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