The Joy And Pain Of Driving Pure Electric
No matter what you think about electric vehicles as of today, The Focus EV will give you a good idea about the capabilities and shortcomings of those vehicles.
At first sight, the Focus Electric is very similar to its gasoline-powered sibling. A 107 kW (143-hp) electric motor drives the front wheels. And that’s it. You do not have a conventional engine that kicks in when battery is depleted, nor a range-extender. Just you, your car and your battery.
The estimated range is 76 miles or 122 kilometers per charge; so you have to use your driving “budget” sparingly.
For the 2017 model, Ford promises a 100-mile (160 km) range which means an improvement of over 30 per cent.
Except the “range anxiety”, you enjoy the well-balanced chassis and the interior comfort of the world’s best-selling compact car. Worth noting are the leather-front (and rear) seats. Another face of reality pops up when you open the trunk: The battery impinges on cargo room.
On The Road
During our one-week drive, I did not attempt to test this car to its range limits, but managed to drive 108 kilometers (in one trip) without any problems, most of it on the highway and between 100 and 120 km/h. To compensate the increased aerodynamic drag at highway speeds, I pulled my foot from the gas pedal watching the regenerative power, but apparently it had limited help. As the driver of a green vehicle, I had the permission to use the HOV lane between Mississauga and Burlington as solo, otherwise, I wouldn’t dare to immerse into the busy evening rush-hour traffic at the QEW and 403.
The upside is the driving pleasure: Unique to EV’s, the torque is instantly and linearly available and as you hit the accelerator, you enjoy the feeling of commanding a sports vehicle, sort of.
The charging time with the standard 120-Volt circuity is around 20 hours. So, you better have a second car, if you plan to take your wife for dinner and opera. Or your plans for the next day’s commute will change wildly.
If you have as to 240-Volt charging facility, a full-charge is possible in less than four hours and this may save you days during your ownership.
Even with this significant improvement for the next model year, this blue-oval faces big challenges. Remember GM’s upcoming Bolt with a promised range of 200 miles doubling the Blue Oval’s promise.
However, do not underestimate this car and Ford, the brand name behind it. The automaker recently announced it’s investing $4.5 billion in battery development over the next few years, with a commitment of bringing no less than 13 new electric vehicle nameplates to its global lineup by 2020.
the Focus EV comes standard with the new SYNC3 enhanced voice recognition communication and entertainment system; this includes a new touchscreen that allows you to swipe to change content in the same way you do with a smartphone. My experience with SYNC3 was very positive.
Obviously, the Focus EV is not a sales champion. This is a car for trailblazers, pioneers or pure environmentalists, who want to experience the early stages of a full-electric car.
And if you have a pretty well-defined daily route between home and work within the humble range of the EV, you will probably love this car.
And with a price tag that may go up well north of 30,000 mark (before provincial and federal incentives), you have to do your math.
Type of vehicle: 5-Door Compact-size Harchback
Engine: 107 kW Electric Motor,
Transmission: 1-speed, automatic transmission
Price (base/as tested): CAD 31,999 / 35.624
Transportation & Handling: CAD 1,600
White Platinum Metallic Tri-Coat: 550, Leather Bucket Seats: 1,000, Exterior Protection Package: 300, charge Door Graphic Tag: 75
Total Price as Tested: 35,624
Article: Varol McKars
Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars
Test vehicle was provided by Ford Canada (via BHG Media Fleet)
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