Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

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Alan B
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Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by Alan B » Jul 06, 2013 2:38 pm

A friend bought a new Ford Focus Electric car a few months ago, and he recently loaned it to me for a week long test drive. So I left my Borg electric bike at work and used the Focus for daily commuting and as a 'family car' over the weekends and evenings.

The only charging cord I had was the factory supplied 'emergency charging cord' which is always stored in a compartment below the trunk, along with a compressor for the tires. This cord charges at 120V 12 amps or about 1.4 KW. If the battery was completely depleted it would take about 16 hours to charge. More about this later.

This was a very interesting experience, and I want to thank my friend again for providing the opportunity for me to try it out.

I had not planned to do this test, so I didn't have a test plan. I just used the car as much as I could.

I have some photos that I may post later if there is interest.

First off, the Ford has LOTS of power and acceleration. Very nice. I didn't time it, I'm sure you can find that kind of info in reviews already, but suffice to say it felt peppy. Of course you may want to temper the enthusiasm for accelerating hard as it reduces your range, but when that isn't an issue it is quite fun.

The handling was okay, reasonable for a small car. The A/C was very loud on recirculate, but it quiets down fine when temperatures recover. It does warm up in the sun while sitting, even though this model had the light color upholstery.

The windshield is tall and sloping, and the dash is deep, likely for good aerodynamic efficiency. This leads to a lot of dash reflection in the windshield, even though the dash is dark. This can make it somewhat difficult to see in some situations, like looking into the shade while the car is in the sun.

The front seats had good room, and the back seat space was adequate for my adult children though they were not spacious. This is not a problem at all since long trips aren't going to occur in this vehicle.

The range is about 90 miles. Ford has incorporated a complex system for estimating range that is thoroughly integrated with the navigation computer, so it shows the surplus mileage you have after programming in your trip plans, which includes stops and where you will charge it next. This system uses recent performance to estimate future performance, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to know about hills. Essentially when going uphill it will assume that the whole future part of the trip is uphill, so the range drops precipitously. When going downhill the opposite occurs, and the range estimates get unrealistically large.

Overall we never ran out of charge, and the actual results exceeded the initial estimate, so it seems to error on the side of conservatism.

Charging with the 120V charger is a slow process. Most folks who get a vehicle like this will equip their home with a 6kw charging setup so will be able to get a full charge in 3 hours or so. Charging from 120V I frequently started out the day with less than a full charge, there just wasn't enough time after using the vehicle after work to recover.

My commute is 26 miles round trip with lots of vertical and narrow winding roads through the hills. The car handled this just fine and was fun to drive. During the test the weather was unseasonably hot, and the A/C was a welcome feature that is lacking on my ebike. :)

Ford has made a 'game' out of energy recovery during braking. It gives you a 'score' each time you come to a complete stop. It was easy for me to get 98 to 100 percent 'energy recovery' from regen during braking. I usually brake early and gently, and that's all it takes to do well on this, and a readout on the dash does a little 'dance' when you do well.

Enough for now, if you have questions please ask.
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Re: Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by sendler2112 » Jul 06, 2013 4:28 pm

What was your average consumption and average speed? Whrs/ mile or MPGe. I would guess it is somewhere around 340 Whr/mile or 100 MPGe.

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Re: Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by Alan B » Jul 06, 2013 5:49 pm

sendler2112 wrote:What was your average consumption and average speed? Whrs/ mile or MPGe. I would guess it is somewhere around 340 Whr/mile or 100 MPGe.
Great question. I forgot to mention efficiency, I meant to. Thanks.

Going to work was about 350 wh/mi (more uphill). Coming home was about 170 wh/mi. Overall for 350 miles of usage in a week was about 230 wh/mi. I don't know the average speed but would estimate 45 mph. On the freeway I generally did 55-60 for efficiency.

The vehicle's owner indicates he is getting about 225 wh/mi over his 1000 miles of use thus far, and he drives very conservatively and doesn't use the A/C. I think his use has less freeway miles than my week's did.

My work commute is about 50% 55 mph highway and 50% 25-45 mph with very few stops (less than 10 stops in 13 miles). To work has about 1200 feet of climbing, coming home has about 600 feet of climbing.

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Re: Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by sendler2112 » Jul 06, 2013 6:51 pm

That is pretty amazing energy efficiency. That is only onboard efficiency of course. But even if the wall to wheels numbers were 15% less, it would seem that 300 Whr/mile, 115 MPGe could be expected.

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Re: Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by Alan B » Mar 28, 2015 10:36 am

The friend that loaned me his Ford Focus Electric car for a week wrote the following commentary about his choice. These are his opinions, he doesn't sell cars, he's a mechanical engineer who is enthusiastic about his British motorcycles (which he mostly works on and rarely rides) and his electric car. At one point he was going to build an electric bicycle, even before I did, but his project stalled and he has a collection of parts. Hopefully someday he will complete that project and join us here again. He did post this on ES a couple years ago but it was apparently perceived as advertising. Neither he nor I have anything to do with car sales, though my Dad does have some Ford stock which has done quite well for him since the auto industry crashed some years ago.

In some sense we are all advertising when we talk about our favorite items...
enthusiastic new Ford Focus owner wrote:This is addressed to people who are considering buying or leasing a new fully electric car. I have had my Ford Focus Electric since early May, and it does not disappoint! It is a well thought out, practical, and substantial car. Compared to its rivals, it is MUCH better looking, which is important to me. It is really the only EV that is a tasteful mainstream car.

My case for getting a Focus Electric sometime soon is mainly based on two observations about the Ford Motor Company:

First, you will have noticed that Ford is not promoting the Focus Electric at all. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a very, very good car. Regardless of Ford’s corporate strategies, this car appears to have been developed by a small and dedicated team of engineers who believed in what they were doing and produced an excellent product, probably with very little corporate oversight. Others have speculated that the Focus Electric is merely a “niche car”, a “halo car”, or a “compliance car” in Ford’s product strategy, and they may all be right, especially when you look at the huge and thirsty vehicles Ford does promote and produce in quantity. It is very likely that Ford is not prepared to produce the Focus Electric in large numbers, and when demand does exceed the supply, you may not be able to get one !

Second, the Focus Electric really is a nice car. Sensible size, nice stance, clean design, useful features. Whenever Ford has produced a gem like this in the past, it has been an accident. (Think of the original Thunderbirds and Mustangs.) When Ford stumbles on a winner that then attracts corporate attention, they waste no time in ruining it. The next iteration will be bigger and heavier, with lots of pointless embellishments. The clean and tasteful original will instantly become a “classic”, but you won’t be able to get one anymore! You can count on this.

You might also be procrastinating on your EV purchase in expectation of dramatically improved batteries just around the corner. I have talked with several dedicated battery researchers who are working on just such technologies. They all tell me that big breakthroughs are many years away, and that “incremental improvements” in the lithium ion battery are all that can be expected on the market for the foreseeable future.

Right now, Ford is trying to move these cars, and they have recently reduced the MSRP by $4000. They have been offering various financial incentives, and there are government rebates. I found that I could get a 36 month lease arrangement that actually worked out cheaper than outright purchase. Lease comparisons are not easy, but I came up with about $12K for the first 36 months, and another $18K to buy the car after that. This was only about $2K more than a comparably equipped Nissan Leaf . You may do even better.


Bottom line: Get your classic Ford Focus Electric now, and start enjoying it. You can probably hedge your bet with a lease arrangement at no extra cost.

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Re: Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by Alan B » Mar 28, 2015 10:52 am

I found the photos of the vehicle on my cellphone and added one to the first posting.

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Re: Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by Punx0r » Mar 28, 2015 11:53 am

Interesting post - I didn't realise Ford did an EV Focus. I just had a look at availability in the UK: A mere £33,500 ($50,000)!

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Re: Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by Alan B » Mar 28, 2015 2:52 pm

I heard recently that the Ford Focus Electrics were marked way down (compared to the now old quoted numbers above) here in California.

I wonder if there is a saturation of the electric car market in California, there is a required number of electric cars that must be sold/leased. I don't know the details of the regulations, but I wonder if the manufacturers are having trouble selling the requisite number of electric cars here because the pricing is VERY competitive with both manufacturer markdowns and government subsidies. Perhaps in other parts of the world the petroleum industry has the opposite effect on the pricing somehow.

It is a nice small car, the only real issue is loss of trunk space, and of course limited range. Within range it does everything a small car needs to do.

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Re: Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by Alan B » Mar 28, 2015 2:54 pm

I also heard that the Ford Focus EV is a collaboration between a Canadian company and Ford. The electric stuff came from the Canadian company. So it is not so much a Ford development.

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Re: Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by The fingers » Mar 28, 2015 8:17 pm

The ICE version is well-liked in my work fleet.
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Re: Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by Alan B » Mar 28, 2015 9:13 pm

My daughter rented the ICE version recently for a few days. She said the trunk was quite large. One thing that is lost with the battery pack.

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Re: Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by Hillhater » Mar 29, 2015 1:57 am

We have a turbo Diesel Focus which is quite a torquey performer and economical < 6 L/100km (50mpg ?)
But it has a few niggles..
The hatch opening is not as big as it appears,..or as wide as the previous model....and limits the size of items that can be loaded.
Wheels..!
The up range models are fitted with low profile tires & alloy wheels...a bad move I feel
The ride is quite harsh on the low profile 18" wheels...but handling is good
Those same 18" tires do nothing to protect the alloy wheels when parking near curbs in city streets !
All wheels badly scuffed within a few months, expensive to repair or replace and impossible to clean!
..and Ford have severely restricted the wheel lock ( turning circle) for the fat wheels
Ford had a lot of issues with early versions of the 6 speed dual clutch gearbox ...a lot of repair time and cost for some owners..but not ours so far !
That is a big plus for the EV !
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Re: Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by Alan B » Mar 29, 2015 3:28 am

The EV fills the trunk with batteries, not much storage is left, so that is a difficulty if four passengers are carried.

Those thin profile tires are popular here for improved handling, but the roads eat them up, common to ruin the rims on a hole or curb.

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Re: Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by Hillhater » Mar 29, 2015 4:50 pm

Yes , low profile tires are a waste of money (lots of $$$ over "normal" tyres).
3 of the last 4 cars have run had 40 series , 18" tires, and all of those 3 have shown much lower tire life ( damage and wear) compared to the one car with 55 series 17" tires..... And that one is a much more powerful car !
Few drivers ever use the added cornering grip ( and shouldn't on public roads).
But my real niggle is you have to pay extra to have them "optioned off" your new spec car.
They are a "fashion" thing, like tail fins were in the 50's,... And do nothing but make the ride harsher with increased risk of tire damage.
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Re: Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by Alan B » Mar 29, 2015 5:33 pm

Funny how they can charge extra to add them, and then charge extra on top of that to go back to the former more standard setup. Many cars come with special rims and tires so you get locked into very expensive tire replacements.

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Re: Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by The fingers » Mar 29, 2015 8:57 pm

Ah, the old double-whammy! :lol: A few years ago, my friend in Goleta tried to buy a pickup truck stock. The only optional equipment he wanted was a rear bumper and a spare tire. (Just a simple working ranch truck for a bare-bones, confirmed bachelor kind of guy.)
Good luck with that! No dealer stocks those, all they make money on are the mandatory option packages that turn it into a city wheeler with more stuff to break that only the dealer can fix. :roll: He finally got what he wanted after about a couple of months and a lot of shopping around the entire Southern Cali area. :x
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Re: Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by Martin A » Apr 04, 2015 9:51 am

Hillhater wrote:Yes , low profile tires are a waste of money (lots of $$$ over "normal" tyres).
3 of the last 4 cars have run had 40 series , 18" tires, and all of those 3 have shown much lower tire life ( damage and wear) compared to the one car with 55 series 17" tires..... And that one is a much more powerful car !
Few drivers ever use the added cornering grip ( and shouldn't on public roads).
But my real niggle is you have to pay extra to have them "optioned off" your new spec car.
They are a "fashion" thing, like tail fins were in the 50's,... And do nothing but make the ride harsher with increased risk of tire damage.
I hear that tyre companies offer the lower profile tires cheaper than the others to manufacturers, so that they can then make more profits from the more regular resale of the lower profile tires.

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Re: Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by Alan B » Mar 05, 2018 11:32 am

My friend who loaned me his Ford Focus for this 7 day test drive passed away earlier this year from cancer. As so often happens, he was about 20 years too young.

When his Ford Focus lease was up he turned the car in as the buyout price was too high. He found his leaf for sale in Oregon or Washington, I don't remember, but it was too far away and not a great price, so he bought another one more locally at an even better price, and continued to enjoy electric miles. As you can tell by his report on the Focus posted earlier in this thread, he was passionate about electric cars and the Focus in particular, as he felt other electric cars like the Leaf were too weird looking.

His test drive offer may have been one of the factors that caused me to buy a used Nissan Leaf a couple years ago. Coming off lease, a 37K$ 2013 Leaf SL was under 10K$ in 2016, and I drive it for all the short trips which is most of my trips these days. We have other vehicles when more range or capacity is needed. That, and not commuting anymore are the main reasons my ebikes get so few miles of use these days. I often have another person along, and the Leaf is a lot more comfortable than the ebike for most trips. I do miss the bike lane, but I don't miss the near misses of texting drivers whizzing by and into the bike lane.

He gave away his ebike parts when he needed space for other projects and realized that he was not going to complete the by-then old jackshaft design. He was going to do a newer mid drive but never got around to it. He did test drive my Borg ebike at one point, which I have allowed only a very few people to do due to its power.

He had a 7x12 mini lathe, an X3 mill, and was a hobbyist welder. He really liked to do metalwork by hand with a good hacksaw and a set of high quality files. He liked to restore British motorcycles, but rarely ever rode them. We both worked at the same National Laboratory for many years, frequently meeting over lunch to discuss our projects and hobbies. He retired years ago as a mechanical engineer. He made excellent detailed drawings with pencil CAD, preferring that to any computer software. Like most of the mechanical engineers I know, he preferred the Mac to the PC.

His name was William Thur.

He was a good friend.

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Re: Ford Focus Electric 7 day Test Drive

Post by armandd » Mar 18, 2018 11:53 am

Sorry for the loss Alan B :(

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