2012 Ford Focus Electric
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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.
      Iain Fulton
      • 2 Years Ago
      Doubtful.....I'm sure that article will be full of ford bashing. They always seem to be extra hard on th domestic products for some reasons. Oh well...I don't read them anyway.....still won't.
        PeterScott
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Iain Fulton
        You really should work on that. Being sure of the contents of things you haven't read, is definitely a mediocre super power you don't have. I read it, and it isn't full of Ford bashing, in fact there is none at all.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PeterScott
          "if CR rates something down, that you personally like. CR is biased" CR rated the GM-badged Geo considerably lower than the Toyota Corolla, despite being built on the exact same factory line, sharing everything but the badges and a couple trim pieces. It'd be as if CR were to rate the FR-S radically different from the BRZ.
          PeterScott
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PeterScott
          @SVX BS: There was only ever a minor difference in ratings on these cars by CR. Mostly do to interior differences and suspension tuning (sometimes actually favoring the Geo): "This high-rated model and the Toyota Corolla share powertrains, platform, and many body parts, but the Prizm has a firmer ride and sportier handling."......Consumer Reports 1993"
          PeterScott
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PeterScott
          When domestics where **** in the 90's (and they were) people complained that CR was biased against domestics. But domestics improved a lot and for a while Hondas have been lackluster and people complain that CR is biased against Honda. People also complain that CR doesn't give specialty cars enough points for being specialty cars (Ex the Jeep Wrangler is **** as Car, but great off road) gets a low rating. Very lately people complain because CR rates some EVs/Hybrids low. In short if CR rates something down, that you personally like. CR is biased. But in reality CR is the most non biased organization out there. Just about the only one that isn't getting cars/trips/advertising from manufacturers. Regardless of your past perceived biased, you guessed wrong about the articles content.
          Iain Fulton
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PeterScott
          my father has had cr since I was baby....whenever I read their articles I just feel like te domestics get the short end of the stick. While I'm not the biggest fan of domestic vehicles...as I drive a Lexus....a lot are far better than the imports nowadays. That's all I'm saying
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