Thursday, July 5, 2012

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"...

The Level 2 charger—which I spent the better part of an hour to fix while under the hot July 4th sun!—did not charge my Focus!

Inspecting the car before I went to bed at midnight (and when "value charging" was set to happen), it didn't appear to be charging. And my Web browser's connection to the MyFordFocus site confirmed the car wasn't getting any juice.

A quick inspection of the inside of my Clipper Creek EVCS before I left for work revealed the true culprit: ME! I had inadvertently confused the cable's grounding and power wires, which prevented the EVCS from doing its job. D'oh!

Thankfully, no harm was done to the CS-40 (I think) or to my Focus (it's charging fine at work) or to the home's electric panel. (Trust me, you and I would've heard the "new electric car causes serious NY house fire.... Details at 11!" news!) But this reminds me of three very important facts:
  1. There are some great "safeguards" built into the equipment used in charging an electric vehicle—at least in the Clipper Creek CS-40 and in the Focus Electric!
  2. Unless you're a licensed (and preferably "seasoned") electrician and/or an EV specialist, you should stay out of an EVCS!!!
  3. I'm no electrician (or "handyman") since I made such a "rookie" mistake! (Note to self: See point No. 2!)

The Good

At 53 miles range showing on my Focus Electric, I had enough battery power to make it to work this morning even though I didn't recharge last night. And if I couldn't charge at work, I could probably make it back home later. If I employed all my hypermiling techniques. Probably.

Still, the morning commute was good. The car is amazingly quiet. At the "leisurely" (and legally responsible) speed limit of 55 MPH, all I could hear during my highway stretches was a very soft whistle of wind and very low hum of tire on blacktop. No engine growl or clunk of an automatic transmission setup.

Just a very small amount of noise that is easily drowned out by the static-free music from the car's standard high-def (HD) Sony radio and six speakers or by the soft artificial female voice of the built-in GPS nav system.

With very little post-holiday road traffic to contend with, I really felt like I was gliding in a very luxious, high-tech "starship."

Life is good.

And it'll get even better when I properly rewire my level 2 charger at home tonight!

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