charge settings/pairing phone/etc.–I may have to make a few posts about that). Took some people for a ride; spoke with a neighbor about it (kind of obvious it isn’t a Ford in the driveway LOL).

This one a is a little different from the one we rented in California: For one thing its in LT trim, not Premier so its missing a bunch of options (like lane keeping assist, the fancy screen/mirror, etc.). Many of those features I’d likely not use so I didn’t get them but the biggest difference is the seats…

I mentioned in my other post about the complaints the Bolt front seats were getting. On the Premier one we rented they felt like the side bars of the seat were too narrow and would press/dig into the sides of your rear. It wasn’t that big of a deal for me as I did fit in between the sides but I do understand the complaints.

On the LT trim the seats are…just fine!? (The Premier has leather seats, the LT has cloth seats). The cloth seats don’t have the bucket feeling like the leather seats do–in fact they feel pretty flat (like inexpensive seats would) and thus there is no issue with them..they feel like any other car seat and are quite comfortable. This also could be a model year difference: The one I rented was a 2017 Bolt and mine is a brand new 2018.

I’m sure my posting rate will increase now that I have something new to post about…stay tuned.

Another plugin..a bowtie!

My Week with a Bolt


We just returned from our Spring Break vacation in Northern California. I used Turo to rent the above Bolt. If you aren’t familiar with Turo: It is a service like AirBnb but for cars (e.g. you can rent out your own car to make money–interesting concept that could have a blog post all its own but I’m not here to talk about that).

I did mention in my previous post that the Bolt is a strong contender for my next vehicle. So now that I’ve driven one for a week how does it fare?

Lets start with the looks: I’ve read many opinions about that with a few people still thinking it looks a bit odd which makes it stand out. To me it looks very similar to the other small GM CUV’s (Chevy Traxx or the Buick Encore–of course some may think those have polarizing looks themselves). Comparing dimensions it is very similar to both of those (wheelbase, length, track width, etc.). To my eyes I don’t think it looks much different from a Ford Escape or the C-Max from the side (the front looks much better than the C-Max).

One of the major complaints about the Bolt is the front seats. Now that I’ve sat in them for a week I understand. To describe it: The seats have a curve to them from side to side for both the back and the bottom. It almost feels like a folding chair where the two side bars holding the canvas aren’t wide enough. Thus if your frame fits within the curvature of the seats you’ll be comfortable, if it doesn’t you won’t. For myself: After a few minutes driving I stopped noticing the curve and found them rather comfortable. By the end of the week seat comfort was a non issue as I could hardly notice anything odd about them.

The Premier trim levels of the Bolt get a panoramic rear view mirror. Flipping the day night switch on the bottom of the mirror switches between a normal mirror and the panoramic one. The panoramic one uses a wide angle camera at the back of the car and when in that mode the mirror is just a monitor.


This takes some getting used to. When driving with a normal mirror you keep your eyes focused at infinity looking in the mirror which makes it very easy to quickly glance in the mirror and back out the front window. When in panoramic mode the mirror is a monitor which means you have to refocus to a short distance (much like looking down at the dash: you have to refocus at the closer distance). Initially I had found it difficult to do, but our car had some advertising on the back window which I found more distracting than the panoramic mirror LOL. After a day or so using the panoramic mode got to be no more difficult than checking the speed, or charge, etc.

One pedal mode: Putting the Bolt in “L” (as opposed to “D”) enables one pedal mode. In this mode it no longer creeps and taking your foot completely off the accelerator will quickly bring the car to a stop. I had briefly tried one pedal mode when driving around a family member’s Model S. I didn’t have enough time in my brief test drive of the S to get the hang of it. On the Bolt one pedal mode is really easy to get used to and a joy to use. You can and sometimes still have to use the brake–especially on hilly San Francisco streets but with normal flat terrain you can get away without using the brake at all.


The dash is a bit simpler than the Focus Electric or the C-Max–although there could be a more complicated display; I really didn’t explore all of those options (this was mostly because I was cognizant that this was someone’s car and I didn’t want to mess with all of their settings). The important things are there and are an improvement on the Ford implementation. The range display at the left, for example: On the Focus electric Ford’s attempt varied widely based on your most current usage (a reason for the Guess-O-Meter name it has been given). On the Bolt that value was pretty stable and you’re also given a Maximum value if you drive super efficiently and a minimum value if you drive like you stole it. To the right hand side (the 7kW value on the picture above) is your current power consumption or regeneration value. This display is similar to the Focus Electric except that it also shows the power value during regeneration–very nice (in addition that yellow line going through the value is a graph that moves up for driving and down for regeneration).

With 200+ miles did I experience any “range anxiety”? Well I can honestly say that I never really had any “range anxiety” when driving the Focus Electric with its paltry 70 miles of range, so 200+ miles was a cake walk. Note that I’m saying 200+ miles here and not 238–the Bolt’s official range–because this car would only “fill” to a bit above 200 miles; most likely due to the terrain. Since we couldn’t charge at home it was interesting experiencing the “find a charger” problem in California. Fortunately I didn’t mind using the more expensive chargers (which were almost always available) because I was just doing an extended test drive and not using them to charge daily. If I were to own a Bolt between its range and the fact that we have a home charger I wouldn’t expect to use public charging at all unless we went for an extended drive.

Fast charging: Neither the Focus Electric, nor the C-Max have the capability for DC fast charging–this Bolt did (its optional on the Bolt). This is a must have. Even if you never use it it will be there for resale value. I did try out fast charging for about 15-20 minutes: plugged in the car, turned on the charger and went grocery shopping. Upon returning to the car it had gained almost 40 miles and was making a racket LOL (something I had expected: all the cooling systems were in full swing).

On the whole the Bolt is a very nice solid car. It has always pretty much been the top contender for my next car since it came out. Now that I’ve experienced one for a week I’m pretty positive it will be my next car (was a little disappointed I had to return it).


My Week with a Bolt

Where is Ford?

The question is: Where is Ford in this market?

The answer is: being left in the dust.

What market is that? The 200+ mile EV club. Granted the only members in the club right now is Tesla, but Chevy is knocking at the door with the Bolt.

If this review is any indication the Bolt is going to be a hit. You can spend hours debating if the Model 3 is “going to kill Chevy” or that the Bolt “will be the death knell of Tesla”. Personally I’d hedge towards Chevy: If the Bolt is as good as that review indicates then with a solid year (plus?) lead on the market it will give Tesla some solid competition.

The next few years promises to be exciting ones if you are an EV enthusiast.

So again: Where is Ford?


Where is Ford?

GM Takes a big step forward, Ford a few steps backwards

Today and tomorrow are the press preview days at the North American International Auto Show. First up on the block was GM/Chevy with a big announcement: the new Volt 2.0 and a “Bolt” concept car:
This is huge: Chevy showing a 200 mile BEV for around $30,000. If GM can get this guy to production before Tesla’s Model 3 then GM will own the BEV market (and before the Leaf 2.0 which is also rumored to have at least 150 miles of range). Announcing these new vehicles at a time of record low gas prices does show that GM, at least, does get it. GM does understand that EVs are the future (or at least that the future is going to include all sorts of alternatively powered cars, not just ICE).

In contrast, what did Ford show off today? Performance vehicles: The new F-150 Raptor, a race ready Mustang GT350R, and it reintroduced the GT halo car. Granted both the GT and the F-150 will be powered by an Ecoboost V6 instead of a V8 (much to many gear-heads disappointment). Also granted that Ford does have a full stable of vehicles and customers (probably more ICE customers than BEV customers anyway! LOL) but its been a long time since the Blue Oval has released any encouraging electrification news (There have been no substantial changes to any of their plugins for a good 3 years now–FFE, C-Max Energie, and Fusion Energie).

Realistically, looking at the timing of my lease, if I were to hope to get anything new it would have to be announced this winter as anything announced next winter would go into production long after my lease is up. I can still hope Ford will announce something EV related at the Geneva auto show in March. That show, however, is for the global market and anything announced there would not be sold in North America within the lease time period either. Which leaves me with a huge question mark come next year: What will my next car be (reasonably sure it will be a plugin)?

GM Takes a big step forward, Ford a few steps backwards