Early Ford Focus Electric Owner is Out of Gas and Loving it

JUN 10 2012 BY WHIT 13


I heard from Ford I am third retail Focus electric customer. One was a Ford employee and the second another retail purchaser that is not where to buy viagra pills interested in being known. Mine is the first in the Carolinas.
I heard only 6 were sold in May and 8 in all.

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I’m a mechanical engineer and have been in the Nuclear Production department of Duke Energy since 1978. I spent a long time working with the emergency diesels, lubricants and diesel fuel and am now in procurement engineering.

Heads Up Display On Energy Usage

I’ve always been a car guy. But rather than an interest in high performance and racing it’s been fuel economy and how big a bite car ownership is on one’s budget. The big thing for me is with gas nearing $4 a gallon and diesel over $4 (it’s coming down now but it will be back soon because there is a precedent for getting it.)
· my diesel pickup truck costs 23 cents a mile to run,
· my diesel Jeep costs 15 cents a mile,
· my neighbor’s very fuel efficient new Hyundai costs 10 cents a mile but
· my Electric Ford Focus is only 2 cents a mile. ($1.60 to charge the battery for 80 miles) (the battery has a 8 year 100,000 mile warranty)

At two cents a mile, going for a ride just for the fun of it is affordable again and there is no air or noise pollution.

Besides all that, it has been fun to learn about house wiring, building codes, charging stations and electric cars. I hope other people will make use of the info I gathered below and see that there is no mystery in it and it’s possible to put their own in.

I don’t expect there to be many electric cars on the road, as not many people can afford one right now.
With the relatively low mileage range it can’t be your only car either, you still need something for long trips.

I think not many people will see the wisdom in limiting the use of crude oil from countries who have as a mission to use every bit of the profit to destroy our democracy, nor from oil from companies who’s profit drive will lead them to start wars in other countries for the purpose of driving up the value of their crude oil reserves.

 

Perhaps Not the Most Ideal Place For Batteries

The Electric Focus is really spunky and handles nimbly and promptly. It is a thrill to drive, handles well, responds promptly to steering and throttle and rides smoothly and comfortably. There is very little maintenance to be done on the electric car. No oil, fuel, air filters to change and even the brakes are longer lasting due to the regenerative braking.

The water cooled batteries seemed an important feature to longer battery life and 3 hour charging adds significantly to the availability of the car. The styling is significantly better than for the other all electric cars.

In August ’11 I studied the National Electric Code, passed the test at Mecklenburg Building Standards and got a building permit to install my own 240 volt Level 2 charging station at my home.
I placed my order for the 2012 Ford Focus Electric with a dealer in New York last February and patiently waited for months. In mid April the dealer sent the VIN. Finally, on May 26th, at the end of a long drive to Long Island, I received My shiny new Focus Electric. (I admit after receiving the VIN for the car, an untold number of passionate E-mails sent to Ford Marketing Management helped expedite delivery.)

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SPX Charging Unit

In a related matter, if anyone is interested.  Here’s how I installed my charging station. It doesn’t seem hard now that I am done:

1) ordered stuff from SPX, wiring, breaker, conduit, electrical box, fittings from Lowes
2) read the installation instructions, contacted county building code dept
3) I had to pass a test on the NEC code to get an electrical permit to do my own work. Studied NEC 2008 for 3 days to take homeowner test to work on own wiring
took 2 hour test,
4) got electrical permit $62.75 for permit
5) made a list of all the major electrical loads on my house to show the service/supply wires and main breakers could handle the new load. See NEC 2008 appendix D. I have a gas hot water heater and heat pump backup furnace. So I only use 77 to 85 of the 100 amp service when the EV charger is included.
6) you want a charging station at 240V and 32 A. An SPX RESIDENTIAL MODEL# EL-50600. There were 4 current settings, 12, 16, 24, & 32 amps at 240V. I chose the 32 amp setting, using a 40 amp breaker and 8/2 NM-B Romex wire.

Total cost was $1069. (got $300 back on Federal Income Taxes)

a) Installed charger box on wall
b) ran #8 THHN inside watertight conduit from breaker panel outside up through soffet to metal electrical box in the attic
c) ran 8/2 NM-B from SPX box in garage through two 2X4 wall caps with 3/4″ drill, stapled to side of stud
inside attic I could only work 2 to 3 hours a day due to heat (6 AM to 8:30)
d) stapled 60′ of NM-B every 4′ or less along trusses being careful not to step off the truss and fall through the ceiling drywall
e) made connection inside steel junction box between the THHN and NM-B using blue wirenuts
f) called building standards to schedule final inspection
inspector walked down the wiring, tightening the junction box ground, marking the white NM-B wire to tell future electricians that it was a phase lead and not the neutral.
g) at the breaker panel he said I should have connected the wires to the breaker and put the breaker inplace but leaving it switched off.
h) He wired the breaker and put it in for me. He switched it on. Nothing started smoking. He signed the inspection sticker and took off.
I) I borrowed a Chevy Volt from work to try out the charging station on. in 45 minutes the Volt went from 27 miles to 34 miles of charge available. Station rated at 32 amps at 240V for Ford Focus electric.
Dad has a home built in the 1960’s when you had electricity so cheap they had electrical resistance wires in the ceiling plaster to give radiant heat. His 2,500 sqft house has 3 large breaker panels. His electrician buddy put in some 6-3 romex NM-B and a 40 amp breaker for me. I got a Schneider MFG Model # : EV2430WS home charging station from E-bay for about $790 . The 6-3 Romex was almost too big and tough to bend into the box, we didn’t use the black lead at all so 1/3 of the wire cost was wasted. Just use 8-2 NM-B for 30 amp Level 2 chargers. Total cost $1090

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13 Comments on "Early Ford Focus Electric Owner is Out of Gas and Loving it"

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Our thanks to Whit for taking the time and sharing his unique/early experience with us!

Whit how do you like the SPX unit vs the Schneider unit? I note that the SPX unit states that using 32amps requires a cable, connnector and plug assembly upgrade. What is the charge for those upgrades?

Also it appears the cable holder is not included, did you order the SPX holder or make your own?
Thanks for the post, congrats on the sweet ride!

The SPX model has 4 current setting , I think 32, 24, 16 and 12 amps. I used 32amps.
When you put it in you have a choice of running the romex directly in to the top of the box or set up a NEMA 6-30 outlet and have a cord/plug come out the top. SPX sent me the plug, but it seemed that you were limited to 24 amps for the NEMA plug.
SPX unit was $870 including shipping, I had $1069 in it total. I got the Schneider on Ebay for $790 and Dad’s electrician $300. So look for deals on Ebay! Then get NM-B 8-2 wire.

I couldn’t pick the SPX over the Schneider. The Schneider has a little sheet metal cable holder. For the SPX I found some wood in the garage that became a useful cable holder. A garden hose holder would do fine.

Can I attach a photo?

Sure email it to me, I’ll put it in

My neighbor who lived in Long Beach, NY rode with me in my 1990 Cummins Powered Dodge. In Long Island I rented a U-Haul auto transport on which the Electric Focus rode to Charlotte.

Tom says he has some:
My name is Thomas Cinelli from Hassett Ford Wantagh New York.
We are the dealership that sold and delivered Whit Gallman his 2012 Ford Electric
Focus this past Saturday (5/26).The good news is that I have four more 2012 Electric
Focus coming in to the dealership the first part of June. I have dealer invoices
in my hand and ready to sell. The colors I have are Ingot Silver, Tuxedo Black,
White Platinum and Oxford White all with Light Stone Leather seats. Please call me
at 516-809-4401 or e-mail me at tcinelli.hassett@gs.reyrey.com to get the deal started.
Thank You

Congrats on the car Whit, and thanks for the write-up. I’m curious to know if you drove a Leaf, if so how you’d compare / contrast the two, and what led you to choose the Focus?

How does the battery warranty compare to the Nissan Leaf? The Leaf has no warranty on gradual loss of capacity, but does cover sudden loss (e.g., failure of one of the cells).

I did give a Leaf a quick spin around a shopping center. I think the Ford water cooled batteries is an important feature for battery longevity. Three hour recharge beats the current Leaf, the DC quick charge really isn’t available. I put 73 miles of charge into the Focus in one hour 59 minutes yesterday. The styling of the Focus is better. I try to buy American cars when possible and Ford didn’t go for a government bail out.
But the Focus has a big battery in the storage area, leaving it very little luggage space. This may not be important for a car with only 80 mile range as it’s not the choice for a long road trip. Rent something for road trips.

Battery warranty is 8 years, 100,000 miles but it probably doesn’t cover slow performance loss. But I think the water cooled battery gives it a better chance of maintaining performance.

Good on you WHit!!! Glad tohear you picked the Ford over the Nissan, and supported North American manufacturing. Ford is building some of the best vehicles in the world today, and should be supported over the Foreign manufacturer’s. I’m a proud Ford owner, and have been for over Fifty years now. Congrats!!

I’m curious why you went with SPX instead of Leviton or Schneider?