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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Driving on Energi Continues

I posted a couple weeks back about a Driving on Energi program I'm participating in. Basically, I'm test driving a Ford C Max Energi as part of a Department of Energy program. The C Max Energi is a plug-in hybrid from Ford. Looking back, for a family that already owns two Fords and the Driving on Energi program looking to work with bloggers in the Northeast (we're Boston based), my blog seemed like a great match. What follows are some initial thoughts of driving the vehicle around for close to two weeks now.
First observation in driving an electric vehicle, this thing is quiet. The vehicle starts with the push of a button and you can immediately put it in gear and drive off. I've caught a few people by surprise who weren't paying attention and pulling up right next to them, or backing up in parking lot near them. It is quick to get up and go with it. Just don't accelerate too quickly as the gas engine will kick in if you need too much power quickly.
Second observation, if you're driving an electric vehicle, don't forget to plug it in overnight. While I was able to go the whole first week without using any gas in the vehicle, the first time I totally drained the battery, I forgot to plug it in that night, meaning it was in gas-only mode the next day. Oops. It does plug into a standard 110 outlet, so I didn't have to get anything extra installed in the garage to charge the vehicle. Typical recharge time is about two hours.
After being accustomed to seeing the vehicle showing 999 MPG, it was sad to see it at 34.7 for the gas fueled trip. The average MPG of all my usage so far is showing as over 200 MPG now. It is slowly inching up again as most of the time I'm in EV (electric-only) mode.

Some other observations... 

After driving an SUV, the cargo space in the vehicle is next to nothing. Part of the area in the hatch is taken up by the battery, so you have even less space than you might think. The back seat does fold down (split), so I can carry cargo that way if I need to, but nothing compares to a full-size SUV. Of course, the gas mileage on the SUV is so poor compared to the C Max, especially since the SUV is over ten years old with > 150K miles on it.

I live less than 5 miles from work. Going to and from work with no gas is easy for me. However, with a range of 22 miles off the battery alone, I'm not sure how many other people could do the same thing. Even with charge station access available where I work, is the extra cost of an electric vehicle worth it for only so many miles per day?

I had to get a ChargePoint card to get access to the charging station, at work or otherwise. I would have loved to have thought of ordering this online in advance. It took about a week to get the card. I could still charge the vehicle without the card. I just had to call their 800# and deal with a human. Now, I can just wave my wallet in front of the station to unlock the adapter to plug into the car.

I've used GPS from my phone in the car in the past. This has built in GPS. I like the added speed limit that the display has, and not having to worry about my phone's position to be able to see the map. My son likes watching the map. I'm not sure how long until the novelty of that will wear off. 

First time with Sirius, too. My wife had for 6 months before, but not me. Even for the local radio stations, I like being able to see the artist and song title. My son can see the song titles now instead of asking me and me typically not knowing.

I still haven't tried out the car's auto-parking feature. I like the idea of self-driving vehicles. I'm not sure I'm ready for it with me in the vehicle. I don't want to use it in the middle of traffic for the first time. Will have to see if this gets tested or not.

More trials and tribulations with the Ford C Max Energi to come.

*Read my Disclosure