[EVDL] Ford Focus Electric is no sports car, but its no slouch either
Controller [programmed] to creep like an automatic (like the old RAV4 EV)
[image] Electrifying ride
STEVE LAGUE, MOTORING EDITOR, The West Australian June 11, 2011,
High-voltage guru: Rob Mason from EV Works with The West Australian new
electrically powered Ford Focus. Bill Hatto, The West Australian]
The first question asked by most people when talking about electric vehicles
"How does it drive?" And you get the feeling they are not expecting a very
There seems to be a general impression that the words "electric vehicle"
to slow and boring. This was reinforced the first night I took The West's
electric vehicle (EV) home and was greeted by my son on the driveway.
As the Focus crept silently up the drive and into the garage, next to the
installed 15-amp power point ready to be recharged for another day of
he was holding his stomach laughing.
As the laughter subsided he said: "I hope you are going to enjoy driving
in that shopping cart for the next month."
It was his way of letting me know that this was a car with no performance
A short drive around the [neighborhood] was enough to wipe the smirk off his
While the Focus is no sports car, it is no slouch either.
It accelerates faster than the petrol-powered model and cruises very
on the freeway or country roads. With all the torque on tap all of the time,
overtaking is an easy [maneuver] and response to any input on the
But it does take some time to get used to the lack of engine noise and EVs
change your driving psyche ...
While you go through the same procedure as a normal car to start it, you
certainly don't get the same feedback.
Replacing the roar of an engine is the sound of silence.
I have had several people jump in, turn the key and then turn it again,
thinking it didn't start first time.
The West Australian's car began life as a manual petrol model so to reverse
you put your foot on the clutch and push the gear lever into reverse. You
lift your foot off the clutch and drive it like an automatic.
The reason for this is an electric motor stops spinning when the car is
so you don't need to engage the clutch to prevent it from moving, or
While this seems simple enough it does take a little time to adjust your
driving habit ... when you accelerate forward. You need to put the car into
gear and take your foot off the clutch before you accelerate.
Depending on how you feel, you can drive the EV like a manual or an
Starting in first will give you stronger acceleration (enough to spin the
wheels) but with all of the torque (200 Newton [meters]) available
it can quite comfortably accelerate away in higher gears.
I found that for automatic driving, third was the best gear because you
still accelerate quite quickly.
While the motor will cope with [traveling] at 100km/h on the freeway in
it does feel more relaxed if you put it into fourth or fifth for prolonged
periods of driving on the freeway or highway.
Once you have mastered these few irregularities, driving the EV is exactly
same as a petrol car.
The biggest pitfall with an aftermarket vehicle such as our Focus is that
lose important safety features like electronic stability control which has
be disconnected because it needs the engine-management system to operate.
You also start to notice different noises, like the air-conditioner or the
heater fan or any other little rattle in the car.
The other big issue for electric vehicles is their range.
The Focus has a range of up to 130km, depending on driving style and what
features - especially the air-conditioner or heater - you are using.
Research shows that the average Australian travels less than 40km per day
means for most of the time you could comfortably complete your daily running
around on one charge.
For me, it was not an issue driving the car to work and home, a round trip
about 40km, and any other running around I needed to do.
But there were a couple of occasions, especially on weekends, when I elected
leave the EV at home because I was not sure if I was going to travel more
Each time I would have been fine.
It is just going to take a little while to gain enough confidence not to
overestimate how far you intend to drive ... But I have not been to the
station for more than a month.
[West Australian Newspapers Limited 2011. All rights reserved.]
View this message in context: http://electric-vehicle-discussion-list.413529.n4.nabble.com/Ford-Focus-Electric-is-no-sports-car-but-its-no-slouch-either-tp3593301p3593301.html
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