Chevrolet, EV - Electric Vehicles, Ford, Road Test Special

Road Test Special: Living With An Electric Vehicle – A Day-To-Day Comparison of Three Models (The Full-Monty, Nitty-Gritty Detailed Version)

EV, Logo, Road Test Special, Iain Shankland, 2017 Ford Energi

Welcome to the Full-Monty, Nitty-Gritty Detailed Version (good choice)…

Comprehensive Day-To-Day Life With An EV
This is NOT a road test of each vehicle, it’s just an overview of how-they-work in relation to each other – on a day-to-day basis. Each vehicle will have its own road test in a separate article.

Car #1 – 2017 Ford Fusion Energi SEEV, Logo, Road Test Special, Iain Shankland, 2017 Ford Energi

Nuts & Bolts:

  • Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). Part Gas. Part Electric. It gives you the option to plug in or not – no change in your routine is required
  • Use it like an electric vehicle for short trips and/or like a hybrid at higher speeds
  • An all-electric driving range of up to 35 km. Gas-plus-electric driving range of up to 982 km
  • Regenerative Braking System captures over 90% of the energy spent during braking and uses it to help recharge the battery

Drive mode Options: EV Now (full electric), Auto EV (uses plug-in power, switches to gas engine when needed), EV Later (saves plug-in power for future use, eg: initial drive is on the highway, but later driving will be at lower city/town speeds)

Propulsion System:
Electric motor: Permanent-magnet AC-synchronous electric motor Power: 118 hp and 117 lb-ft. of torque
Engine: 2.0L iVCT Atkinson-cycle I-4 engine Power: 141 hp and 129 lb-ft. of torque
Transmission: Electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (eCVT)

Recharge Time (approximate): 120-volt – 7 hours // 240-volt – 2.5 hours
Programmable to come on to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates – plug it in the car takes care of the rest

EV, Logo, Road Test Special, Iain Shankland, 2017 Ford Energi Day One…

  • Picked up the car and drove it home
  • Thanks the on-board engine, no need to worry about range or getting stranded
  • The battery was essentially empty, so not much “electric drive” other than what I generate while braking
  • Waited till after 7pm to plug it in and recharge the battery (that’s when electricity get “cheap” around here)
  • After reading the instructions, this is very easy… unwind the 25 foot cord, plug into socket, plug into Energi
  • The blue light goes around three times and then slowly turns solid as it reaches full charge – couldn’t have been any easier than that

Day Two…

  • It started raining as I went out to check on the Energi… got a bit anxious as water and electricity aren’t exactly compatible
  • I unplugged the socket from the car and wound up the cord. Popped the trunk and the blue light from the socket came on telling me the battery is full
  • We’ll take it out for a spin later, but we’re starting out on the highway, so I’ll set it to use the electricity later when we reach town

Day Three…

  • Pretty uneventful. You don’t get far with only 35 kms of range, so the Energi spends most of its time using the engine.

Day Four…

  • Used the electric mode for our entire trip into a neighbouring city
  • Drove very conservatively and rolled through stop signs to try and get the maximum out of the car
  • Reached our destination and clocked up 30.4 kms before the battery was dead and it switched the engine on. That’s almost 5 kms short of Fords prediction, the only way I could have squeezed more out would have been to run on flat land
  • I regenerated (regen) 3.4 kms as it was with the downhill portion/braking of our journey, so in reality I got 27 kms of electric travel
  • Drove home using the engine
  • Programmed the car to switch on at 7pm and charge till 3am – 8 hours allotted to fill the battery that the car says should take 6.5
  • It wouldn’t allow me to program it for today even though I’d set it for weekdays and weekends. It wanted to charge right now (4pm) and shut off at 7pm – not enough time to charge – error
  • I’ll plug it in at 7ish and see what happens. Not impressed

Day Five…

  • Drove to sister-in-law’s in the next city over – distance each way: 28.4 kms
  • This is the perfect opportunity to check out electric vs. Gas – We drove there using electric only and had about 4 kms left over, so that is an estimated 32 kms on electric only with about 4 kms added for regen
  • In reality then, the max I could get was 28 kms on pure electricity
  • This was quite hard to achieve as I drove VERY conservatively, not coming to a full stop at two stop signs and a set of lights as well as travelling completely level or downhill the entire journey
  • On return trip I switched to Auto and got 11.7 EV kms.
  • The 11.7 EV kms was achieved using the engine in combination with the battery (plus the 4 left over from the initial trip) + 2.0 Regen kms
  • Once the engine kicked on we used 4.8 L/100 km of gas (it didn’t say how much gas I actually used though)
  • Plugged it in for tomorrow

Day Six…

  • Used a combination of all electric and gas
  • Loved that there was absolutely no “range anxiety” when we couldn’t stay in all electric
  • However with only 26 or so kms in full electric mode it’s all about range anxiety if that’s what you’re trying to achieve
  • Ford claims 35 kms, but that was impossible to even get close to

Day Seven…

  • Used the gas and electric combo once again
  • It’s really remarkable how quiet it is when running only on electricity
  • Heading into the city tomorrow, so won’t bother plugging it in

Cost (base price): $33,088 (For up-to-date pricing and options in your region visit: )
Rebate / Government Incentives: Up to $7,730 in Ontario when purchasing/leasing
Effective base price: $25,358
To Operate…
Fuel consumption is rated at:

  • 4L e/100 km (electricity + gas) combined city/hwy
  • 6L/100 km (gas only) combined city/hwy
  • I averaged 6.3L /100 km on the highway at a fairly constant 100 kph and e4.9 – 5.3 L/100 km over the entire week I had the Energi
  • Total kilometres travelled: 725 kms
  • Gasoline used: 45.6L / 6.2L/100 km
  • Actual Fuel Cost: $51.44 

The Verdict
I liked it a lot and would almost hesitantly recommend it – but you have to know its idiosyncrasies and accept the various compromises, and I haven’t driven the other vehicles yet… It’s not perfect, but this car is perfect for my mother-in-law (I’m sure there are plenty of people out there just like her)…she doesn’t drive far and stays in town for 99.9% of her road trips. She could plug it in every night and probably fill it with gas every other year. Thanks to the programming feature (should she figure out how it works) she could plug it in any time and not worry about the electric company gouging her for electricity during peak rates. Its biggest fault is the range – or lack thereof… Ford claim 35 kms, I couldn’t get better than 28 – FAIL!

Click “2” to read about the Chevrolet Volt