Ford Focus Electric Rants and Raves

Ford Focus Rants and Raves

RANTS

After over three years of driving full electric and over 58,000 miles I am still pretty happy with the Focus Electric so before I turned in my lease vehicle I went ahead and purchased a 2013 FFE with 12,000 miles on it.

I did have some service issues with the first one:

The yellow wrench (warning light) was on for about 2 months.

I took it to the dealer I bought it from when the check came on (took it in twice) and they “could pull no codes”. I think they were using the old “star reader” or the car does not store codes? The dealers I have talked to say it does store codes (not sure if they know what they are talking about though). Then I just ignored the light for several weeks because it did not effect the drivability of the car.

Second “Ford Electric dealer” I called said yes but it will take about an hour to pull the stored codes so I took it in and waited. After 4 hours I went to the counter and asked it they had got to it yet (I could see that it was just setting and never moved) they informed me at the counter that the car would need to be “cold cycled” I asked what that was and was informed that it is when they drain the drive battery fully and then recharge it and test drive the vehicle. I said I had never heard of that but had been told on the phone that it would take about an hour to pull the codes. He then stated that the electric cars are so much different than the other cars as far as service. I said thanks I will take it somewhere else and he handed me the keys.

Third Ford dealer closest to my house had been certified electric and called them, I asked how long it would take to pull the codes and was told about 30 min once they get it in. I was out in less than an hour it had a P0AA6-00-0F code and they reprogrammed the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) per TSB 13-09-19. That had already been done once at the dealer I purchased it from some months ago but I did not say anything. I did ask how many focus electrics they have worked on and this was their first. I got the car almost all the way home (15 mi) and the wrench came on again. I called them back the next week and told them it was back on, they said bring it in this afternoon but I could not so we made an appointment for the next week when I could bring it in.

Still this feels like progress… I have noticed that when it rains or the humidity is very high I don’t get a wrench so I am thinking it is a connector problem.

I got it back to the third dealer in the morning and they called that afternoon and informed me that they did not have the $13,000 equipment to diagnose the problem and recommended I take it to another dealer..

So back to square one….

I figured if Ford cannot (will not) fix it then I might as well try myself. I did some searching and read lots of news group articles and it looked like the connector to the TCM (Transmission Control Module) could be the problem. An online service tech said the small HVIL connector in the center of the two large connectors could be the problem.

After pulling the high voltage disconnect and getting the connector loose. He recommended cleaning it and putting some connector grease (conductive grease) on it and sure enough it works. No more yellow wrench!

I found a link to the issue here . Yes I had the cables replaced about one month after I got it. And this is not the “code” pulled from my car but $2 worth of electrical grease/heat sink compound and it is fine now.

Shame shame Ford. If you are going to sell the car you should teach you techs how to service it.

 

My second FFE started having the Charge Battery Now warning light turn on every so often and then after a little more than a day it started coming on all the time. I took it in and they replaced the Inverter free of charge under the 8 year 100000 mile “other electronics warranty”. I did notice that the new one does a much better job of keeping the 12 volt battery charged.

I would also like to change a few things specifically my top 3, the rest are just it would be nice if….

1. ECO Cruise Control for the FFE (our C-Max has it and I love it, it limits the acceleration). The current FFE cruise control will not keep the Cruising Graph from turning black at speeds above 47.

2. Locking charge port connector. The Leaf locks the cord/connector in the plug until charged, nice!

3. Walk-away door locks like the Volt, the car knows when the keys are close to it so it should not be hard to implement.

4. A charging mode that will limit how full you get the battery (I know I can get a notification and I do use that feature often) all it needs to do is quit charging at a percent of full. As it is now when you start to drive with a full charge you do not get any re-gen (it has no where to go since the battery is full) and if you use the brakes at all it will lower you braking average (graph on screen) so to get around it I have MyFordMobile.com web site text me when the car is 95% charged and then I go back into the website and change to value charge and refresh (value charge is set to not start until midnight) or if at home go to the garage and unplug the car.

5. A low 12v battery warning that works. The current one only works when the battery has failed and you cannot start the car.

6. A switch to turn off the silly navigation or at least the screen (the only time I notice it is when it is “rebooting” after it locks up.

7. Fix the MyFordMobile.com web site, the C-Max side seems to work pretty well but the FFE part is just horrible. Ford if you sell the car you should also make the website work, shame shame Ford.

7a. Zen Master only shows cars that have not moved in a month….my car does not sit that long..

7b. The MyFordMobile.com website shows my cars mileage (on the avatar) as starting when the C-Max and FFE sites merged, why would anyone care about that? Why can it not show the total mileage of my vehicle?

7c. Value charge will only work when you set Go Times. I have to change my charging back to Charge Now on the weekends (or set Go Times) other wise it will not charge on the weekends.

8. The FFE AC is very nice and efficient but the heater is a joke what a waste of energy. If I do purchase a used FFE the heater is coming out!

9. Ford should put the Quickclear windshield option of the FFE.

10. I do not like the fact that if I shift into neutral and gain speed to quickly descending a hill if causes the Cruising graph to turn black, I know why they did it that way (cheaper) but I wish they would change it.

11. Adjustable braking re-gen would be nice.

12. What about a “Valet mode” so someone else will not wreck your driving score.

13. A way to customize the Energy History to show the “cup” from the Energy Coach in the Energy History screen. It already shares your “Budget and Status” between the screens so why not keep your energy usage cup also? Like this:

 

I think Ford will not do to much to this car until they start selling more, but if they don’t fix things how will they sell more? From the 2012 model to the 2014 model the only manufacturing changes have been the removal of the Dual Garage Door Opener, they did do a running light wiring fix and a software fix or two (the Stop Safely now and something else….).

I am sure they have done other things in the manufacturing process but until we owners have a larger group they will not be able to hear our complaints so we wait….

Tips:

When you find that the radio will not power on and you do not get audio prompts for navigation: Pull fuse 79 in the passenger side fuse panel (under the glove box, pull the two pins and drop the black paper tray) it is the 15 amp fuse third row from the left and third up from the bottom and reinsert it.

The miles left on the battery will drop when you have the heater (or AC) on but I have noticed that it drops sometimes even using just the fan. If it shows a significant drop (5 miles of more) with just the fan and the temp is set lower that the outside temp and the AC is off then try this: Use the dial to lower and then raise the temp (if it is set to 78 lower it a couple and then set it back to 78). It should let the fan run without the significant drop in miles.

RAVES

The FFE is almost the perfect car for me.

It handles my commute just fine, lots of power (about 189 horse power available instantly and all the way through the top speed of 84 or so). Nice to drive and it does not look like an electric car.

If Ford would just fix some of the small things it would be perfect (for me) but since Ford does not build the cars I don’t know if that will happen.

Questions I am almost always asked about driving electric:

“How much does it cost for electricity to run your car?”

My answer is: Penny’s on the gallon, it costs about $20 per month on our electric bill.

I would easily spend twice that per week with my old GM hybrid at 33mpg.

“How far can it go?”

Over 50,000 miles so far…. About 100 miles on a full charge.

“How to you take a trip / vacation?”

We take the wife’s C-Max Plug-in or we rent a car. My car is for commuting to work and back and errands on the weekends.

“Isn’t that a pretty expensive car for just commuting?”

Not when you figure all the savings like a good Tax rebate, not buying gas, no oil changes plus it is fun to drive. The 20,000 mile maintenance is a tire rotation and replace the cabin filter. So how far do you drive your ICE car on a daily basis?

“What happens when it runs out of battery power?”

It stops…. honestly it is never less than half empty on my current commute. Even if I just charge at home I can still get to work and back and have 20 to 40 miles left on the battery.

You have plenty of warnings before you get to the point of no charge, I know how far I can go at all times so if I need a charge I can just stop along my commute and get one at a Walgreen’s or a Blink charger and shop while I charge.

I have lost power at the parking deck at work for an entire day once and at home for a full day and still had enough power to get where I needed.

“You are not doing the environment any good because you still need to burn fuel to make electricity.”

Yes you are right but Coal, Wind and Solar used to generate electricity are not as bad of polluters as burning Oil / Gas. More than 50% of the energy from burning gas is lost as heat. Electricity is much easier to transport to the end user than Oil / Gas. When was the last time you heard about a Electricity Tanker spilling fuel all over an ocean NEVER. Where do we get most of our Coal? From right here in the USA, no ocean transport needed we also have our own wind and solar power.

“Can you use the battery to run your house in a power outage?”

No it is a very small battery to power the entire house. It holds about as much energy as 3/4 of a gallon of Gasoline but maybe in the future it will have a connector to the house.

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