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rkisler

Focus Energi??

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@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.

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Don't disagree with any of that Austin. I just don't agree with people who try to make it out to be a technological wonder that's light years ahead of anyone else. Or to look at it another way - if Ford designed a new Focus or C-Max with a larger integrated battery pack, a larger electric motor and software that allows it to stay in battery mode until the battery is depleted and provides better acceleration on battery power - wouldn't that put it on par with the current Volt?

 

And again - the Volt has far more potential to use alternative energy sources instead of ICE. They're just not there yet.

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Thankd for chiming in Austin, your real world experience with Volt ownership adds perspective to the discussion.

 

No doubt GM has quite a few changes planned for Voltec II that include internal cost savings and changes that

increase Volts efficiency and lower pricing to buyers, taking the pressure of leasing to "resolve" price isues.

 

So how will PHEV manufacturers like Ford and Toyota respond, surely there will be pressure to increase battery range,

should buyers be given the option to choose from a range of expandable battery packs and pick the range they want?

That would effectivly make energi a variable range option on the base hybrid, giving dealerships opportunity to add

battery packs and range (space permitting) is that practical and achievable?

Edited by jpd80

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The Energis can go up to 85 mph on battery only so I don't understand the comment about them being power limited due to a less powerful electric powertrain.

 

Top speed is okay, but acceleration on the Energi is pretty limited - fine for entering a highway in normal circumstances, but not if you're trying to merge in quickly or pass. Definitely not the case with the Volt. I've tried them back to back on the exact same route.

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Lst year Ford /Lincoln sold 85,000 hybrids and energis compared to 35,000 in 2012.

That's a fair old ramp up and probably an indicator of what's to come....

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Thankd for chiming in Austin, your real world experience with Volt ownership adds perspective to the discussion.

 

No doubt GM has quite a few changes planned for Voltec II that include internal cost savings and changes that

increase Volts efficiency and lower pricing to buyers, taking the pressure of leasing to "resolve" price isues.

 

So how will PHEV manufacturers like Ford and Toyota respond, surely there will be pressure to increase battery range,

should buyers be given the option to choose from a range of expandable battery packs and pick the range they want?

That would effectivly make energi a variable range option on the base hybrid, giving dealerships opportunity to add

battery packs and range (space permitting) is that practical and achievable?

 

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.

Edited by Austin

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