Lucky me, again. Not only did I get to drive the prototype Chevy Volt, I also got to drive the prototype Ford Battery Electric Focus and the Ford Plug In Hybrid Escape. Additionally, on a trip to Marfa, TX with Big Sky Press, I also got to drive a Ford Fiesta. Overall, my numbers were pretty decent given the limited amount of time I had with each vehicle. Check them out.
Ford Battery Electric Focus
It was pretty dark and rainy in the morning during my drive so I didn't get to much time with each vehicle. The Focus should have a range of about 100 miles when it hits the market (no estimate on when), and I didn't think it felt much like an electric vehicle. It was a little louder than other electric vehicles, and not as sprinty. Overall, I think it has great potential for someone who does quite a bit of city driving.
Battery in the back.
Another photo of the rear.
Back seat was fairly roomy.
Ford Plug In Hybrid Escape
Next up was the Plug In Hybrid Escape. I was really impressed with the efficient driving capabilities of this vehicle due to the design. This particular vehicle is practically an electric vehicle under 40 miles per hour. For city driving, that means that theoretically, you would be using zero gas if you stayed under 40 miles per hour. If the battery does get under 30% charge, it will go into hybrid mode keeping the battery at about 30 % but not less. This vehicle does also have regenerative braking and autostop features.
In addition, the Escape also has SYNC capabilities that allow you to either control some of the charging modes and preferences via Microsoft Hohm or on your smart phone. I didn't get a chance to take the Escape on the highway so I can't comment on how it deals with higher speeds in hybrid mode. I really wish I had a chance to take it on the highway with a full battery and a battery with less than 30% charge.
The Escape is estimated to get 70-80 miles per gallon city driving, and mid 30's highway. Again, I wish I had the chance to take it on the highway to see what this baby could really do. I did get 73.4 miles per gallon city driving a few miles in Downtown Austin, but that's all I had time to accomplish. The prototype that I was driving did have the air condition running off of fuel, but models that on the market (no estimate available) should have air conditioning running off electricity.
I also found the dashboard to be pretty impressive. There were different screens that show you current gas usage, battery usage, miles per gallon, cost per mile, and other useful features. While it didn't have the full range of gauges that the scangauge has, it has the ones that most drivers would use.
The dash display.
I got a 15 mile run in the Ford Fiesta on the highway, and I achieved an average of 64.8 miles per gallon. Woohoo! I found that the Fiesta would stay in Super Highway Mode anywhere from 45-65 miles per hour. In SHM mode, it would get be anywhere from 60-80 miles per gallon. Much over 65 miles per hour got about 55-60 miles per gallon. Those are pretty nice numbers for the vehicle. Also, I was too busy having fun in Marfa, TX, that I forgot to take photos of this vehicle.