What was it like to drive a Ford Focus EV and be green for a week

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Rhonda Massad, Ford Quebec, West Island news, West Island Blog

by Rhonda Massad

I was challenged to step up my green game by Ford last week. This meant I had to go paperless, eat a plant based diet, switch to energy-saving LED light bulbs, recycle and compost, shut down my electronics at work and home when they are not in use and use a reusable water bottle.

Most of this was pretty easy, I am already paperless for the most part, I use a glass jar for my water and I power off when I am not using my phone and computer. I got to drive a sweet Ford Focus for the week making the challenge a bit a thrill. What I found difficult was eating plant-based only. I can pull off vegetarian for a week but plant based has me going without cheese and eggs. That was tough for me. Who moved my cheese???

I enjoyed running around the West Island and visiting various friends and businesses throughout the week. Take a look at the West Island Blog Facebook page for in car interviews!! We had a blast. See slider above.

What I loved about the Ford Focus

There is plenty to love about this bombshell of a car from the standard rear view camera to the SYNC 3 voice activated navigation this car has it all. Quebec is offering up to $8,000 in incentives with a plan to provide $600 more to be put towards the purchase and installation of a home charging station.

The color was the first thing that appealed to me; it was a blue with a hint of sparkle that was simply beautiful. I was also pleasantly surprised by the interior; the car is very spacious. The back seat has plenty of leg room, trunk as well.  I also enjoyed the Apple Car Play which is basically like driving around with a personal assistant. The system is not available in all car brands so take note that you absolutely want this feature in your next car. It recites your text messages as they come in and allows you to answer them easily with voice activation. The voice activated commands work well in contrast to some cars that you have to repeat yourself several times and eventually give up because Siri has just connected you to a hair salon in Poughkeepsie.

The Focus has standard intelligent access with push-button start allowing you to open your vehicle doors with ease. The key senses the vehicle nearby so it can stay safely in your pocket or purse. Once inside you can press the brake pedal and then the start button, shift into gear and go.

I loved that this car changed my mind about the peppiness of EV cars. This baby moves. I wrongly assumed it would not. It has a very smooth ride, and on the highway, you simply do not feel the speed.

What I didn’t love about driving the Ford Focus EV

Here is the thing, there wasn’t much about the car itself that I didn’t like. I loved it. What I found disappointing was the ability and convenience to charge the car. You have about 180 kilometres of use before you run out. I was very excited to take advantage of the recent municipal initiatives around the West Island that provide charging stations for EVs. I ran into confusion at the charging stations put out by Le Circuit Electrique. They had NO instructions on them and only a 1-866 number to call if you had any questions. As luck would have it, there was no answer when I tried calling. What you need to know is that you cannot use a credit card to pay for your charge. You need to be a member of Le Circuit Electrique and have loaded your funds before charging. You also need a card to flash in front of the electronic reader at the station. If you do not have the card, you will need to dial that pesky 1-866 number where nobody seems to answer and give them your information at which point they can activate the charge for an extra fee of $2. This was aggravating, to say the least.

Even if I could have used the stations, there are not enough of them to make it worth while. As with all supply and demand situations the more we drive EVs, the more stations there will be. But for right now,  you will want to be a patron of the stores where you want to fill because it can take up to an hour to charge.

From what I learned, you can charge at home on a regular 120V, but that takes up to 20 hours. If you buy a Level 2 (240V) charger at home, you can fill up in approximately 5.5 hours. I would like to see the Focus have a longer range.

All in all my week was great.  I loved the car and will be looking into an EV when I purchase my next set of wheels.

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