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Ford gathers data from the MyFord Mobile app

Ford is looking to pour ice-cold water all over Toyota’s hybrid hot streak and is making some very good progress with its current lineup. The Fusion Hybrid and C-Max are both rated at 47 mpg EPA combined (however, those numbers are highly suspect in real-world testing).  But more importantly, both vehicles look more like traditional vehicles instead of wind tunnel-sculpted tadpoles on wheels.
Ford is stepping up its efforts even with further with the “Energi” plug-in versions of those aforementioned hybrids. Both the C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi can travel 21 miles on battery power alone before falling back on the 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine. Using data gathered from its MyFord Mobile App (available for the Fusion Energi, C-Max Energi, and Focus Electric), Ford has been able to determine just how customers are using their new plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Fusion Energi
Ford was able to determine that nearly 60 percent of the trips that drivers make are gas-free (the figure stood at 41 percent earlier in the year). As drivers become more familiar with their vehicles, how far they can travel on battery-only power, and learn where charging stations are located, the "gas-free" percentages start to creep even higher.
“The daily percent driven in electric mode continues to inch upward, suggesting drivers are using the information provided by MyFord Mobile to change how they drive and really get the most out of their vehicles,” says Joe Rork, project manager for MyFord Mobile.
Other data gathered from the MyFord Mobile App shows that the average charge time for a Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi is 185 minutes, and that most drivers search for charging stations between noon and 2 p.m. Not surprisingly, the most actively searched areas for charging stations include “green hotbeds” like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, and the northeast corridor.
Ford hopes to use the wealth of data that it gathers to help improve the functionality of both the MyFord Mobile app and the next generation of plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Source: Ford

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By JPForums on 7/31/2013 1:39:30 PM , Rating: 2
Lets try a more reasonable scenario.
I believe I saw a link below that showed the driving habits of the average U.S. driver netted around 13500 miles per year. To make it easier lets use 15000.
The original post made a statement about going from 40 mpg to 50 mpg , so lets use these two numbers directly.
You mention a fuel price of $4/gal. We'll go with that.

Traveling 15000 miles with a 40 mpg car at $4/gal would cost $1500 a year.
Traveling 15000 miles with a 50 mpg car at $4/gal would cost $1200 a year.
So, someone who travels a little more than the U.S. average would only make up $300 per year by moving from a 40 mpg to a 50 mpg car.
The difference rises to $400 per year for the same vehicles traveling 20000 miles per year.

To break even in 10 years, the price difference between these cars can only be $3000 or $4000 respectively. If you are a 40000 mile per year driver you can break even from a $4000 price difference in about 5 years, but you've still put 200000 miles on the vehicle. The universal here is that at $4/gal it takes 200000 miles of travel just to break even if the difference in cost is $4000 no matter how many miles you drive per year. That's more than half the life of the car any way you slice it.

Consider also, if you take out a loan, the actual cost difference has to be less. Furthermore, at this point you have to consider the differences in maintenance and whether one will wear better than the other, but I digress. If you want a significant difference, you have to increase your fuel economy by more than the 25% represented by a move from 40 mpg to 50 mpg. Your example, representing a better than 50% increase in fuel economy starts to make a little more sense as you are looking at less than 100000 miles to break even.

By alpha754293 on 7/31/2013 2:44:42 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm...interesting. It won't let me reply anymore.

By JPForums on 7/31/2013 2:56:24 PM , Rating: 2
That's too bad. Though, my analysis really just showed that each of you were correct for your particular scenario.

It did occur to me that the increase in fuel prices over time would probably cancel out the cost of financing. Depending on your interest rate, the length of financing, and how fast you put the miles on the vehicle, you could end up behind or ahead here.

By alpha754293 on 8/1/2013 9:15:49 AM , Rating: 2
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed here are solely that of my own and are not representative of Ford Motor Company or its affiliates.

Yeah, I typically start my analysis assuming that the price of gas is constant. I've done the analysis before where I assumed a 3% annual inflation rate for the cost of gas, and it can really make a difference.

Thankfully, the actual gas prices haven't followed that trend, but the one week here where there was a supply shortage in Michigan and we suddenly shot up from like $3.61 state-wide average to $4.256 state-wide average, I'll admit it - I was feeling a little good about driving a hybrid then, cuz I didn't have to gas up nearly as much. In fact, I was able to nearly ride the whole wave out without having to fill up smack dab at the height of its peak.

I'm finances for 72-months right now (6 years) at 1.49%, and my current running average is 676.92 miles/week (which will go back up to ~800 miles/week once the regular school year starts back up again).

And I fully agree that if you only drive 5500 miles/year, then hybrids probably isn't for you.

By alpha754293 on 8/1/2013 9:17:06 AM , Rating: 2
Let's try splitting up my post and see if that'll work.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed here are solely that of my own and are not representative of Ford Motor Company or its affiliates.

All this really shows is what we already know - if you're alreadya high mileage driver, then hybrids makes more sense for you.

There's no debating that.

And there's two ways of looking at that. Well...three.

1) If you only drive 15k miles/year, and IF the price difference between the non-hybrid version of car A and the hybrid version (hopefully of car A to make the comparison fair) is $3000, then it takes 10 years to make up the difference. Sure (and again, there's no debating that either). But, as I have also already illustrated, the difference between the Fusion Titanium non-hybrid and the Fusion Titanium Hybrid is $2000 (MSRP), so that CAN actually be accomplished.

2) If you're already going to be doing 40k miles/year, than regardless of the car, in 5 years, you're still going to be putting 200k miles on the car. The question then isn't that you're going to be putting that much (because you're going to be doing it anyways, because your needs dictate that), but how much is it going to cost you in gas to do that?

By alpha754293 on 8/1/2013 9:18:40 AM , Rating: 2
3) What that also means is that okay, the first 5 years, you are making up the difference between the cost of the hybrid and the non-hybrid. But what happens AFTER you've passed the break-even point? What does that mean for you then? (See, notice how people mostly talk about "how long does it take for me to make up for the difference in initial cost?" but very few people then further extend the question to "what does it mean AFTER I've broken even?") ;) Think about that one.

The engineers for the original Prius wasn't sure how long the battery was going to last, so they designed the battery electronics control module to be VERY conservative and there are still cars that are running around that were the original North American Prius, 16 years later.

By alpha754293 on 8/1/2013 9:20:30 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure how long the Li-ion battery is going to last, but honestly, I'm sure that there were same kinds of thoughts that were running through people's heads and minds when the first Prius launched in North America. Some would be willing to take that risk. Others aren't. And there's nothing quantitative that I can do about that. Heck, I'm sure that was the same kind of thinking when the first car showed up ( doesn't seem to like the name of it) 127 years ago. And look at where we are now.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

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