Saturday, June 30, 2012

And away we go...

On Friday 22 June 2012, I did something I have never done before in my entire 44+ years of life.

I bought a Ford Focus—an all-electric, battery-powered Ford Focus.

One of the amazing thing about this car—which I leased for three years rather than bought to own outright—is indeed the fact that it does NOT use a single drop of gasoline. But I was previously one of 500 "pioneers" for BMW/Mini and drove an all-electric Mini Cooper for a year. So, as a pioneering techie, an all-electric is nothing terribly exciting to me. (Exciting, yes. But not completely earth-shattering!)

This 2012 Ford Focus Electric is MINE!
Or, at least it's mine for three years!

But what really got to me? The Focus Electric is a high-tech American car (with European chassis development!), made by American workers (Motown, represent!) working for an America-based company, that uses electricity made by an American power company. (Go ConEd! ;-))

This is important to me for several reasons. (And hopefully, I'll get into more about those reasons in future posts.) But one of the primary reasons: I fully believe this kind of technology is good for the nation, the nation's car industry, and me. And, I'm putting my money where my mouth is.

My "old-faithful" CR-V weathering a classic NYC snow storm
You see, I've been a foreign car person pretty much all my life. In fact, my current car—a '97 Honda CR-V—is about to hit 200,000 miles and still going strong—despite seeing me through my tumultuous 30s! ;-) And I could've gone with my initial plan to buy an all-electric Nissan Leaf, which has been heavily-marketed to "tree-huggers" primarily and geeks (like me) secondarily. But technically, it's not that much an improvement over the limited electric Mini Cooper I drove back in 2008. (I've test driven the Leaf and even had an initial $100 deposit on one back in 2010! More on that in some future post.)

Then along comes this American car company—a pioneer, back in the day—that is making a battery electric vehicle (BEV) that, in my opinion, could ultimate help on so many levels. So, can this car help put a truly iconic car company back on the map of global makers? Does it deserve true American consideration and put this country back on track?

And so begins the "grand" experiment for me personally. Can an American car company produce a pure electric (and therefore very fuel-efficient) car that could rival—or even beat—an import like Nissan's Leaf? (Props to them, by the way, for having the corporate gumption to commit to the idea that all-electric cars will be a part of its line-up of global consumer vehicles!)

The 20-page "quick reference" guide to the Focus Electric.
I'm still reading the 380-page(!) owner's manual for the Ford Focus Electric and haven't really driven it far—nowhere near its 78-mile range between charges! But based on my short drives so far (about 40 miles maybe?), I can tell you that the car is indeed a winner in my book. (And there are certain areas, I believe, that the Focus Electric has the Nissan Leaf beat hands down.)

Still, I have many days and commuting road trips—three years' worth, if all goes well!—to make further discoveries and help in my evaluation. And this bit of personal backgrounder (i.e. I'm not a "greenie" but a "geeky techie!") gives you some sense of how I'm judging this car. But, if there's anything you want to know or think I should consider about this car or EVs in general, well... Won't you join me on this journey?

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