Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Long Term Test: 2014 Ford Focus Electric wrap-up

One of our first pictures of the Ford Focus Electric
After three years and over 24k miles of service, it is finally time to bid farewell to our daily driven Ford Focus Electric. This was the first electric car that my wife and I have owned and was the start of what will likely be a legacy of electric car ownership going forward. While it was not a perfect car, the Focus Electric has quite a few charming characteristics that made it a fantastic daily driver and with a little bit of forethought, it became a perfect vehicle for how we live our lives. The ownership experience was largely a positive one, but also not without a few flaws. However, for a first generation electric vehicle, it served us well during its three years in our garage.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Road Trip: Brooklyn

Brooklyn is a part of New York City that, for no particular reason, I have completely managed to ignore for pretty much the entirety of my adult life. No matter how many times I have been to NYC since becoming an adult, my trips have always kept me within Manhattan or, at furthest, Queens. It really wasn't so much of a conscious effort to avoid Brooklyn, but rather the simple reality that I never had a reason to go there. And there is simply so much to do in NYC that unless you are staying for a good stretch of time, it is really easy to not even think about traveling to the other boroughs. But our recent trip to New York this summer gave us our first ever reason to visit Brooklyn and I realized that by having kept to Manhattan, I had missed out on what is a truly thriving and vibrant part of New York City.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Long Term Test: 2007 Honda S2000 post #8

Seven. Seven is the number of years that I have owned my S2000. I have never owned a car longer than I have had my S2000, and I see myself owning it for many more years to come. But in the meantime, has anything new happened with my S2000? Nothing major. With Android Auto now available to use directly through your phone, I have been looking for a proper mount for my phone to use in the car.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Comparison: 2014 Ford Focus Electric vs 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Before we had to return the Focus, it seemed prudent to take a moment to see just how much electric vehicles have progressed in the last three years. When we first acquired the Focus in 2014, it was a competitive, albeit with a few shortcomings, vehicle among the rather small class of available EVs. During that time, we have gotten to see the EV landscape evolve significantly as the cars have gotten a lot more capable and the availability of charging infrastructure has improved dramatically, both in terms of more available Level 2 and both the speed and availability of Level 3 DC fast charging. Comparing our outgoing Focus Electric with our newly acquired Bolt EV allows us the opportunity to really examine just how significant those changes are and what that means for the future of EVs as we see more manufacturers make commitments to joining the EV marketplace.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Long Term Test: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier

So last week, we hinted that big news was in store regarding the Chevy Bolt EV we tested. Despite my many reservations, I decided to attempt a little experiment and set aside my subjective criteria and focus on just the objective criteria in what we needed for a new car. That meant considering the range, the interior space, the performance, the technology, and, most importantly, the price. Given that I still have a deposit on a Model 3 and we are only looking at electric cars, the realistic options narrowed themselves down pretty quickly. Aside from the Model 3 and the Bolt EV, we considered the 2017 Ford Focus Electric, the 2017 VW e-Golf, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, and the 2018 Nissan Leaf 2.0. Each of these had to meet the minimum criteria of being all-electric battery EVs with at least 100 miles of real world range. From there, it became a matter of determining how to weigh the other criteria to come to a decision.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Test Drive: 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier

Walking into this test drive, I really wanted to dislike this car. Having seen the Bolt a few times on the streets, it just never quite looked right to me with the stubby nose and tall hatchback proportions. As a day-one reservation holder of the Tesla Model 3, I did not expect the Bolt to change my mind based on its looks, but as the only other 200+ mile range EV on the market, I thought I owed it to myself to give the competition a go before plunking down any serious money on a car I have not even seen in person. Considering that Hyundai's roll-out of the Ioniq has been a disaster, the VW e-Golf was a no-show despite being announced nearly a year ago, and the Nissan Leaf 2.0 was not likely to make it to market in time for the end of our lease of the Focus Electric, it seemed only logical to take the Bolt for a spin.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Test Drive: 2018 Audi S5 Sportback Prestige

I have a real soft spot for Audi's performance sedans, especially the, S4/RS4 and S7/RS7 so imagine my joy when I found out that Audi is bringing the A5 and S5 Sportback, essentially an 80% sized version of the S7, to the US market. Originally slated to be displayed at last year's LA Auto Show, I was disappointed when it was a no show, but as soon as they started to hit the dealer lots, I took the opportunity to go and check one out, especially as we are looking for a suitable 4-door, 5-seat replacement to our long-term Jaguar F-Type.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Test Ride: 2017 Tempo Carmel e-bike

E-bikes were something I had been relatively skeptical of since I first saw a clunky example while visiting China many years ago. As a road cyclist, the idea of using electrical power to supplement the power put through the pedals seemed like cheating, especially for those long weekend rides. But in recent years, as the technology improved and the the designs became less cumbersome and more sleek, I started to wonder if I was perhaps being a little too narrow-minded in my assessment of e-bikes. After all, not everyone is as fortunate as me to live in a relatively flat area and be in reasonable good health. Why shouldn't everyone have an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of cycling in some way and why wouldn't an e-bike be a good choice for a commute?

Fortunately for me, the opportunity presented itself this year to attend the E-Bike Expo being held at the Long Beach Convention Center, which gave me an opportunity to learn not just about e-bikes, but also to take advantage of the chance to spend some quality time with a very nice e-bike from Tempo, a CA based e-bike manufacturer. In fact, they were kind enough to lend me one of their Carmel model bikes to use for an extended trial, which allowed me to truly experience what living with an e-bike is like. I must admit, life with an e-bike is something that I could get accustomed to.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Long Term Test: 2016 Honda Accord Touring V6 post #2

It has been quite some time since we introduced our 2016 Honda Accord Touring. We have now had the car for about a year, and in that time have learned about some of the car's quirks. In terms of the way the car drives, there is not much to talk about. The car is still comfortable to drive, the V6 continues to accelerate and operate smoothly, and I still continue to get piss poor gas mileage thanks to my horrific daily commute. All of the quirks I have encountered over the year we have had this car have to do with the technology. As with pretty much anything, the more new technology you cram into a car, the more likely it is you are going to run into problems with it.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Road Trip: Hudson River Valley

We awoke to a gray and rainy morning in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, Manhattan's skyline hidden by the threatening clouds in the distance. I was up early and got myself ready for what would likely be a pretty long day. I knew that coffee was in order at some point, but first, I needed to head to Silvercar to grab the Audi A4 that would be our ride for the weekend. Pulling up the Lyft app, I called a car and before long, found myself scanning into a freshly gassed up silver A4 sedan. Pulling out into NYC traffic, I silently mouthed a prayer as I headed back to the hotel to gather seek a place to park the car. To my chagrin, all of the available spaces were taken so I found myself wandering through the neighborhood in search of coffee or parking, whichever would come first.