Thursday, June 26, 2014

2014 Ford Focus Electric

I'm a huge fan of the Focus Electric from Ford.  Its the first small electric car that doesn't look like some sort of freak mobile and actually drives really great.  Range anxiety...I do well with it and easily drove 10 miles on reported only 3 miles of juice. Go figure, but I'm a good hyper miler and know very well how to use regen braking so I always score 100% or damn close.

Of course I'm not the only one enamored with the Focus EV.  Local AAA publication called it the "Tesla of small electrics" giving a nod to all of its tech goodies, premium fit and finish and driving.  Not bad accolades for the car.

The latest iteration of the venerable Focus Electric isn't much different than what launched over a year ago.  Its still got a decent 110MPE city and 99mpe highway rating.  The car has the same 130hp motor backed up by a 23kwh lithium ion battery.  The horsepower may not seem like much, but that 181 ft lbs of torque available the second the go pedal is pressed makes it seem like a much more powerful motor than the stock gasser.

Driving it isn't that much different than the traditional Focus.  It rides a bit smoother and quieter without the engine and tranny noises.  Its so quiet that you really have to watch your speed as the sound insulation is so good you really don't know how fast you are going without glancing at the speedo.  Often.

The Focus EV is fitted with virtually every goody Ford threw at the Focus option list as standard.  Nice, comfy power leather seats, a very capable version of MyFordTouch with apps aimed at the Focus for your iphone to make it even more user friendly.

This year Ford took the bold move and cut the price 5K from last year.  The list is now $35,170.  Deduct off the fed tax credit of 7.5K and the states 2.5K and you suddenly have it down in price to a very nicely optioned out gasser.  Except you charge at home and avoid the lines at the gas station.  Its also only a few bucks a charge if you negotiate with your local power company for the cheap rate at night or have your own solar system.  Nice move Ford, where was that when I was looking seriously at the Focus EV 18 months ago?

The big thing to consider when getting an EV is your daily needs and compare it to the range of the EV you are looking at.  For me the Focus EV would fill easily 95% of my given driving any month. Most trips are short and local.  Only once a month do a I do a massive Costco run where the limited luggage and interior room would be a problem.  Yup, batteries eat up a lot of space in the cargo area and floors of these cars.

Another thing to look at is the cost of converting your garage to handle the charging of the Focus EV.  For me with a detached garage and city requirements for 220v lines under ground the cost was nearly 10K which wiped out the chance of ever breaking even  with the cost of operation over the basic gasser.  Charging if you work with local utilities can be as low as base rate of 15Cents kwh when done at night.  That sure is a big savings over their peak rate of 34cents kwh if you charge doing the day and go into Tier 4.

I still want one.  Just can't justify it with the costs of wiring the garage as It would take years to break even.  Others who aren't worried about breaking even and more concerned with the environment, your car is waiting for you.