The first 2012 Ford Focus Electric hatchbacks started trickling into dealerships a couple months ago and the other day, Consumer Reports was finally able to pick up one for its very own. The logistics of that purchase, though, caused the first complaint.

The publication, which buys rather than borrows its long-term test vehicles, hasn't gone out of its way to be kind to "green" vehicles recently. Its coverage of the Honda Civic Hybrid, Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Toyota Prius C and Mitsubishi i all seem to accentuate the negative. (Okay, we understand its frustration with the Fisker Karma that needed to be towed back to the dealer after a couple days, but still.)

That trend seems to continue with CR's latest electrified Focus piece titled, "Our new Ford Focus Electric exposes a challenge in buying an EV." With the EV thus far only available in California, New Jersey, and New York, CR had to make a 100-mile trip to fetch its car. Of course, the car only has an EPA-rated range of 76 miles – the one it purchased showed just 64 available miles when the journey back to Connecticut began – so arrangements were made to aid the return trip in the form of a tow vehicle stationed at the halfway point.

Now, far be it from us to criticize that particular auto-delivery methodology, but would it not have made more sense to have it transported straight to the testing facilities? Or, if the driver wanted to road trip outside the Ford's range, to go whole hog and try the charge-along-the-way experience. The latter would have made for a more interesting story, no doubt.

Despite the whole range situation, the driver did seem to enjoy driving the Focus Electric. Whilst tootling up I-95 at a leisurely 60-miles-per-hour pace – being careful not to to overtax the brand new all-electric's abilities – the driver did, reportedly, stab at the right pedal a bit and found the response more rewarding than that found in its gas-powered variants. We'll see if, when the car begins its formal testing regimen, CR's drivers find reasons to write some positive headlines.


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  • 50 Comments
      mapoftazifosho
      • 2 Years Ago
      Petrol heads hate CR...and now the Greenies are about to hate CR...who is going to buy their stuff?
      toxicpath
      • 2 Years Ago
      And they couldn't have just stopped and charged somewhere for 30 min? Plenty of charging stations in the area.
        JakeY
        • 2 Years Ago
        @toxicpath
        If the premise was to simulate a user's car buying experience (I highly doubt a normal consumer would set up a tow truck along the way.; most likely they would research charging spots in between beforehand) that would have been the more "realistic" option.
          Greg
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JakeY
          No, a more realistic simulation would be the buyer would have the car shipped from the far-away dealerhsip to his home.
        paulwesterberg
        • 2 Years Ago
        @toxicpath
        They only had to go 100 miles and it started with 64 so they only had to charge enough to make 36 additional miles. The Focus EV is supposed to be more efficient than the nissan leaf, but lets use the leafs epa rated 34kWh/100miles to calculate that the focus would need an additional 10.2 kWh. The Focus EV has a 6KW so 2 hours of charging(12kWh) should be enough. So a long meal or a movie would give it enough juice for the rest of the journey.
          Dave R
          • 2 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          @SVX pearlie - Assuming they started with an 80% charge and the 64 miles DTE was accurate (so they could have charged an additional 16 miles immediately) - they really only needed to find a charging station anywhere from mile marker 20 through mile marker 64 before they plugged in. Should not have been hard to find a charging station along 44 miles of highway in that area.
          mapoftazifosho
          • 2 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          Every-time I've bought a car...it came with a full tank of gas...the dealer really couldn't give it a full charge?
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          Presumably, if it were that easy to charge, CR would have done it. Why didn't they? Aren't there EV quick charge stations at every offramp? No? Not like gas cars? And what if someone else is using that station? Or a Coda rep comes by and unplugs it?
          PR
          • 2 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          SVX - Actually, you can charge anywhere between 24 miles into the drive, and 64 miles. You don't have to wait until the battery is dead to add the extra 36 miles worth of charge. If you wait until you are 24 miles into the trip, you will have 40 miles of charge left, and you will need 36 more miles of charge on top of the 24 miles you've already driven. If you plug at that point, you can add 36 more miles to the 40 you already have, and be charged up to the 76 mile range it has when full. You now have 24 miles of your trip behind you, and a full charge to carry you the rest of the 76 miles. (For faster charging, you would want to wait until around 50 miles into the trip. That way you wouldn't need to charge much more than 80%. Or charge for even shorter times twice anywhere between 20 miles and 80 miles into the trip. There is no rule you only have to charge one time).
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          That assumes there's a 6kW charger conveniently located exactly 64 miles from the dealer, and there are no losses due to traffic, weather, etc.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @toxicpath
        If they pretty much completely deplete the battery, it'd be a lot longer than 30 min to charge. Probably 4 hours to get enough to get home.
      RC
      • 2 Years Ago
      CR is all about the fame, they write headlines to sell.
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you actually read the CR article, the only complaining/sensationalism seems to be on the part of ABG. CR doesn't plan to do their testing until they have some break-in miles under it's belt. Driving back as far as they can gets a start on those miles and lets them have some early first impressions on from that part of the trip. Sticking it on a truck the whole way would do nothing for them.
      Actionable Mango
      • 2 Years Ago
      It boggles the mind that cars are being painted in seafoam green again.
        Marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        Actionable Mango It's a special request from a certain party in Denmark !
      Jesse Gurr
      • 2 Years Ago
      "As I approached my destination with 27 miles left on the range meter, I tipped into the throttle a little more and reveled in the car's immediate power delivery and decisive launch. " They had the tow truck set up about halfway, so about 50 miles from the dealer. They started with 64 miles left, and after about 50 miles they had 27 to go for a total of 77. Not too shabby. Granted they were doing 60 on the freeway, not breakneck speed, but decent. If they had a full charge, maybe they could have made it all the way there. Maybe? Now no one will know. They would have only had to charge another 23 miles instead of the 36 they thought they had to.
      toxicpath
      • 2 Years Ago
      And they couldn't have just stopped and charged somewhere for 30 min? Plenty of charging stations in the area.
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      Made for a more interesting story? Maybe. But CR's primary purpose isn't to write an interesting story. If they don't have all day to drive a car back from a place, then they don't. Kind of interesting that an article that complains CR has gone out of its way to complain about EVs goes out of its way to criticize CR.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        I'm pretty sure the cost of hiring a tow truck exceeds the cost of giving a guy a 4 lunch break to stop & charge up.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Spec, are you the office manager? No. Okay great. You don't know what other things the writer has slated for that day. He may have to drive another car, he may have a meeting with his boss. There's a reason you hire janitors instead of having your other workers do the job, you know.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Time and money are not directly interchangeable it turns out. No matter how much the tow truck costs it doesn't consume your writers' time for them to wait.
          paulwesterberg
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Last time I got my car towed 40 miles, 10 years ago, it cost me $300.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          A 40 mile tow? It's gonna be well over $100, so it's not obviously more if they writer only makes $25/hr.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          @paul, this is an arranged tow, so CR was probably able to price shop for a slightly better rate. That said, this is still metro NYC, and there's 10 years of inflation. Of course, if CR had a HD pickup and a tow dolly, they'd be golden...
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Well . . . call me crazy but I'm pretty sure the writer could still write during that time. We have these things called 'notebook computers' and 'the internet'.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        CR has a legitimate complaint that the FFE isn't available in suburban NYC (i.e. CT), much less nationally. I'm not even sure how Ford is going to get away from this. Federal laws will require them to support the car post sale for the next 15-20 years.
          Austin Too
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Ford began its Focus Electric retail rollout in May/June 2012. As was reported previously, Ford has indicated they will begin with certified dealers in 3 states (New York, New Jersey, California) but by year-end 2012 will market the FFE in all 50 states and Canada. See this article: http://green.autoblog.com/2012/05/01/ford-taps-its-first-67-dealers-for-focus-electric-sales/ FFE can be purchsed or leased. Of course Ford will support these vehicle post sale; why is that even an issue??
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Indeed, it's better than Honda - at least Ford sold the car.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          At least they're trying. I may not be a huge fan of this factory conversion, but at least Ford is selling it unlike BMW, Honda, etc.
      SVX pearlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      Clearly, the smart plan is to fully deplete the battery of your brand new EV, *TWICE*. That's the way to get maximum battery longevity, right, Dave?
      Dave R
      • 2 Years Ago
      You don't need to charge all the way back to full - just enough to make it to your next charging station. Which would have taken less than 2 hours. Stop spreading FUD when you don't understand what you're talking about.
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yup, they should have found a charging station and written about that experience.
      Eideard
      • 2 Years Ago
      CR is about as committed to rational testing and ethical analysis as Greenpeace. Which means - not at all.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Eideard
        Why should CR lower their standards for an EV? EVs *do* have limitations, and it's perfectly legitimate for CR to expose them. Chief risk is long range, every EV driver knows this, and extreme depletion can have catastrophic results. Look at the Tesla bricks if you don't believe me. If Ford is buying the car, they reasonably expect to drive the car off the lot. If the car might not make it home, then they should arrange a tow, which is what they did. Nothing wrong with that. CR does its readers more of a service by clearly highlighting those differences, shortcomings, and weaknesses so that potential buyers may be better informed as to what might happen. An informed consumer will make better decisions, and ultimately, will buy an EV (or not), based on it's true merits. Those that do, will be at less risk of negative surprises, and better able to focus on the positives. Look at the Nissan Leaf as the poster child here. There are roughly 400 Nissan Leaf drivers in the Phoenix launch city. Would they have bought the Leaf had they known that Nissan cut corners by not including active TMS, Nissan battery "warranty" did not cover loss of capacity, or that losing 20+% battery capacity within the first 18 months was Nissan "normal"? The EVtard mantra that "gas is evil" and all flaws must be whitewashed is extremely shortsighted, doing far more harm than good in the long run.
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Some people think it is the god given right for the oil economy to extract 400 dollars per month of troglodyte consumers of pollution machines that can't begin to contemplate pulling their heads out of their gas. All you gas drivers should be charged 10 extra dollars at the pump to pay for New Orleans to be rebuilt after the next flood, then NY city, then parts of Florida, etc... SVX, I laugh at you applauding like a seal for oil. Oil is evil and is doing less and less good as time goes by. The ignorance of the public is astounding. CR contributes to it when ever possible. 40k EV miles in 3 and 1/4 years of driving. Yea, EV's clearly don't work. Great job Ford. Way to sell your 70 mile range EV for 40k dollars. My EV was built for around 40k dollars, only it goes 145 miles and it was built 4 years ago. 4 years go by and this is the best Ford can do? Ford clearly does not want EV's to succeed. I expected more from Nissan as well but at least Nissan says they are going to mass produce. Of course all ICE producers can stop EV production anytime they want and switch to ICE production with ease. Tesla is the only mass producer that can not. SVX loves contributing to the national trade deficit, he loves polluting, loves idling and getting no where, loves those oil changes, loves himself that 20% efficient pollution machine. All gas driver should be cited for pollution and waste of natural resources. Wasteful, wasteful people, just love paying through the nose to pollute. Ignorance and fear is what SVX is all about. Isn't it funny, the only people that have a problem with EV's are the people that don't drive them.
          krona2k
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Yes it was surprising, and disappointing, to me whe I found out that the LEAF warranty covers nothing about capacity only that it will provide enough power to propell the car. To be honest I thought that Nissan knew that in a small number of cases they might have issues but given how cheap their batteries are they would just cover it. I think Nissan will have to cover these issues even if they're not obliged to, they need to show they're serious about supporting EVs as those that have bought the LEAF have shown they are.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          @Ford, the question is how easy it will be to identify the specific bad cells, and then to replace them individually.
          Vlad
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Even though I'm not in the Phoenix area, and I didn't know of any coming pitfalls, I fully expected something unpleasant to surface. That's why I leased my Leaf. Lease is an expensive insurance - but with a new technology not having an insurance may be more expensive.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          And EVhero grabs the "Retard of the Day" award! I'm totally OK with EVs, and I expect them to succeed (or fail) based on their merits. I don't believe that EVs should get a pass when there are actual, real-world differences and the EV comes up short. Like it or not, ICE vehicles are *very* highly refined and keep getting better - it's not a conspiracy, it's simply good engineering. EVs aren't magical machines that kill an Arab every time you press the starter. (And don't you dare pretend there isn't a metric f-ton of barely coded anti-Arab racism in the whole "oil is evil" mantra). If I didn't actually enjoy the mechanical "feel" of driving, I'd probably be driving an EV appliance today. Of course, if I did that, then I'd probably be lumped in with self-righteous a-holes like you, and that's something I'm even more uncomfortable with. If you want a recognition of both strengths and weakness as some sort of "FUD", then you're totally f-ing retarded and poster child for EV-tard of the day.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Good point, SVX. Much better thought out than the douchebag rant from EV below (or above considering where this comment will ultimately wind up).
          Ford Future
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Typically, the whole battery doesn't need to be replaced, just a few cells. I'd hope Nissan covers it as well.
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          @ EVSUPERHERO Look buddy, it's not often I agree with SVX pearlie , but your latest rant just didn't make sense on so many levels. I have always admired and applauded your EV passion. Including the fact that you practice what you preach. However, moderation is important. Not everyone shares you passion to the same degree. Name calling and philosophic extremism, is not helpful to the cause of EV adoption. In fact as SVX pearlie points out, creates a very negative reaction.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          @krona - warranting Amp draw vs kWh is pretty weak, given that kWh = range, which is pretty much the entire point of the car. I think Nissan will be forced to cover the batteries, eventually. But if I were down 25-30%, and looking like -40-50% before things worked their way through whatever process and resolution, I'd be really mad about the whole thing.
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