Michael_Patterson
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:35 am

Is It Time To Leave My Leaf?

Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:00 am

Greetings Focus folks!

On September 9th of 2015, I took the ultimate plunge and traded in my 2001 Toyota Corolla CE, in all of its 137,000 mile manual window glory, in for a fully loaded 2012 Nissan Leaf SL with 11,500 miles. So far, the Leaf has been a nice car on the whole but I am beginning to notice some deficiencies. For instance, the sticker-advertised 100 mile driving range is actually closer to 60 miles; the battery is already degrading noticeable; the heater is abysmal; and cargo space is limited. As a result, I have become a bit restless and have decided that now, a bit more than a year into my electric-car experience, it may be the time for a change.

After a copious amount of Internet browsing (and one rather demoralizing visit to a Tesla dealership), I have come to the conclusion that the Ford Focus Electric might be the car for me. However I need to "ask the experts" a few questions before I would be willing to make any decisions.

For reference, I am considering a Focus Electric in the following configuration:


Model
2016 Ford Focus Electric Hatchback, 107 kW Electric Motor, 1-Speed Automatic Transmission

Base MSRP: $29,170
$3,128 Total of Options
$875 Destination Charge
_________________________
$33,173 Total MSRP
-$7,500 Available Incentives
________________________________
$25,673 Net Price

Paint
$395 Ruby Red

Powertrain
107 KW Electric Motor
1-Speed Automatic

Equipment Groups
$0 500A

Exterior
$245 Exterior Protection Package
$0 Rear Spoiler
$370 Car Cover
$0 Perimeter Alarm
$0 Reverse Sensing System
$0 17-Inch Aluminum Wheels
$0 P225/50/R17 Tires

Interior
$0 Light Stone
$0 Dual-Zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (DEATC)
$65 Charge Cord Bag
$0 Sony® Audio System w/9 Speakers
$0 SYNC® 3 with Voice-activated Navigation System
$0 SiriusXM Radio
$995 Leather-Trimmed Bucket Seats

Accessories
$89 Side Window Deflectors
$535 THULE® Removable Roof Rack
$55 Chrome Wheel Lock Kit
$79 AeroSkin™ Hood Protector by Lund®
$275 Pedestrian Alert Kit
$25 Soft-Sided Cargo Cooler Bag


1. Does the Focus travel the full 76 miles the sticker says it can?

2. How fast does the battery degenerate?

3. Does the heater work well?

4. Is cargo space decent?

5. How is interior quality?

6. Are there any major reliability problems with the vehicle?

7. Are there any major design flaws I should be aware of?

jmueller065
Posts: 2397
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:36 am
Location: Southeastern MI
Contact: Website

Re: Is It Time To Leave My Leaf?

Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:40 am

Many of your answers require the answer to a question: Where are you driving it (what State is sufficient)?

(Note My sig says C-Max: I just turned in my Focus Electric lease; thus I have 3 years of experience driving one.)

1. Yes/no: In cold weather when using lots of energy to heat you'll get much less (yes like the Leaf) almost all EV's suffer some range loss in cold weather. In the FFE's case (FFE = Ford Focus Electric) I'd typically get about 50 miles on those really cold days (<0F).
2. That depends on how you use it. There are people on here with no degradation after 30,000 miles (mine was one of those) and there are people with some after 20,000. How deep you go into the battery daily, and how many charge cycles greatly affect degradation.
3. The heater works great but consumes 5+ kW. Depends on your definition of "working well". It really heats up the car but it is "thirsty".
4. Cargo space: Much less than the Leaf. 1/2 of the battery is in the trunk area:
Image
5. Interior quality is identical to any Ford Focus.
6. At this point in time; no most of the major issues (Stop-Safely-Now) have been solved; there may be an occasional vehicle with an odd problem--just like any car.
2018 Cajun Red Chevy Bolt
2016 Magnetic C-Max Energi (lease returned)
2014 Sunset Escape
2014 Thor Axis (V-10)
2013 Focus Electric (lease returned Jan 2016 for the C-Max above)
https://spareelectrons.wordpress.com/

Kakkerlak
Posts: 122
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 7:39 am
Location: Seattle, WA
Contact: Website

Re: Is It Time To Leave My Leaf?

Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:48 am

1. Does the Focus travel the full 76 miles the sticker says it can?

Yes, in the summer my range predictor suggests 82. In the winter (low 40's) it's down to maybe 60 miles, less if you use the heater.

2. How fast does the battery degenerate?

Nobody knows for sure. Ford's thermal management system is a lot better than Nissan's, but there aren't enough FFE on the road undergoing battery degradation for fleet information to be available. I expect Ford's batteries to last through the warranty period without major loss of capacity.

3. Does the heater work well?

Heck yeah ! But the moment you turn it on you lose 10 miles off the guess-o-meter. It's inefficient resistive heat.

4. Is cargo space decent?

No. The battery takes up almost all the trunk space. I can put a laptop bag and two bags of groceries in the trunk, if I squish them.

5. How is interior quality?

Really excellent. Ford threw the "Titanium" trim at the FFE.

6. Are there any major reliability problems with the vehicle?

Unless you get a lemon with a bad wiring harness and get the "Stop Safely Now" fault, no. I spend fifty bucks a year on tire rotation and brake inspection because my lease requires it.

7. Are there any major design flaws I should be aware of?

Ford's electric vehicle problems are executive-driven, not product-related. The FFE is a Magna powertrain shoehorned into a very good, popular, well-balanced chassis.

All those questions being answered, unless you were getting a major discount on this 2016 unit, I wouldn't recommend buying it now.

The 2017 Focus Electric will be available with quick charging and a longer-range battery. After 2018, the Focus production for North America will move to Mexico. I expect Ford to discontinue the FFE and launch a new electric-platform vehicle next year, but that's just based on conjecture and Ford's "fast follower" product development strategy. They get plenty of CARB ZEV credits from their plug-in Energi vehicles, as wimpy as they are.

If I were in your shoes, I would stick with the Nissan if possible until I could buy a second-generation EV like a longer-range FFE, or LEAF, or an IONIQ or eGolf or even a Tesla Model 3.

Personally when my Ford lease is up, I'm going to buy the most beat-up LEAF I can find and drive it into the ground while saving up for a second-generation EV.
2014 Focus Electric Ice Storm Metallic
2012 Kalkhoff Pro Connect Electric Bicycle
http://bigwoo.myevblog.com

michael
Posts: 1113
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:55 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Is It Time To Leave My Leaf?

Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:33 pm

First of all, the only cost option you should consider is the leather seats, and the paint if you like the color. Don't waste money on the cover, charger bag, etc.

Depending on where you live, you may be able to get a significant discount below what your are quoting.


1. Does the Focus travel the full 76 miles the sticker says it can?
Yes, when it's new, in moderate weather, at reasonable speed

2. How fast does the battery degenerate?
My car is at 48,000 miles and the battery is down about 20%

3. Does the heater work well?
It keeps the car warm, at least in moderate Southern California weather, but it is very inefficient, not a heat pump like the newer Leafs. This causes a big hit on winter range

4. Is cargo space decent?
The trunk is small, due to location of the battery, but if you fold down the rear seats it's OK

5. How is interior quality?
Very nice, especially if you go with leather. Well appointed, lots of options included. Things that are options on Tesla are included in the FFE. Only thing that's missing is a Homelink, but you can retrofit that for about $100 if you care.

6. Are there any major reliability problems with the vehicle?
The false alarm stop safely now was resolved long ago. I guess there's a recall campaign on a wiring harness but mine has been trouble free so I've ignored it. Rotate the tires, that's basically it. Essentially maintenance and repair free.

7. Are there any major design flaws I should be aware of?
My biggest objection is to the resistive heater, takes a big bite out of cold weather range. The turning radius isn't too great, but that's minor Brakes are a tiny bit touchy, but you get used to it in a few minutes. Handles well, drives well.

Having said all that, the design is obsolescent. 80 mile class cars are going away. I believe the Bolt and Tesla 3 will set the new standard. As a minimum, 100 mile class cars (which the Focus will be next year) will become the new minimal level.
2013 FFE Returned after 3 years with 52,000 miles and battery down to 15.2 kWh
2014 Volt returned with 43,000 miles
2014 Volt 26,000 miles
1967 Corvette 427
1962 Corvette 327
Awaiting a Bolt

Michael_Patterson
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:35 am

Re: Is It Time To Leave My Leaf?

Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:36 pm

Thank you for your helpful replies! I will take your advice into consideration moving forward.

In response to "jmueller065's" question about the state I will be driving in, I am currently located in Pennsylvania; where temperatures can dip into the zero degree Fahrenheit range. Would this factor make the Focus EV less competitive than the Leaf given the Focus' already shortened range?

I noticed that "Kakkerlak" mentioned that I may better off sticking with the Leaf for now but did venture to recommend some other vehicles that may serve my needs better. While these options may be wonderful for some people, the Volkswagen eGolf and Tesla Model 3 do not offer lease rates that are competitive enough for my taste. What do folks think of the Kia Soul EV and the Chevrolet Spark EV?

jmueller065
Posts: 2397
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:36 am
Location: Southeastern MI
Contact: Website

Re: Is It Time To Leave My Leaf?

Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:03 pm

Michael_Patterson wrote:In response to "jmueller065's" question about the state I will be driving in, I am currently located in Pennsylvania
Then in the depths of the cold winter you could expect around 50 miles of range.
2018 Cajun Red Chevy Bolt
2016 Magnetic C-Max Energi (lease returned)
2014 Sunset Escape
2014 Thor Axis (V-10)
2013 Focus Electric (lease returned Jan 2016 for the C-Max above)
https://spareelectrons.wordpress.com/

michael
Posts: 1113
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:55 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Is It Time To Leave My Leaf?

Wed Mar 02, 2016 6:53 pm

Michael_Patterson wrote:Thank you for your helpful replies! I will take your advice into consideration moving forward.

In response to "jmueller065's" question about the state I will be driving in, I am currently located in Pennsylvania; where temperatures can dip into the zero degree Fahrenheit range. Would this factor make the Focus EV less competitive than the Leaf given the Focus' already shortened range?

I noticed that "Kakkerlak" mentioned that I may better off sticking with the Leaf for now but did venture to recommend some other vehicles that may serve my needs better. While these options may be wonderful for some people, the Volkswagen eGolf and Tesla Model 3 do not offer lease rates that are competitive enough for my taste. What do folks think of the Kia Soul EV and the Chevrolet Spark EV?
The Spark is too small for my taste, and I have to believe it will be withdrawn as soon as the Bolt shows up, Kia has a slightly larger battery than Leaf or Focus, plus it offers a heat pump. It would be worth looking into.

Personally, I'm holding out for a Bolt.

And truthfully, don't rule out a Volt. You will rarely use gas but never ever worry about range or temperature.
2013 FFE Returned after 3 years with 52,000 miles and battery down to 15.2 kWh
2014 Volt returned with 43,000 miles
2014 Volt 26,000 miles
1967 Corvette 427
1962 Corvette 327
Awaiting a Bolt

WattsUp
Posts: 2113
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:58 am
Location: SF Bay Area, CA

Re: Is It Time To Leave My Leaf?

Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:07 pm

Kakkerlak wrote:4. Is cargo space decent?

No. The battery takes up almost all the trunk space. I can put a laptop bag and two bags of groceries in the trunk, if I squish them.
I find this characterization really unfair and misleading. You can get way more than "two bags of groceries and a laptop bag" in the cargo area. Sheesh.

And, it isn't really a "trunk" per se -- I consider the cargo area the entire "hatchback" portion of the car, and it can all be easily utilized depending on the task.

I suppose it is a matter of opinion, but the cargo space in the FFE is most definitely "decent", in spite of the battery.

First, there quite a bit of room on top of the "cargo organizer" for two medium-sized suitcases or carry-on bags (in addition to the two bags of groceries, and more, underneath inside the cargo organizer). You can also prop the top of the cargo organizer flat (with the built-in "legs" for this purpose) so you don't have to "squish" things.

Second, if you remove the "privacy" screen, things get more roomy. You could probably stack at least another carry-on on top of the two already on top of the organizer, plus other items around the sides. (Yes, this would probably obstruct the view out the rear window, but the room is there.)

For even more room, you can also remove the cargo organizer entirely and probably fit more like 5 or 6 bags of (non-squished) groceries in the "well" that is left. The photo in jmueller065's post above shows this well area with the cargo organizer removed (propane tank not included).

Finally, you can also fold the rear seats down. The battery hump isn't going anywhere, but depending on the shape of your cargo, there is a lot of usable room in this configuration. I've made trips to IKEA for non-trivial items this way. You could even get a bike in there (front wheel detached), maybe two.
2013 FFE, Platinum White, Delivered January 2013
2017 MS, Midnight Silver Metallic, Delivered February 2017
Use my referral code (http://ts.la/matt4377) to save $1000 on your next Tesla AND get free unlimited Supercharging!

scottt
Site Moderator
Posts: 332
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:00 am

Re: Is It Time To Leave My Leaf?

Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:35 am

Michael_Patterson wrote: For reference, I am considering a Focus Electric in the following configuration:


Model
2016 Ford Focus Electric Hatchback, 107 kW Electric Motor, 1-Speed Automatic Transmission

Base MSRP: $29,170
$3,128 Total of Options
$875 Destination Charge
_________________________
$33,173 Total MSRP
-$7,500 Available Incentives
________________________________
$25,673 Net Price

Paint
$395 Ruby Red

Exterior
$245 Exterior Protection Package
$0 Rear Spoiler
$370 Car Cover

Interior
$65 Charge Cord Bag
$995 Leather-Trimmed Bucket Seats

Accessories
$89 Side Window Deflectors
$535 THULE® Removable Roof Rack
$55 Chrome Wheel Lock Kit
$79 AeroSkin™ Hood Protector by Lund®
$275 Pedestrian Alert Kit
$25 Soft-Sided Cargo Cooler Bag
Others here have answered the range/heater/cargo questions. Wanted to reiterate a few things said on the financial front.

Please do NOT buy all those accessories from the dealer. For example I got a brand new cover off eBay (yep, genuine Ford cover) for $125.

Second, the price is WAY too high for the car. As an example, my car (after the $7500 federal incentive, no state incentive) after taxes, tags, stupid dealer processing fee, etc was $15,389.99. This was for a brand new 2015 (without leather).

I agree with the others here. Wait for now. There are nice changes (in electric vehicles) around the corner. Also, check your taxes to make sure you pay enough to get the full $7500 back.
2015 Magnetic FFE (aka Magneto) - Retired
2017 Kona Blue FFE (aka King Kona) - Current

FFEFTW
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: Is It Time To Leave My Leaf?

Thu Mar 03, 2016 7:37 am

To add to all the great suggestions above, I'll point out the FFE is a compliance car. Ford *MUST* sell yay many of them to balance the rest of their car sales to satisfy both Federal and CA rules. Because of this, if you are patient and keep your eyes open you will find opportunities to buy FFEs with thousands of additional discounts below invoice price. Especially with the 2017 model coming soon with it's extra features I would not remotely recommend buying a 2016 unless you find a truly crazy good deal on one.

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