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2016 Chevy Volt vs Ford Fusion Energi - My comparison


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63 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   geohec

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Posted 01 August 2015 - 10:01 PM

I'm in the market for buying a new car and I am torn between the 2016 Fusion Energi and the 2016 Chevy Volt.   So I took some time and read a little bit about both vehicles and listed some items that are important to me (but might not be important to others).   The summary table is listed below at the request of a person on this forum and I attached my spreadsheet that details each vehicle (I probabbly have some errors so let me know if I messed up or missed something important).

 

My goal is to buy new in the next 2-3 months because it’s been 10 years and I deserve a new technologically advanced car.   My budget is $25K and these two vehicles seem to fit my needs.  Though I know the Fusion is mid-sized and the Volt is closer to compact. The Fusion has tons of reviews saying it has a very comfortable driving experience and the Volt is expected to have a good/adequate driving experience but the back seat comfort easily goes to the Fusion. 

 

My needs will be 90% commuter and 10% family (4) vehicle including 2 tweens.  I have a relatively flat 25 mile commute one-way and my employer will have a free L2 charging station in August.  The Volt could get me a free round trip every day with my only costs would go to maintaining the vehicle (except a few charges at home for local shopping, etc.   The Fusion I estimate would cost me about $50/month in commuting gas due to the limited EV range  (at least for me).  Also, I own solar panels and so I could charge a Fusion at home for about $1 per charge.  

 

Currently, I'm leaning toward the 2016 Volt over the Fusion due to my expected commuter cost savings of $600/yr BUT I figured a loaded, very comfy Fusion SE (little cheaper) or Titanium (~same price) might help me look the other way regarding the extra cost.   Another factor, I have 2 kids that will be hopefully heading to college in 4-6 years so that extra money that I save with the Volt that could help them.  

 

I’ve decided that I will test drive both before making a decision.  I have a no commitment pre-ordered Volt at a local Chevy expected to arrive in Oct but they told me if I don't want it they could sell it in a heart beat.  If the new Volt is comfortable and good driving experience then I will progably get one but if the driving comfort and experience is very differenct and is like night and day then I’ll just have to go with the Fusion (the kids can do community college =).   Currently, I have a pros and cons list (see attached) comparing a 2016 Volt (LT) and Fusion Energi.  It's an apples and organges comparison because the Fusion is mid-sized and the Volt is not but like I said earlier it will be mostly a commuter and the comparisons are items important to me.   I've also attached a spreadsheet (pdf.file cause the forum would allow an excel attachment) showing dimensions, features, etc for people to modify/correct for their own needs because I probably didn't get it all right but I should be close.

 

Did I miss something?  Any thoughts?

Attached Files


Edited by geohec, 02 August 2015 - 05:38 AM.

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#2 OFFLINE   Russael

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Posted 02 August 2015 - 06:24 AM

Is the new vehicle going to be your sole vehicle, or do you have a second, larger vehicle (suv, pickup, traditional large gas vehicle, etc) driven by you or someone else?

 

If you have a second, big vehicle, go Volt.  Considering that your new ride will be a commuter and you seem to want to handle all of it electrically, heck, you could even go BEV.  A Focus Electric is really inexpensive now, all things considered.

 

Your trips can simply be handled via your traditional gas vehicle and all of your work trips can be done with your commuter car, whichever one you choose.  After tax credit, the BEV Focus goes for 22,545.  Or add 1k for leather seating.  

 

Another big question to ask yourself is how to handle the tax credit.  Do you have enough tax liability to claim the entire 7500 from the IRS (if you buy the Volt or other BEV) or 4007 (for the Fusion)?  If not, then you may want to wait until next year where you can either adjust your taxes so you owe more (and get it back when you do your 2016 taxes), or consider leasing the vehicle, in which case the finance company will claim the credit, and typically apply it toward your vehicle of choice.


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#3 OFFLINE   geohec

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Posted 02 August 2015 - 07:25 AM

@Russael:  Yes, I have a 2002 4x4 Ford Explorer for family trips but it has 150K miles on it.   My wife still loves it and her work commute is only 5 miles from home.   We plan to take that thing as far as it will go especially since we got a rebuit transmission in it last year.  I also have a 2005 Rav4 with 160k that I drive but were thinking of selling it for a few thousand or selling it to my oldest son in a couple of years when he turns 16.  Haven't come to a decision on that yet.

 

As for the Focus, I drove a rental before and it was peppy and seems fine but I'd like some thing that has a gas tank back up which I understand that the Focus doesn't have that.   A BEV would need to have 150 -200 mile range for peace of mind before I'd consider buying one.

 

And yes I have enough tax liability to claim the entire credit of both.  But I see your angle about deferring the credit.  Didn't think of that one.  Thanks for the feed back.



#4 OFFLINE   jeff_h

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Posted 02 August 2015 - 04:06 PM

Here are a few other things to consider - others can chime in or correct me if I have something wrong.

 

GO Times - Fusion Energi has them, Volt does not.  Each car has the capability for the owner to remote start and to start via the web/mobile app, however the Energi has the GO Times which allow owner to set scheduled times on any given day for the HVAC to start warming or cooling the car.  Living in Sac you may not have as much use for this as someone living in Minnesota or similar, but it's still nice to have.

 

HVB degradation - from what I've read, the Volt has "TMS" (Thermal Management System) that is a liquid cooled system for the HVB, which can help with avoiding or reducing long-term degradation of the HVB.  I believe the Energi has an air-cooled system, which may be more susceptible to degradation.  So if you plan to keep the car for many years, the Volt would likely be the better choice in this area.

 

Keyless Entry Keypad - the Energi has this (but don't know if it is on both SE and Titanium, be sure to check) and the Volt does not.  if you ever have occasion where you would really prefer to leave the key fob in your car (I do when I drive somewhere to go running), it is handy to have this feature.


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#5 OFFLINE   Hybridbear

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Posted 02 August 2015 - 05:18 PM

One comment I would add is that the Volt has way more power for EV acceleration. The Energi has a maximum HVB discharge rate of about 65 kW in EV mode. The full 190+ hp is combined ICE & EV power. The Volt has full power in EV mode. I don't accelerate fast so it doesn't matter to me, but one Energi owner who had a Volt previously commented about this being a con of the Fusion compared to the Volt.

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#6 OFFLINE   geohec

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Posted 02 August 2015 - 05:46 PM

@ JeffH:  Go times would actually be a nice feature because 3 months out of the year temperature routinelly are in the 90's and about a dozen + days over 100 degrees.   So that would be a nice feature.   Keyless Entry is also a nice feature though because I do play basketball and go hiking, so not having a heavy keychain to drag around would be nice.   These features aren't game changers but enough of these features could add up. 

 

As for the degradation issue, yes I have it on the pros/cons list because I do plan on keeping the car for many years.   Thanks for the info.

 

@Hybridbear:  Thanks for the info on the power output in acceleration.   Per the specs, it appeared that the volt had more power in EV mode but I was holding off that evaluation on my pro/cons list until I felt the difference myself in my test drive.    I'm not a speed junkie but it would be nice to get on the freeway safely by having adequate acceleration :)

 

Thanks to both of you for the info.   I'll update my features list.   At the end, I'll repost the final version for others to share. :2thumbs:



#7 OFFLINE   Blastphemy

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Posted 02 August 2015 - 06:23 PM

GO Times - Fusion Energi has them, Volt does not.  Each car has the capability for the owner to remote start and to start via the web/mobile app, however the Energi has the GO Times which allow owner to set scheduled times on any given day for the HVAC to start warming or cooling the car.  Living in Sac you may not have as much use for this as someone living in Minnesota or similar, but it's still nice to have.

 

You can schedule charging windows on the Volt, and the 2016 will only improve on that.

 

Keyless Entry Keypad - the Energi has this (but don't know if it is on both SE and Titanium, be sure to check) and the Volt does not.  if you ever have occasion where you would really prefer to leave the key fob in your car (I do when I drive somewhere to go running), it is handy to have this feature.

 

You can always unlock the Volt via your smartphone's On*Star app if you want to leave the keyfob in the car.



#8 OFFLINE   Blastphemy

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Posted 02 August 2015 - 06:27 PM

One comment I would add is that the Volt has way more power for EV acceleration. The Energi has a maximum HVB discharge rate of about 65 kW in EV mode. The full 190+ hp is combined ICE & EV power. The Volt has full power in EV mode. I don't accelerate fast so it doesn't matter to me, but one Energi owner who had a Volt previously commented about this being a con of the Fusion compared to the Volt.

 

Also, until the battery is depleted (after 50-odd miles), the Volt never needs to engage the gas engine for any reason, even under full acceleration, heavy A/C use, and/or steep inclines. Driving my Fusion Energi requires a lot of patience as compared to my Volt if I don't want to use gas.



#9 OFFLINE   Eric4539

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Posted 02 August 2015 - 06:43 PM

I can tell you that GO Times are fantastic.  It gets to 100 degrees where I live but I have yet to precondition during the summer.  I have used GO Times during the winter so often that I would not want another car that did not offer the ability to precondition.  Spoiled!!

 

The other feature that I absolutely love is Adaptive Cruise Control.  I definitely would not buy another car without this feature.  


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#10 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 02 August 2015 - 07:08 PM

I own the Cmax which is very similar to the Fusion in the drive train, range, etc.  If I was you I would sit in the Chevy Volt, then sit in the Fusion and maybe even try sitting in the Cmax.  I sat in both the Cmax and the Volt, and the Cmax blew me away in the fit, comfort, and dashboard.  

 

I think #1 you need to like the way the car looks and feels inside, if you don't then it doesn't matter what the EV range is for example. I chose the Cmax over the volt and would do so any day in a heartbeat.

 

-=>Raja.


Edited by rbort, 02 August 2015 - 07:09 PM.


#11 OFFLINE   Taz

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Posted 02 August 2015 - 08:31 PM

Also, until the battery is depleted (after 50-odd miles), the Volt never needs to engage the gas engine for any reason, even under full acceleration, heavy A/C use, and/or steep inclines. Driving my Fusion Energi requires a lot of patience as compared to my Volt if I don't want to use gas.

 

If you are experiencing conditions where the motor is starting on the Energi, most likely it is under circumstance where gas might be efficient than electrons. So if you are running purely electric, you will definitely see a huge draw down of your battery capacity in these instances.

 

In pure EV mode, my C-max does 0-60 in about 15 seconds or so. This isn't exactly setting the earth on fire that is for sure but it's 0-30 time is pretty decent without even flooring it. It is all that wonderful right at the start torque the electric motors put out that makes it feel pretty peppy.  With the motor running and in conjunction with the electric motors it is pretty quick 0-60, in the high 7 second range.

 

Even with the bigger battery pack of the Volt, you aren't going to want to floor it all the time or dive at 80 mph. If I drive more cautiously I get 6 mile per kWh. If I don't, I am around 4 mile/kWH and if I through caution to the wind, then I am in the 3's.

 

The GO times mentioned upstream are very useful. I also love the fact that I can adjust them with my phone, start, lock and unlock the car from the my ford mobile app. At also tells me where the car is (great when my wife once parked it a HUGE shopping area and didn't pay attention when she walked away) and also tracks your trips with respect to efficiency. 

 

Based on your usage, Raja's suggestion to check out a C-max might be a good one. The auto park feature is great on mine, I love the front and rear parking sensors, the panoramic roof would be awesome for tweens and it is a very fun to drive car in a very nimble package (18" shorter than Fusion and about 60lbs less weight). It has a ton of headroom and drives like a taller Focus which is already one of the best cars in its class. 

In Sacramento the liquid cooled battery pack won't be as much of a value as if you lived in Barstow or Phoenix. There are a lot of good things to like about the Volt. It will be interesting to see if the motor changes are as much as Chevy plays them up to be. I'll likely test drive one but I really like how well Ford has improved their interiors. The materials are nice and fit and finish is pretty good. I would sort of classify them as an "American Audi" when it comes to their interior design. I think Audi generally nails it when it comes to interiors in the last 10 years. Better than my recent MBs, BMWs or Porsches.  I end up in a ton of rental cars as well and most of the GM cars feel cheap and plasticky until you get into a Corvette or Caddy.  

 

I would seriously think about a BEV in more depth. Based on your commute and a second car already, the typical 80 mile range would likely be more than enough. The electric Focus is a steal right now. It is very quick and smooth. Pretty fast recharge times as they have twice the rate of charging on 220v compared to the PHEV Fords (likely limitation of the non-liquid cooled battery pack in the PHEVs).

 

Forgot to add one thing. Check the warranties. on the cars as well. I think Ford warranties the drivetrain and batteries for 8/150k in CA. I am not certain about that so double check but that is what one dealer told me. I never verified it with another one. We won't keep the car over 3-4 years so it was a moot point for us.


Edited by Taz, 02 August 2015 - 08:34 PM.

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#12 OFFLINE   geohec

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Posted 02 August 2015 - 08:45 PM

@ Blastphemy:  It's good to hear from someone that owns both older vehicles.  Currently, the 2016 Volt is a front runner based on my checklist or I wouldn't have pre-ordered one, but the 2016 Fusion has good reputation for a comfy ride and has some great features and technology as well.  A fully loaded 2016 Fusion titanium costs (per Trucar) about the same as a new Volt and that makes it a compelling competitor. 

 

@ Rbort:  Yes, I will be test driving both before making any decisions.   As I said a few post above, I have driven a rental ST Focus  but I'm not ready to go all EV yet until I see 150-200 mile range because I do make occasional trips to visit family and that trip is about 150 miles away and this vehicle might make that trip occasionally once every few months.  

 

However, if I do keep my curent vehicle around then a new Cmax might do the trick....hmmm,   Wait stay "focus"ed.   Actually, I might want to take that for a spin as well when I'm at the Ford dealership testing the fusion.   But that is 3rd on the list right now...or at least unitl tomorrow :)


Edited by geohec, 02 August 2015 - 08:56 PM.


#13 OFFLINE   jeff_h

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 03:19 AM

You can schedule charging windows on the Volt, and the 2016 will only improve on that.

 

 

You can always unlock the Volt via your smartphone's On*Star app if you want to leave the keyfob in the car.

 

Yes, both cars can schedule charging, but only the Energi schedules the HVAC only.

 

Yes the smartphone app can unlock the car for the Volt and the Energi, but if I'm leaving the fob in the car to avoid having it in my pocket while out running, the smartphone would also be in the car.


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#14 OFFLINE   Taz

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 06:31 AM

You can use the MFM (myfordmobile) website to also remotely lock, unlock, locate and start your car. This could be a real plus when you've locked your keys AND your phone in the car.



#15 OFFLINE   Blastphemy

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 06:45 AM

If you are experiencing conditions where the motor is starting on the Energi, most likely it is under circumstance where gas might be efficient than electrons. So if you are running purely electric, you will definitely see a huge draw down of your battery capacity in these instances.

 

In pure EV mode, my C-max does 0-60 in about 15 seconds or so. This isn't exactly setting the earth on fire that is for sure but it's 0-30 time is pretty decent without even flooring it. It is all that wonderful right at the start torque the electric motors put out that makes it feel pretty peppy.  With the motor running and in conjunction with the electric motors it is pretty quick 0-60, in the high 7 second range.

 

It's not that the gas is more efficient, it's that the Fusion Energi doesn't have the capacity to go up a hill with A/C running at full in 100-degree heat when the battery has less than about 20% left. If I can get home on 100% electricity, it's never more efficient to use gas, especially if the only reason is because the car is struggling to maintain all systems on just the battery. The Volt doesn't have this issue.

 

If the C-Max goes 0-60 in 15 seconds, then it's slower than a Prius! The 2016 Volt can get to sixty in around 8 seconds (2011-2016 is a little over 9 seconds). However, both cars are more than worthy of the green HOV stickers in California, unlike the useless Plug-in Prius with its 5-10 miles of EV range.

 

Yes, both cars can schedule charging, but only the Energi schedules the HVAC only.

 

Yes the smartphone app can unlock the car for the Volt and the Energi, but if I'm leaving the fob in the car to avoid having it in my pocket while out running, the smartphone would also be in the car.

 

Good points. I never use the preconditioning, so I didn't think of that. Perhaps the 2016 Volt will have that feature...?

 

@ Blastphemy:  It's good to hear from someone that owns both older vehicles.  Currently, the 2016 Volt is a front runner based on my checklist or I wouldn't have pre-ordered one, but the 2016 Fusion has good reputation for a comfy ride and has some great features and technology as well.  A fully loaded 2016 Fusion titanium costs (per Trucar) about the same as a new Volt and that makes it a compelling competitor. 

 

The Fusion Energi Titanium is indeed more comfortable than the 2012-2015 Volt, and probably more comfortable than the upcoming 2016. Also, the Volt doesn't have Cooled Front Seats or Adaptive Cruise Control, let alone a useable fifth seat. However, the Volt has ample trunk space (and is a hatchback) unlike the Fusion Energi.

 

The Fusion's sound system is much better than the 2012-2015 Volts, and the traction (or rather lack thereof) around corners is just as bad as the 2012-2015 Volt. No idea if the 2016 Volt has improved its traction over the previous generation. The 2012-2015 Volt also had terrible traction in the rain, but the FFE seems to be a little bit better. The Cadillac ELR (which is based on the Volt) with its 20-inch wheels has superior traction and handling under all weather conditions, but the back seat is cramped and it's not a hatchback, so trunk space is a little limited (but not like the FFE).

 

The new Volt makes up for its lack of certain Ford features with an average 50-mile all-electric range, no need to use the gas until the battery is depleted, more trunk space, and much better acceleration. You should also consider whether you prefer MyFord Touch or Chevrolet MyLink since some people absolutely hate one or the other. (Personally, I like Ford's system better than Chevy's or Cadillac's C.U.E.)



#16 OFFLINE   Taz

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 08:15 AM

It's not that the gas is more efficient, it's that the Fusion Energi doesn't have the capacity to go up a hill with A/C running at full in 100-degree heat when the battery has less than about 20% left. If I can get home on 100% electricity, it's never more efficient to use gas, especially if the only reason is because the car is struggling to maintain all systems on just the battery. The Volt doesn't have this issue.

 

If the C-Max goes 0-60 in 15 seconds, then it's slower than a Prius! The 2016 Volt can get to sixty in around 8 seconds (2011-2016 is a little over 9 seconds). However, both cars are more than worthy of the green HOV stickers in California, unlike the useless Plug-in Prius with its 5-10 miles of EV range.

 

A few quick things. The PHEV Prius would need a sundial to measure its 0-60 acceleration on electric only. It can't go over 62 mph on EV anyway. My 0-60 time was on pure EV mode. Gas mode it is in the high 7 second range.

 

As for efficiency, I'll stand by my earlier comments. Over 45 mph or so is an inefficient use of electricity. I've done a very careful analysis based on the costs where I drive my car. I've compared the cost per kWh and miles per kWh vis a vis the MPG and cost per gallon for gas. If I am in the inefficient range of the pure EV mode, it can cost the equivalent of $5/gal if running on gas. If I am paying $4 a gallon for gas, how is it more efficient to use EV?

 

If keep the EV usage where it is most efficient, I can get 6 miles per kWh vs. 2.6 or so for driving high speeds. So I am spending 12 cents per mile to use EV at high speeds vs. 9 cents per mile on gas. Why would I spend 50% more to use EV just because I could. If I use EV in its most economical mode, I am spending about $2/gal for the equivalent mileage on gas her in California.



#17 OFFLINE   Blastphemy

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 09:49 AM

Currently, the 2016 Volt is a front runner based on my checklist or I wouldn't have pre-ordered one, but the 2016 Fusion has good reputation for a comfy ride and has some great features and technology as well. 

 

I forgot to mention that one of the main reasons I chose the FFE over the Volt was for the power memory seats. I can't believe the 2016 Volt doesn't offer this at any trim level.

 

BTW, final official EPA numbers just came out, and the 2016 Volt was rated at 53 all-electric miles, 106 MPGe, and 42 MPG. That's 53 miles without having to burn a drop of gas at any speed or A/C use. So if that's more important to you than cooled front seats, Adaptive Cruise, etc. then the Volt is the best by far.

 

As for efficiency, I'll stand by my earlier comments. Over 45 mph or so is an inefficient use of electricity. I've done a very careful analysis based on the costs where I drive my car. I've compared the cost per kWh and miles per kWh vis a vis the MPG and cost per gallon for gas. If I am in the inefficient range of the pure EV mode, it can cost the equivalent of $5/gal if running on gas. If I am paying $4 a gallon for gas, how is it more efficient to use EV?

 

I have three goals: (1) avoid gas stations as much as possible, (2) take advantage of time-of-use electric rates, (3) take advantage of my solar panels. When I had a Volt, it cost $1.25 to charge the 35-mile battery completely from empty overnight. When I had an ELR, it cost $1.60 to charge the 37-mile battery completely from empty overnight. In both cars, I could drive to and from work without a drop of gas, no matter how aggressively I drove, and no matter how hot it was outside.

 

Last time I checked, there wasn't any gas station around here that could give me 35 miles of fuel for just $1.25/$1.60! And for sure there's no gas station that will give me the energy for free like my solar panels will. From my perspective, there is no such thing as being "more efficient on gas" when electric power is so inexpensive and covers my entire commute.

 

My 2015 Fusion Energi, on the other hand, although rated at 21 miles per charge, has never achieved that for me, and I've been driving like an old lady with only moderate A/C to even come close. So because I have to fill up 6-8 times per year, that's already more expensive than my Volt or ELR ever were (since I only filled those up 1-2 times per year with the lovely $4.25 California gas).



#18 OFFLINE   stevedebi

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 12:36 PM

@ JeffH:  Go times would actually be a nice feature because 3 months out of the year temperature routinelly are in the 90's and about a dozen + days over 100 degrees.   So that would be a nice feature.   Keyless Entry is also a nice feature though because I do play basketball and go hiking, so not having a heavy keychain to drag around would be nice.   These features aren't game changers but enough of these features could add up. 

 

As for the degradation issue, yes I have it on the pros/cons list because I do plan on keeping the car for many years.   Thanks for the info.

 

@Hybridbear:  Thanks for the info on the power output in acceleration.   Per the specs, it appeared that the volt had more power in EV mode but I was holding off that evaluation on my pro/cons list until I felt the difference myself in my test drive.    I'm not a speed junkie but it would be nice to get on the freeway safely by having adequate acceleration :)

 

Thanks to both of you for the info.   I'll update my features list.   At the end, I'll repost the final version for others to share. :2thumbs:

Be advised that preconditioning the car needs a L2 charger, which requires 220v. The supplied L1 charger cannot cool the car by itself, and will use the HVB percentage instead of the plug in to achieve the comfort level. So if you want to pre-condition, plan on the cost of the L2.



#19 OFFLINE   jeff_h

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 12:55 PM

Be advised that preconditioning the car needs a L2 charger, which requires 220v. The supplied L1 charger cannot cool the car by itself, and will use the HVB percentage instead of the plug in to achieve the comfort level. So if you want to pre-condition, plan on the cost of the L2.

 

That's true -- good point!


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2013 Fusion Titanium Energi Deep Impact Blue

 

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#20 OFFLINE   openair

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Posted 03 August 2015 - 03:45 PM

The supplied L1 charger cannot cool the car by itself, and will use the HVB percentage instead of the plug in to achieve the comfort level. So if you want to pre-condition, plan on the cost of the L2.

In my experience with my 2014 fusion energi, this is not true. While a level 1 does not supply enough power to completely condition the cabin, it does not run the HVB to supply the missing power. It simply does the best it can with the power from the plug. I use level one preconditioning all winter and most of the summer. I have never seen the battery below 100% when it shouldn't have been. A remote start however, being different than a precondition from a go time, does use the HVB or even the ice.

It is my understanding that even a level 2 does not supply adequate power for all precondition scenarios. It is in fact only when the vehicle is plugged into a level 2 that the HVB is used to provide extra climate power to provide a burst of conditioning that will bring the vehicle more quickly to sustaining drain from climate demand (≤800 watts vs few thousand) and then charge the hvb back up again in time for the set go time.

Edited by openair, 03 August 2015 - 03:48 PM.

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