Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is Ford headed in the right track?

Ford's Impressive Sustainability Strategy

In Andrew Winston's piece, linked above, he argues that Ford may be too late to the EV game and wonders if the automaker has the commitment to see its lofty goals through.  I, for one, wish Ford all the best in this venture, as I do General Motors with the Chevrolet Volt, and look forward to seeing where Ford takes its Focus Electric and Plug-In Hybrids, Transit Connect Electric and C-Max Energi lines.  But for me, it's more a question if whether Nissan is too little, too late.

Clearly, I've been blogging a lot recently about the Focus Electric here — and am due to post my CES report someday — but I once wrote a pro and con evaluation of the Focus Electric on the MyNissanLEAF forum where I said I'd pay as much as $3,000 for the 6.6kW charger — again, search my blog and my posts on the MyNissanLEAF forum to see how much I gripe about the LEAF not having a 6.6kW or 7.2kW charger and also the missing Cold Weather Package trim — but man, the trunk space is a joke!  I don't mind too much in a commuter car, as my future-EV is so designated, but it makes Costco runs almost impossible since the back seat is typically already filled when I take the Avalon.  And I know folks in the semi-conductor industry that do not have positive impressions of what Ford is attempting, especially with respect to BMS (Battery Management System).

Would I get a Focus EV?

Well, if Nissan keeps pushing back the LEAF roll-out in the Washington, D.C. region, and the Focus Electric is supposed to go on sale here at the end of the year for the 2012 model, then heck, yeah, I'll consider it.  You can only poke us Tier 2 states in the eye so much.  If I had the money, I'd get a Tesla Model S 300-mi edition, but IMHO it's gonna sell for $77,000 and that's well too much to swallow!  So I'm still in the LEAF camp but keeping my options opened.  In 2010 we had only 1 choice: the 40 mi-on-EV PHEV Chevrolet Volt.  This year, we may have as many as 4 choices, including the recently available for leasing Smart Electric.  Maybe even more if the Plug-in Prius makes its debut in the 2012 series as planned.  Perhaps the Coda or BYD may finally get their acts together (but don't get me started on those Chinese cars), or any number of surprises that may come our way in 2011.

We live in interesting times, my friends.  Interesting times.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The 2011 Washington D.C. Auto Show

The Washington Auto Show is back again and this year, and this time I'm not just a gawker, I'm a staffer!  That's to say, I'll be helping out my friends at the EVA/DC to get the message out about the virtues of driving electric!  The show will be at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC and opened to the public starting Friday, January 2011.  It'll be 10 days of great cars, many of whom are battery-electric (BEV) or plug-in hybrids (PHEV), wonderful and exciting displays — including the EVA/DC Electric Vehicle booth — and your chance to meet me in person!  The show will finally close its doors at 18:00 on Sunday, 6 February 2011 so don't delay.  Tickets are $12 for adults; $5 for adolescents and tweens (6-12) and free for the babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers.  The specific hours the show will be opened are as follows:

Public Days: January 28 - February 6, 2011

Show Hours: (No entry 1 hour prior to show closing)

Friday, Jan. 28 (noon – 10 pm)
Saturday, Jan. 29 (10 am – 10 pm)
Sunday, Jan. 30 (10 am – 7 pm)
Monday, Jan. 31 – Thursday, Feb. 3 (noon – 9 pm)
Friday, Feb. 4 (noon – 10 pm)
Saturday, Feb. 5 (10 am – 10 pm)
Sunday, Feb. 6 (10 am – 6 pm)

When checking out our fantabulous display of electric vehicles, including a Tesla Roadster, a Toyota Rav4 EV1, a Solar Prius and a fresh off the factory floor Smart EV (subject to dealer availability), please show respect to the cars being show, as you would for any museum display.  If you're reading this, you're probably not the type to be blindly hating Electric Vehicles but I would like to ask as politely as possible if you hate EVs and what they stand for, take it out on us docents and lecturers, not on the generously donated and expensive, in some cases irreplaceable cars on display.  Yell and scream at us all you want; our feelings are easily mended, but treat the cars on display as if they were owned by your dear, sweet mother, okay?  Thanks!

So, what can you see besides cars at the D.C. Auto Show?  What, like I'm not enough of a celebrity?  Okay, well a complete list of guests and activities are listed on the Washington Auto Show website.

So come one, come all to the great exhibit halls!  Cast your gaze and be amazed!  The year of the electric car is nigh, so see the show and come say "hi"!

1One of the Rav4 EVs displayed in that Wikipedia article will be the very same Rav4 EV you see at the Auto Show!

There's a new EVSE on the block

Sema Connect

Thank you Mahi for your presentation for the Sema Connect at last night's EVA/DC meeting!  Sema Connect is hard at work getting their Charge Pro line of commercial chargers installed at locations throughout the state of Maryland, including the Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) Airport daily parking lots.

Also on a personal note, thank you Mahi for sharing with us your unbelievably awesome official Plug-In Prius!  It's about bloody well time we started seeing those on the streets!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Live Chat with Ford TODAY!

Join the Technology Summit Live from the 2011 International CES

The festivities start in 2 hours from the time of this posting, and the schedule is on The Ford Story blog with a list of times all in Eastern Standard Timezone; the event is at the Consumer Electronic Show in Los Vegas and will begin at 13:00 hours local (Pacific) time.  The livestream updates on the Facebook page are supposed to continue for the next 24 hours as rabid anticipation of Ford Motor Company's entry into the EV market inches ever closer.  From The Ford Story blog:

Thursday, January 6, 2011 (all times are EST)

  • 16:00: Microsoft Senior Product Planner, Steven Bridgeland will talk about some of Microsoft’s work with Ford and we’ll share the latest Microsoft has to offer from CES
  • 17:00: IGN will recap their favorite apps and PC games from 2010 and review new gaming technologies
  • 18:00: Ford Chief Creative Officer, J Mays, and Ben Parr from Mashable will talk about innovation and creativity at CES
  • 19:00: Natali Morris from CNET will talk about upcoming tech trends
  • 20:00: A CES report from Rob Haralson from Five Q’s on Tech
  • 21:00: Learn more about how Ford is using mobile applications both through AppLink and Destinations
  • 22:00: A CES report from Michael Aulia from cravingtech
  • 23:00: Watch the Mashable Awards live!

Friday, January 7, 2011 (all times are EST)

  • 02:00: A CES report from Matthew Buckland from Memeburn
  • 03:00: A CES report from Kiruba Shankar from
  • 04:00: Ford User Interface Engineer, Jason Johnson, will answer questions in a livechat
  • 05:00: A CES report from Maxim Roubintchik from Gizmodo
  • 06:00: A CES report from Stefan Trunzik from Notebook Journal
  • 07:00: A CES report from Sascha Pallenberg from Netbooknews
  • 08:00: A CES report from Joe Simpson from Car Design News
  • 09:00: Russ Schafer from Yahoo! will talk about their newest technology, Connected TV
  • 10:00: Learn more about how Ford is approaching electric vehicles from the Ford EV team
  • 11:00: Ford Chief Technology Officer, Paul Mascarenas, will answer questions in a livechat
  • 12:00: Group and Technical Leader of Ford’s Infotronics Research & Advanced Engineering team, Venkatesh Prasad, will answer your questions in a livechat
  • 13:00: A CES report from Nick Mokey from Digital Trends
  • 14:00: CEO Alan Mulally will deliver his keynote address live from CES
  • 15:00: Live Blog: Executive Chairman Bill Ford looks into the Ford Electric Future

The thing to note here is that from 11:00 to 13:00 EST on Friday, representatives from Ford will be answering questions posted on their Facebook page, and especially the 10:00 hour where they will be discussing the Ford Focus EV among other things.

Visit the Ford Electric Vehicles Facebook page for more information about the Focus EV and for the Livestream tab to appear at 16:00 (EST)!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Come See the Ford Focus EV at the Los Vegas CES!

From the Ford Electric Vehicles Facebook Page:

On Friday at 11 AM PST, CEO Alan Mulally will have big news from the 2011 International CES in Las Vegas. We'll broadcast his keynote address on a Livestream tab on this page and have exclusive technology news every hour leading up to his address.

Although I've not mentioned it much before now, I'm very excited about the Ford Focus with an Electric-only Drive Train.  The more electric vehicles we have to choose from, the better we are off as consumers.  Ford has yet to announce the MSRP on the Focus EV, but rumor has it around $40,000, though this early in the game that could easily change.  Currently, the Focus EV is projected for model year 2012 release at the earliest, so initial sales could come as soon as a year from now.

I've been closely following the developments of the Focus EV and other affordable electric car alternatives that I hope to bring you in the coming months.  More so since I learned I'd have to wait 8 more months just to order another Electric Vehicle I've been considering.  Given this, the Ford Focus EV is one of the few EVs I believe to have a good chance to become the first generally available (in North America), affordable EVs!