Amongst those for whom the EV affliction runs deep some truly nutty behavior can be observed. Thus, months before I am even scheduled to take delivery of a Focus Electric I have sat down and read the owners manual. Here are some of the more interesting bits.
Approaching Range Limit To return Home Displays when you have not specified a charge point through the vehicle Mytouch system and vehicle range will soon be less than what is needed to return Home. Your Home address must be specified through the vehicle Mytouch system to enable this feature.
Ford has gone to great lengths to address the range anxiety issue. If you don’t put in a destination it assumes your goal is to roundtrip back to your home starting address and gives a budget to achieve that objective and coaches you along the way to make sure you arrive with no issues. The coaching it provides will make you a more efficient driver in any car.
Buckle Up to Unmute Audio
Displays when a MyKey is in use and Belt-Minder is activated
This may be the most powerful tool ever for getting a stubborn or forgetful teenager to put on a safety belt. Want to blast the latest offering from Lady GaGa? Put that seat belt on first. Clever.
10 years from now when the bloom is off the rose of your EV love affair, and your teen age kid is pestering you for the 100th time to take the Focus Electric out on the town, this feature will give you confidence that if he ends up wrapping it around a tree at least he will be wearing his seat belt.
The Focus Electric has a slew of features that can be activated through a particular MyKey to help control a wayward teen:
• Vehicle speed limit of 80 mph (130 km/h). Visual warnings are displayed followed by an audible tone when vehicle speed has reached 80 mph (130 km/h).
• Vehicle speed warning of 45, 55 or 65 mph (75, 90, or 105 km/h). Visual warnings are displayed followed by an audible tone when the preselected vehicle speed is exceeded.
• Audio system maximum volume of 45%. A message in the audio system is displayed when attempting to exceed the limited volume.
• AdvanceTrac. The system cannot be turned off when Always-on has been set.
On the infotainment side there is a TAG feature that allows you to "tag" songs you hear on the radio for download later through iTunes.
The Focus Electric also features an HD Radio, which I like because there sound quality is excellent and there is a much greater selection and best of all it is FREE! The downside to HD Radio is that tuning is slower. Channel Surfing for that perfect song can take forever with HD Radio. Ford has addressed this issue by using "station blending." First playing the faster tuning analog version, and then switching over to the HD version if available. Sweet.
The debate rages on the forums about the use of the “L” gear on an EV. L provides much heavier regen and has a braking force somewhat equivalent to gearing down in a manual transmission, prompting some to ask if the brake lights shouldn’t come on when using L.
It has been suggested the intended use of L was for descending long down hills, but other owners have fallen in love with being able to drive using only the accelerator pedal. With the exception of heavy stop and go traffic others have suggested that L is not the most efficient way to drive on flat terrain. Those who like the L option insist they can be as efficient, though some like it so much they are probably willing to give up some efficiency for the convenience of one pedal driving.
Ford weighs-in with this from the manual:
• Provides maximum motor braking.
• Is not intended for use under extended or normal driving conditionsand results in less miles per charge.
• The transmission may be shifted into L (Low) at any vehicle speed.
Interestingly they refer to regen as “motor braking.”
Those living in hilly areas will appreciate this feature:
The hill start assist feature makes it easier to pull away when the vehicle ison a slope without the need to use the parking brake. When the hill startassist feature is active, the vehicle will remain stationary on the slope forup to two seconds after you release the brake pedal. During this time, youhave time to move your foot from the brake to the accelerator pedal andpull away. The brakes are released automatically once the motor hasdeveloped sufficient drive to prevent the vehicle from rolling down theslope. This is an advantage when pulling away on a slope; for example froma car park ramp, traffic lights or when reversing uphill into a parking space.
Surprisingly or perhaps not, it does not appear that the technology laden Focus Electric will offer Ford's active parking technology which allows the car to parallel park itself. Guess I'll just have to keep using the method below for my parallel parking needs.