Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hot times in a cool car

(Image: WikiCommons)
So, we're in the middle of a heat wave in NYC.

I hate heat.

I don't like the 90-degree (Fahrenheit) temperatures and high-humidity weather. And I definitely don't like exerting myself in this hot environment!! (Sweat! Ewww!)

And neither does my car.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Passing the first milestones

Happy Friday the 13th!!! I don't suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia, but I do note that today and yesterday were monumental days for me and my Ford Focus Electric—in good ways!

Milestone One: Passing the 500!

From one of the many info screens on the Focus' dashboard.
(Sorry for the morning sun glare!)
It's been three weeks since I've officially taken ownership of the car. And in those short 3 weeks (one of which was the July 4 vacation week!), I've traveled over 500 miles! While the first 50 or so were on the odometer already (a lot of test driving on the Michigan track before delivery to the dealer?), I've personally logged over 500 miles— most from my daily commute.

Needless to say, the car is still running smooth and very quiet! I have to become reacquainted to the fact that walkers in shopping parking lots do not hear me approaching as I hunt for a spot for the FFE. Thankfully, there's plenty of other traffic noise (so why do folks want to make electric cars noisy again?) and I get to act less like a typical New Yorker driver. (BTW: The Focus' horn produces a deep and loud tone, thank you very much! ;-))

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Everything old and new

I talked to the folks at Clipper Creek yesterday. They say the humming noise from my charger "should be normal" given the 3 year age of the device.

Still, the guy said I might want to open up the box (carefully, of course) and push the "test" button a few times. Apparently, that causes the "connector" in the box to activate, as if I wanted to send 240 volts of electricity at 32 amps to charge the car.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Smooth buzz

The battery gauge on the right said I arrived with 55-miles to spare.
Well, I rewired my Level 2 charger after I got home yesterday. Seems to be working fine... Except there is a slight buzzing noise when I plug it into the car and start thre charging process.

Still, it did juice my Focus Electric completely. And according to the MyFordMobile website, the car was ready to go a full 73 miles by 2AM. (This is the Microsoft "Value Charging" system managed online, which still needs some work, IMHO, despite winning "awards" at CES.) But when I got into the car thus morning, the display said it had a full charge of just 66 miles!!

I wonder if "preconditioning" the car to 70-degrees (while the muggy ambient temperature this morning was 75-degrees) had anything to do with it?

Guess I'm going to have to call Clipper Creek. :(

But I still made it to work with more than enough power to spare—nd in a mere 40-minutes rather than the usual hour commute time.

Man, I am gonna love summer "traffic." :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My slow and pokey electric car

(Image: Wikipedia)
So,  I'm in the right-most (i.e.: the slowest speed) lane of a two-lane stretch of highway this morning. That's where all "slow" cars—especially battery-powered, electric-only ones, right? Never mind that I  just want to safely savor the luxury of my Focus Electric's leather interior and high-tech gizmos without getting in the way of all the "fast movers" and other vehicles "in a hurry." (Me? It's called "rush hour" but sometimes I just don't have the desire to get—or try to get—to work at light-speed!)

Anyway, directly in front of me in the right lane is a slower van. (I've got my cruise control set to 55 MPH and I'm catching up to you? Seriously?)

The good and the bad of this morning

Today was my first actual drive to actual work under "normal real world" circumstances. That is, if you can consider commuting on the New York City roads "normal"—especially after the July Fourth holiday and fireworks show from Grucci (sponsored by Macy's).

As such, this "first drive" for me is a mix of news that is good and bad (well... Maybe "not so good") and (to me) beautiful.

First the "bad"...

"Free" ride

I started out from my home to get to work with just a 53-mile range on my Ford Focus Electric (FFE) this morning. There's a bit of a story why I couldn't charge at home last night—despite "fixing" my 240-volt EVCS during yesterday's holiday heat. (There's a longer post about that in the works!)

Anyway, as from my last post, I plugged into my company's outdoor 120-volt outlet and used the FFE's included Level 1 portable charger.

My first morning commute to work

So, the morning trip is just under 30 miles. You can't see the right of the dashboard display because of sun glare, but it says I have a 30 mile range left if I don't charge.

While that's enough reserved power to get me home, you can bet I'm going to be charging from the company parking lot while I work today. :(

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Charging toward independence (of gas)

The 240-volt charger for my old Mini-E.
Happy Fourth of July!

Given the day off, I've decided to tackle the issue of charging my Ford Focus Electric at home. And thankfully, it's not that much of a chore!

You see, as a BMW Mini-E Cooper electric pioneer back in 2009 I've had a 240-volt charger already! As part of the program, BMW had an electrician come in, inspect my home's main electric panel (to see if it could handle the load of 240-volts at 40 amps!), and arrange for all the paperwork with the city of New York.

And although I have a (detached) garage, BMW had the certified electrician to come, run the (maximum of) 30-feet of wire from my panel to the outside side of my house next to the driveway and install the Clipper Creek CS-40 electric vehicle charging station (EVCS)—for free! That's a savings of over $1,750, folks! (Although many will contest that "free" meant paying an exorbitantly high monthly lease price for BMW's experimental car!)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

First Impressions of the Ford Focus Electric

(Image: Courtesy of Ford's press site)
I had a chance to take my Ford Focus Electric on a short trip to work—a "trial run" of my daily commute. The test run was done for a number of reason, including the fact that there's a 240-volt charger which I've still got to "fix" at my house. (More on that later.) But the short, one-way drive (30 miles) on a Saturday—and some even shorter drives around the office—gave (and cemented) some initial impressions of my new Ford.

They are: