Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Long Term Test: 2014 Ford Focus Electric post #3

Update #3
Current mileage: 7,523
Average MPGe: 114

A big part of EV ownership, especially of one if these first generation cars, is a need for planning ahead. Some people feel that is a huge limitation as they want the freedom to just jump in their car and drive anytime they want. I freely admit that I am still one of those people at heart, but a super busy schedule lately in conjunction with a number of personal obligations means I get to do that less and less. Add to that the fact that being in Southern California means I have the flexibility to hop on my motorcycle any time to satisfy my wanderlust and on warmer days, I can always take my bicycles out as well. Luckily for us, since my wife and I share a car, we are always planning our car use anyway, which means we are planning things out well in advance anyhow. That is not to say that we have not run into some slightly hairy situations.

Of course, our lifestyle and choice of residency location allows us to take full advantage of an EV. In the 13 months we have owned the car, we have encountered only one trip that we could not complete in the EV, and it was a longer road trip where we brought our bicycles along. Otherwise, getting around town has largely been problem free, although not totally range anxiety free. There has been one incident where we were holding our breath, hoping not to run out of juice. Luckily, we made it, if just barely. Fortunately, the public charging network in Southern California is quite good and relatively plentiful, so sometimes if a top-off is needed, it is usually possible to find a place to plug in for a bit. Some of the chargers are not in the most fun places, but that's when a good old-fashioned nap is the best choice.

During these first 13 months, the little silver hatch has already suffered some indignities to its pristine condition. Traveling anywhere away from home means things like door dings are inevitable, Aside from that, though, there was one incident that was the result of an inattentive driver rear-ending the car on the freeway in bumper-to-bumper traffic and another involving a low retaining wall. The resulting damage in both incidents was rather surprisingly pricey to fix. Fortunately, everything is fully repaired and there seem to be no ill effects resulting from the incidents.

In the meantime, the car continues to drive well and I am still regularly surprised by how dramatic a difference it is going from the EV into a regular car. The low-end torque and nearly silent travel are definitely going to be hard to give up to go back to gasoline. That and the 114 mpg equivalent.