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).
One pedal? What? This is a “mode” many EVs can be put in to drive without touching the brake pedal at all. How does that work? This is accomplished with some very specific changes to the driving experience:
- Creep is turned off–the car no longer inches forward if you take your foot off the accelerator.
- The brake lights are automatically controlled by an accelerometer or some other system rather than a switch on the brake pedal.
- The calibration of the accelerator pedal is changed such that the first few degrees of depression is regen (braking using the motor) instead of forward torque.
- That accelerator regen is enough to bring the car to a complete stop.
Now the FFE did not have such a mode–being a first generation EV they probably didn’t think of that. Even so with the Focus’s blended brake you kind of got the same result by driving it in a conventional manner (the FFE would automatically choose how much regen vs how much friction brake to use when you hit the brake pedal).
All the Tesla’s have a one pedal mode–of course, I believe the i3 also has a one pedal mode (while searching to see what has one pedal mode I did find this article about one pedal driving; makes the point better than I do–but I’ll continue nonetheless LOL).
In the Bolt putting the shifter in “L” enables one pedal mode. Taking your foot off of the accelerator will bring the car to a stop on level pavement (the owner’s manual does say that if you’re on an incline you may have to use the brake pedal to ensure the car doesn’t move at the stop; it also mentions that the brake pedal should always be used at a stop as the brake lights will turn off once the car stops moving). The max deceleration with your foot off the pedal is 0.2G; if more is desired there is a regen paddle behind the steering wheel that will increase that to 0.4G. One pedal mode does work much better if you drive relaxed and start “braking” much earlier than you normally would–something I’ve already gotten used to thanks to the brake coach in the FFE. You can still use the brake pedal if needed–indeed you’ll still instinctively stomp on the brake pedal in a panic situation. Of course this means that the brake pads on the car will never wear out if all you do is drive in “L”.
Which is something I do; its just muscle memory now putting it into L for every trip. The car’s range increases somewhat when you drive in one pedal mode vs “conventional” driving–simply due to the fact that you are not regenerating nearly as much driving it conventionally. This also makes it fun hopping back into any other car as they feel like they are on ice when taking you foot off the gas (which just makes you instinctively hit the brake so adjusting back is pretty easy).
When I drove a family member’s Tesla I tried out one pedal mode briefly–not nearly long enough to get the hang of it. Now, though, I drive that way every day (in the Bolt, of course, not a Tesla LOL).
Hasn’t hit Southeastern Michigan yet. I am seeing more and more Tesla’s when I’m out and about on the roads, however. In the past month or so I’ve seen several Model X’s (different colors so I know they are different cars), and a few Model S’s. I believe I’ve only seen one Model 3 so far–you’d think I’d start seeing more given that Tesla has really started cranking out the cars and deliveries.
Of course Michigan isn’t really a Tesla friendly state: The auto dealers managed to get a law passed “clarifying” that its illegal for OEM’s to have a dealership–must be a franchised dealer not owned by the OEM to be able to sell cars. As such I think there is only one Tesla gallery in Michigan at The Somerset Collection in Troy, MI. That pretty much makes it so only the people that really want a Tesla get one. (Tesla does go to great lengths to make it easy to purchase: You can even order one right off their website.)
(Saw a Model X this morning which was the inspiration for this post…)
Waiting for the 3’s to arrive en mass.
For the past few hours I’ve had this guy plugged into my home EVSE:
A relative picked it up and will be visiting for a few days. Now my little 30A @ 240V charger really can’t do much for a Tesla (the Tesla app says its charging at about 20 miles an hour–for this afternoon they have been here long enough for maybe 60 miles of charge). Fortunately for them we do have a supercharger about 20 miles away (which they plan to hit on the way home).
I’ll likely have another post soon after I take it for a spin…
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?
Late last night (11:30pm Eastern) Tesla revealed the Model 3:
Already there’s been 150,000+ reservations. So if you’re at the end of that list, and they ramp up production slowly (or even moderately) from the projected “late 2017” start then you’ll be lucky to see your Model 3 by 2019?
Wow. Don’t get me wrong it is a sharp car (personally I’m not too thrilled with the “blank” nose, but then again originally I wasn’t sure I’d like the fake grille on the FFE but it grew on me). Am I one of the 150,000? No–I had given it considerable thought: the deposit is refundable and it would be likely that I wouldn’t get the car until after my current lease ends but in the end I decided not to.
By the time the Model 3 does hit the market there is going to be a lot of competition in the class. Some will be cheaper, some will be more expensive; will any of them be “better” than the Model 3? That is a question I cannot answer and greatly depends on how much of a fan you are of Tesla (just read through some of the comments on any article about the Model 3’s reveal and you’ll see what I mean).
One thing is for sure, though, we are definitely living in interesting times…
Check out this Ars Technica article about the Chevy Bolt. Seems like Chevy is going to handily beat Tesla’s Model 3–makes you wonder if Chevy timed this news release to beat Tesla to the punch as the Model 3 prototype will be unveiled next week.
The thing is, when I look at the picture in the article, below:
This side view really looks like a BMW i3 to me…not sure why (perhaps its just the relative proportions).
By the time my 3 years is up on the C-Max I’ll have plenty 200+ mile BEV’s to choose from thats for sure.