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How the Ford Focus Electric tested my EV faith

Consumer Reports’ headquarters is 115 miles from our test track, or about 35 miles longer than the measured range on our Ford Focus Electric. When I was assigned to drive our test car from our New York headquarters back to the Connecticut Auto Test facility, I knew it would test my EV convictions.

Living roughly evenly spaced between the two facilities, I was a natural choice for the drive, as I could recharge the Focus overnight. Trickling in electricity at 120-volts would still leave me with some concerns, though. Ultimately, a long-distance drive with an EV takes planning and a determination for the sense of adventure to trump range anxiety. Just in case, I alerted the Auto Test staff of my travel plans, so they could have a truck and trailer at the ready should my range fall short.

The journey began at CR’s headquarters in Yonkers, NY, where the Focus was topped off with our 240-volt charger. As I set off for my 40-mile trip home, the car’s range meter was showing 77 miles. The weather had turned cold, darkness had fallen, and it had begun to rain. So I had to turn on all the accessories, lights, wipers, and heater. I also had the radio on. The second I turned on the heater, the range dropped to 67 miles. While I’ve made this trip plenty of times before in our Nissan Leaf, I wasn’t worried, yet it was still hard not to check the range meter continuously.

I had one errand to run on the way home, and figured I had plenty of range to spare. I also decided to pull off the highway for a bite to eat. All this added maybe three blocks to my trip. Yet by the time I got home, the remaining range showed 13 miles—not a good sign for my upcoming drive to the other end of Connecticut.

The car was charged at home, indicating a 78-mile range when I was ready to complete the two-stage trip.
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