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rkisler last won the day on December 16 2012

rkisler had the most liked content!

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  1. rkisler

    2016 Lincoln MKX

    I have an MKC (initial design) and have no trouble with the buttons. But those that have had trouble appear to be mainly with turning off/on the audio. This is a poking motion with one finger and doesn't necessarily have any tactile feel associated with it. If this is the final design and it is one finger action, then there will be even higher instances of wrong pushes between audio and on/off than the MKC. These buttons are right next to each other.
  2. rkisler

    2016 Lincoln MKX

    When I saw the location of the start button, I thought the same thing. However, when I look at it closely, it appears that start/stop might be a two finger operation. It looks like the top and bottom silver areas might be what operates start/stop. Either both buttons together or the center plus either the top or bottom? If so, then if one were going for the audio (one finger) but pressed in the start/stop area, nothing would happen. Just guessing... BTW, what is the "Auto Hold" button for??
  3. I really don't think so. Here's why: 1. The Chief Program Engineer is responsible for all of the "accountables" in a program, even if he/she doesn't really have total control. So it's their responsibility to do the reconciliaiton between cost/weight/pricing/features/et al, up to and including investment and financial results. 2. Obviously, it helps both the CPE and the Company in total if fuel economy is judged more favorably. For the program, it might mean you don't have to substitute a lighter material that costs more. For the Company, it might mean there is less pressure to sell small cars. 3. But...the CPE does not have control over the testing. He/She can't just tell the technicians to change a setting on the dyno. So if there were to be some sort of conspiracy, it would have to be at much higher levels and include the testing activity which is run as a separate engineering arm. Which means you would be talking VP of Engineering. The issue with most conspiracies is that the higher you go, that means the more people that would have to be in on it. I just don't see it, as it doesn't fit Ford's culture and, in addition, fuel economy results with the EPA are an open book and subject to audit. 4. I also don't think (but of course don't know) that an engineer selected some parameter that was favorable. There would be nothing in it for him/her. I really suspect a mathematical flaw in the algorithms that were being used to correlate track coastdown data to that of running in the wind tunnel lab on a dyno. Not good, but perhaps not as bad as missing Mars with the Mars Climate Orbiter . 5. Having said all this -- the EPA has dyno labs in Ann Arbor where they can audit the manufacturer's fuel economy results. The two main factors for adjusting the dynos -- weight and road load -- are dialed in. The EPA can run an audit on weight pretty easily. But the coastdown data that simulate road load is much more difficult. I know the EPA does not have a track in Ann Arbor, but I'm not sure if they have track available to them elsewhere for confirming the coastdown data (and it takes a lot of time and effort). I seem to remember they were trying to secure a track somewhere for this reason, but I can't find the reference. Coastdown is where Hyundai/Kia got in trouble (probably intentional), and road load also is where the Ford issues are.
  4. Looking through the comments, I didn't see a link to Raj Nair's video explanation. So here it is: Raj Nair I do not believe this action was intentional on any level. But...what I think doesn't matter. Some portion of the public and a lot of auto writers already are skeptical of Ford's fuel economy, and this just supports and reinforces their beliefs.
  5. The criteria for categorizing a vehicle within a weight class is to use options that have at least a 33% take rate. But it's based on sales estimates because the testing has to take place before the vehicles are actually sold. Sometimes there is some gaming to try to keep within estimates (repackaging of options, etc.), but the Sales guys hate in the worst way restricting options from customers (which I fully understand). Unfortunately, Ford always seems to struggle just to get into the top range of a weight class so there isn't much wiggle room. I know you understand, but for those that don't, the weight class is one of the factors used to set resistance on the dyno rolls for fuel economy testing. The big number for the MKZ does sound like they blew a weight class. Maybe due to a reconciliation to the real option take rate vs. the projected rate in addition to other factors?. I also thought the C-Max was closed from the EPA. This had to be some procedural error on Ford's part? So much for credibility. In addition to hybrids, EcoBoost powertrains also have come under a lot of pressure. Hope there aren't more shoes to drop..
  6. For clarification, I'm a retiree, but still have access to a lease car each year. Here's how it works: With new models, such as the MKC, Ford will sometimes give us a bit of a break on the lease fee to encourage orders (that's the good part; bad part to follow). We place our orders early (mine was placed in December). That gives the plant a slew of buildable, clean orders that they can produce early. Some of the production for the lease cars is actually pre-<J1>, but they are serialized, saleable units. These early vehicles are assessed by plant personnel and engineering for issues. In terms of shipping, they are not released until the plant has authority to release retail units also. The bad news is this. If there are any problems that caused a produce-and-hold situation, the retail units are repaired first (which is the right thing to do), and there can often times be delays in receiving the lease car. So I'm not expecting mine for a couple of months.
  7. My MKC 2.0 EB FWD was produced this week; not shipped yet. Sometimes these early units have a rather substantial hold time at the plant until everything is sorted out.
  8. I've found that when MFT doesn't understand me (which is quite often as the voice recognition truly sucks) that shoutiing "Just f****** listen to me you stupid bitch!" doesn't do any good whatsoever as she simply replies with a menu of commands none of which involve the one I have just given. On a serious note, I've found that slowing my speech seems to get worse results than speaking with an ordinary cadence. Volume sometimes works, but not shouting. The biggest problems I have are with the navigation system. It does not have great depth in Points of Interest, including things like museums and restaurants, or it wants them as a more specific name than I am searching. So, I can't tell if it's the system not recognizing me, or if the POI just doesn't exist, or if the search engine is crappy. But sometimes the list of choices I'm given after asking for a POI is completely idiotic and off the mark, and my wife and I are left scratching our heads. I find myself often pulling over and using my smartphone to find POI's and then putting the address into the GPS by voice (which mostly works) or just navigating with my phone.
  9. You can't always get what you want. But if you try, sometimes you just might find you get what you need. Sorry, nobody is turning 50's city and highway with ice's; it's not a piece of cake. To get 50's, you need either a much more expensive diesel, or some sort of electric mix -- either in hybrid, erev, or bev which is also expensive. Don't be angry -- just act. If you want to really reduce costs per mile, then get a Focus BEV or a Leaf or maybe even a Volt. Then your cost per mile will be about 2-3 cents or so, or about 25% of the cost for fuel for a fantasy gasoline ICE car that gets 50 mpg under all conditions. This will result in you giving less of your money to the oil companies, but your upfront costs will be higher. Whether that you pay for itself is TBD based on your personal situation.
  10. rkisler

    Focus Energi??

    With the structure of Ford's battery packs presently, this would be difficult to achieve. This has been the model, however, for Tesla a BEV that offers a 60kwh battery, 85kwh battery, and a "performance" 85kwh battery. They are treating the battery (and in some cases the software) in a similar manner to how other manufacturers treat optional ICE's. And along with the additional price of the larger battery comes other goodies, like access to Tesla's fast-charging (Supercharger) stations with free electricity. At this point, if you have enough time for some "fuel stops", you can potentially go coast-to-coast using this network. In addition, since Tesla are capacity constrained right now, they are restricting the smaller pack (i.e., longer wait times for the customers) so they can maximize profits on the larger and more expensive pack. I have even read where one customer did an upgrade from the 60kwh pack to the 85kwh pack but it was super expensive to do so. So maybe at some point Ford could have optional levels of battery pack, but I don't think they will mess with the complexity at this point and I don't think the battery form factor Ford is using right now is conducive to this type of arrangements.
  11. rkisler

    Focus Energi??

    @akirby, OK, a couple of points back at ya' 1. Sure, from a business standpoint, Ford has spent a lot less on its hybrids and PHEV's by installing them in existing platforms rather than a "medium" tearup of a Cruze for the Volt and that almost certainly has resulted in superior profitability. Of course when I was making my lease decision I was viewing it as a consumer, so that didn't factor in. 2. To your last point, I was careful in my discussion to call the Volt a PHEV rather than EREV. But there is a very basic difference in the operation of the Volt and Ford's Energi products. The default on the Volt is EV, and it will stay in EV come hell or high water for the allowed capacity of the batteries unless the driver selects another mode. Ford's Energi products are in "blended" mode as the default unless you tell them to go EV. And when you select full EV, they are not as capable as the Volt -- not necessarily in top speed but in acceleration which is particularly noticeable in on-ramps and up hills. In those situations, the car will complain to you to please turn on the ICE. Whether its a smaller pack, or eCVT capability, or software, I don't know. But there is a difference. 3. Yes, of course, if Ford or any other manufacturer could find a way to package a battery pack as large as the Volt's they could get essentially the same range. All of these cars are actually pretty close in terms of miles per kilowatt-hour (btw, I get about 4+ miles per kwh in the fall, and am getting around 2.5 miles per kwh now -- the draw to heat the car in winter plus other factors makes a big difference) 4. True there are inefficiencies in converting ICE to electricity/battery and back again in hybrid mode. But there are inefficiencies across the system, and you can't single out one factor. As I explained, Ford/Toyota also have some losses in this area, and have losses in the gears in the planetary gearset (as does the Volt). Honda has reduced friction losses in the transmission but has the "generate/use" inefficiencies. Each of these vehicles is looking across the whole system; and the ability to run the ICE at optimal conditions also affects the fuel economy which of course involves both the mechanicals and software. As you mention, using the ICE as a generator only decouples and might allow a higher percentage of running at a constant optimal speed rather than varying engine RPM's. 5. Now that Ford has flex on the hybrid box with the 6-speed at Livonia, I'm not so sure hybrids are as limited as you think (not sure about battery packs). I can absolutely guarantee you that there is a lot more component capacity than the less than 2,000 annual volume of the Focus BEV. I just think that the "throw the batteries in the trunk" routine for plug-ins will have an end as other products in the marketplace step up their game. I hope Ford plans correctly to meet that challenge rather than "going cheap" which, I will grant you, likely has been the most profitable move to date considering the adoption rate of plug-ins. In the end, it will require a platform tear-up or a new platform, and it might require a new form factor for the batteries. Tesla and Leaf are really showing that relatively flat battery packs packaged beneath the load floor work well. But...even though the Leaf is riding on Versa components, the whole body shell is unique, so the development cost was large. I think it's not a matter of "if" but "when" for Ford; I'm sure they've had more than one internal debate with more to come.
  12. rkisler

    Focus Energi??

    OK, I'll wade back in. Despite my long career with Ford, and Z-Plan availability, I now have a Volt in my garage. I wanted: 1. An EV that would meet the requirements for me to latch on to the power company incentive to get free Level 2 wiring into my garage (240V, 40A) and a charger. That includes a separate meter with inexpensive off-peak power. 2. The capability to handle virtually all of our around-town driving on electric 3. Excellent EV performance without the gas engine coming on 4. Capability for longer trips. That left me with a PHEV, not a pure electric. So my final choices were Volt and C-Max Energi. The larger incentive on the Volt for the larger battery offset my Ford discount; the lease rates were pretty much a wash (due to higher Volt residuals?). But the Chevy dealer was bending over backwards, and gave me substantially more on my Escape trade-in. The Ford dealer could have cared less to promote anything that plugged in. But I also chose the Volt due to it's superior EV performance; the C-Max, even in EV mode, was not nearly as potent as the Volt. I can drive the Volt any way I please. Gently with large regen for max economy, or with my foot into it on entrance ramps or when passing. It just works. No manually putting it in EV mode; no flashing lights telling me I should let the ICE fire up. I also chose the Volt due to its substantially longer range. I could give a complete review, but I'll spare you. I'm not an EV fanatic nor am I a Volt fanatic. The Volt has good and bad points; I'm leasing it for 3 years as an experiment and so far I'm happy. The winter battery range dropped from a max of 44 miles in the fall to around 27-28 now. And, with temps below 15 degrees, the ICE comes on to help with cabin heat and overall electrical load. Nevertheless, with around 2,200 miles on the car, I"m at around 94% in EV mode. Technology I wanted to address some points including those brought up by akirby. Volt -- as pointed out in other posts, including jpd's, except in very cold temps, the Volt runs on EV only until the battery is depleted; then it runs in hybrid mode. As jpd mentions in hybrid mode, the engine in general does not in general add additional charge to the battery unless you user-select either Mountain or Charge Sustaining mode. As akirby mentions, in hybrid mode, the engine is a generator except over 70 mph on relatively flat highway where there is a direct mechanical connection. It is true that generating electricity and then using that to power an electric motor loses some efficiency. But that doesn't make it "old technology" or a "locomotive." It's just the way GM chose to tackle the animal and, as I will show later, this generation/use issue affects Ford's eCVT also. It is true that the Volt's fuel economy in hybrid mode is not stellar (around 38 mpg). But I'm not sure how much of that is due to the power path, and how much is due to the fact that when GM was developing the Volt, they ran out of money for the ICE. A new one is coming soon (next year?) which will certainly improve hybrid economy. The main thing about the Volt is that, despite the complexity of the various modes of operation, it is almost totally imperceptible. I could let anyone drive this car without any instructions, and they would have no problem whatsoever. Everything just works transparently (even the four heating/cooling systems), and that's a tribute to GM's engineers. Let's talk about some of the other hybrid arrangements (which can be turned into PHEV's with more batteries). I don't want to pretend I'm an expert, and I stand to be corrected. Honda -- Honda has a new hybrid on the Accord which is putting out better mpg than the Fusion hybrid. Guess what. The primary mode of this hybrid is to use the ICE as a generator to power an electric motor with no mechanical connection. Only at high speeds does it lock up in a mechanical manner with a single speed. Honda chose to do this so they wouldn't have losses through the gears as the lockup is a very simple affair. Therefore, the power arrangement is somewhat similar to the Volt, but the transmission is different. Ford & Toyota eCVT's -- Although the eCVT's are now different, they operate in a similar manner. One thing to understand is that the electric traction motor drives the wheels. It's always turning when the car is in motion. The ICE is never directly connected to the wheels, so the electrical components are always "on line." And even in the Ford/Toyota-type eCVT's you are generating and using electricity simultaneously (which causes inefficiencies). Here's a nifty schematic that I urge everyone to play with. For example, try to put this at 60 mph and note the movement of the traction motor (MG1) and the smaller motor-generator (MG2). Some electric motor-generator is always spinning and sometimes the smaller MG2 goes backwards. Power Split Transmission Clutched ISG (Porsche/Hyundai?) -- In this case, there is a starter-generator inserted between the engine and transmission. If the motor(s) are powerful enough, the ICE can be taken off line. But I don't believe the ISG is taken off line when the motor is running. So once again, there is the issue of simultaneously generating and using electricity. The point of all of this is to say that there is not a single solution and there are always some sort of inefficiencies when you are trying to blend an ICE and electric motor(s). ************ Back on Ford. What I am most discouraged about is the fact that Ford seems to believe that simply tossing a bunch of batteries in the trunk makes for an acceptable BEV/PHEV product. Sure it's a way to cheaply extend the hybrid without tearing up the platform, but it's just nasty. The "One Ford" didn't help as the U.S. was simply picking up EAO platforms with a nip and tuck, so there was no thought to battery package and the emphasis was to get the platforms common. I suppose I'll wait for the new Edge to see if Ford has done a better job but but I'm not betting on it. It's not easy. With a PHEV, packaging both the ICE and electric motors, combined with the difficulty of packaging the fuel system and batteries is a huge challenge. Even though the Volt lost a middle seat in the rear, and the platform tearup was expensive, to me it's the best PHEV (or, if you prefer, EREV) out there.
  13. I could be wrong, but I don't think it had pricing until now.
  14. This article on a potential Focus Energi authored by John Voelcker was posted on Green Car Reports. He's at the Detroit Auto Show this week, and his reporting is generally pretty accurate: Focus Energi Anyone heard anything?? Sounds interesting.