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Review of 3 Popular Plug-In Hybrids Cars: Chevy Volt v. Honda Accord v. Ford Fusion

Chevy Honda Ford Plug in Electric Cars

Did you catch the Los Angeles Times’ article Battle of the Plug-In Hybrids? It’s a long one, so as your San Diego electric car charger installation providers and general go-to experts on all things electric vehicles, we’ve condensed the most important points here.

While the Chevrolet Volt rated highest in efficiency because of the electric-only range of about 38 miles, the Honda Accord and Ford Fusion came out ahead for high-end fit and finish.

Chevrolet Volt

Where Chevy Wins:

1)    Highest Efficiency: has an electric-only range of 38 miles, triple the range of the Honda Accord and double that of the Ford Fusion.

2)    Costs Less: base price of $34,995 for 2014 Models

3)     1.4 Liter gasoline engine to ensure range

4)    Decent engine power, silent and stable ride

5)    After the charge runs out, the gasoline rage extender kicks in, and gets 35 miles per gallon

6)    The engine charges the battery, which powers an electric motor that turns the wheels

7)    Best bet for getting your money’s worth over the long term. Also, has lowest sticker price of the 3 models.

Chevy Drawbacks:

1)    “Feels cheap” by comparison to the Honda and the Ford in terms of driving experience

2)    Cramped interior covered in cheap, shiny plastic with too many tiny, touch-sensitive controls. Seats are too cramped because of the large T-shaped battery positioned underneath, which limits available seats to 4.

3)    Battery placement of the car contributes to the dull exterior styling, with tall doors and windows.

4)    Windows, when down, produce unbearable wind noises similar to a helicopter landing on a roof.

5)    149 horsepower is substantially less than Honda Accord and Ford Fusion Energy

6)    Engine doesn’t always rev when you step on the accelerator. Sometimes it even revs at a high idle when the car is stopped.

Honda Accord

Where Honda Wins

1)    High efficiency, high-end fit and finish.

2)    Shorter, sportier, and larger than older Honda Accord models.

3)    Exterior styling is simple, with clean lines flowing slightly downward from the trunk to the front grille.

4)    Has 4 heated seats, a back-up camera and adaptive cruise control.

5)    The Honda Accord plug-in excels after the charge runs out, with an average of 50MPG.

6)    The combination of the 2.0 liter, 4 cylinder engine, and its lithium ion battery produces a high 196 horsepower.

Honda Drawbacks

1)    Honda built the car more as an engineering exercise than a sales leader, with hopes of selling only 1,100 of them from 2013-14, and only in California and New York. In August, 44 plug-in Accords were sold, compared with 1,152 plug-in Fusions and 3,351 Volts sold.

2)    Only gets about 13 miles out of a charge – about a third of what the Chevrolet Volt gets.

3)    The Accord’s interior consists of mismatched faux-metal trim pieces as well as a cheap-looking plastic wheel.

Ford Fusion Energi

 Where Ford Wins:

1)    Out of the three models, proves the winner in style and comfort, and it paralleled the Honda Accord in driving dynamics.

2)    Has the feel of an expensive luxury car with comfortable cross-stitched leather seats and well-placed metallic and piano-black trim pieces throughout the interior. Also, the Dash controls and entertainment system come in a simple layout and is easy to maneuver.

3)    Distinguished itself in quality and fit and finish. Also keeps out wind and road noises.

4)    Feels heavy when driven, retains stability over bumps with less feel and noise.

Ford Drawbacks:

1)    Ford Fusion proved to be the least efficient of the three models by a good margin, achieving 37MPG over a week of driving, along with an electric-only range of 16 miles.

2)    Has 195 Horsepower, a little below that of the Honda Accord plug-in.

3)    Many customer complaints about the low city and highway driving efficiency, only has 43 MPG.

Author Brian Thevenot concludes that the technology behind hybrids, battery electrics, fuel cells, turbos, hydrogen powered cars will eventually converge. In the meantime, the hybrid model aims to maximize the car’s range with a gas power option, but minimize the costs and pollution of gasoline through use of electric power.

Whichever Electric Vehicle You Choose, Mathewson Electric Handles Your Electric Car Charger Installation

When it comes to cost savings and personal attention, Mathewson Electric beats the dealers every time. San Diego’s premier electric car charger installers, we have the permitting, installation and charging process down for ALL brands: Aeroinvironment, Clipper Creek, Leviton, Blinq and more. We’ve had the privilege of helping new owners of the Nissan Leaf, Fisker Karma, Chevy Volt, Ford Max and Escort,Toyota Prius and even the Tesla S, get out on the road fast. Still contemplating the electric car decision? Feel free to follow our blog, our Facebook page or Google Plus. We review electric cars from time to time and keep owners up on the latest car charging stations to be added in San Diego as well as nationwide legislation pertaining to electric vehicles. We help you get all the benefits from your electric vehicle.

 

Ford Focus EV 2014 Review: A Test Drive in El Cajon

Ford Focus Electric Vehicle

A sporty sedan with great pick-up

The fully electric Ford Focus EV 2014 will give the Nissan Leaf a run for its money, particularly for drivers who prefer American-made.

Since the Focus EV just hit the dealerships in San Diego, I hustled down to El Cajon Ford this weekend to give it a test drive. While the basic model starts at $35,200. I was thrilled when the salesperson, Bobby, opened the door on a top-of-the-line model, which runs around $40,000.

I found the Ford stylish and sporty without getting too other-worldly. I personally think the Nissan Leaf looks like a frog. The Ford’s more conventional body keeps its electric power on the down low or more subtle, where the Nissan’s design seems to scream “look at my cutting-edge electric vehicle!”

As I drove out of the dealership I felt like I was driving into the future.  As a San Diego EV charger installer, I am in the lucky position to see everything from the Fisker Karma to the Chevy Volt up close.  I stepped hard on the pedal going up the freeway entrance ramp. The acceleration was amazing and it was so smooth and quiet. The suspension was smooth and the turning radius tight.

Ford Focus EV – Pricing, Discounts and Incentives in El Cajon

While the basic $35,200 sticker price seems high, the discounts bring out-of-pocket more into line, particularly with a lease. Combine Ford dealership incentives with California and federal government rebates and tax credits and the price comes down significantly.

  • Rebates from the state of California:  $2,500 mailed within 2 weeks of purchase
  • Federal Tax Credit:  $7,500
  • Sticker to drive in carpool lane as a single driver without fees

Bobby explained that with $3,000 down, payments amount to $260 per month for the $40,000 model I took for a spin as long as annual mileage stays under 10,500.  Warranty on the battery is for 10 years or 150,000 miles.

Ford Focus EV Specs

  • Body – Hatch Back
  • Size – Compact
  • Fuel type – Fully Electric and powered by 23khw liquid cooled lithium battery
  • Power143 hp an Torque 184lb-ft
  • Range – 76 miles on each charge (with regenerative braking to maximize range)
  • Top speed -84 mph.
  • Charging time –  under 4 hours
  • EV Charger – Aerovironment Level II
  • Price – $35,200 – $40,000+

Overall, I think the Ford Focus EV is perfect for city drivers who don’t need to haul too much around town. The Nissan Leaf’s trunk space exceeds that of the Ford Focus, but families can still get lots of groceries and/or boxes in the hatch back.

Any questions about the Ford Focus EV before you go for a test drive yourself? Feel free to ask them in the comments below.  If you’re considering a Focus, what’s the other car you’re measuring it against?  Don’t miss our post on Kia Electric Cars Heading to San Diego in 2014 and Subcompact Slapdown: Chevy Spark EV vs. Fiat 500E Electric Cars. In addition to our reviews of electric cars, watch our Facebook and Google+ pages for updates on lighting design, kitchen lighting, bathroom lighting and more.

 

Subcompact Slapdown: Chevy Spark EV v. Fiat 500e Electric Car Reviews

Chevy Spark EV Electric Car

Chevy Spark EV

If you are considering buying an electric vehicle, InsideEVs.com’s most recent newsletter has lots of great information. In their article, “Plugin Subcompact Comparison: Chevy Spark EV vs Fiat 500E,” the Fiat wins by a nose. Geared towards younger EV drivers, the 500e’s sporty look seduced the writer . While it also costs $5,000 dollars more than Chevy spark EV ‘s sticker price of $27,500, the 500e comes with a sunroof, a feature the Chevy designers sidestepped but the writer loved.

On top of the affordable $999 down and $199 per month lease rate, Fiat is also offering an interesting promotion: free car rentals. Under the Fiat 500e-pass program, all new car leases come with up to 12 days of free car rentals each year for the first 3 years.

Fiat Electric Car

The Fiat 500-E Electric is due to arrive summer 2013

Car rental companies working with Fiat are Alamo Enterprise and National Car Rentals. Chevy does not offer this. Considering that a larger sedan or even a truck would come in handy a few days of the year, Fiat’s free car rental promotion is brilliant.

The 500e takes less than 4 hours for a full charge with a level 2 charging station. Charging for the EV spark level 2 does not yet exist. Wow! The 500e gets 87 miles of range from a 24kwh lithium pack. EV spark gets 82 miles of range from a 21kwh battery. The interior of the 500e is more comfortable than the EV spark too.

If a subcompact just reminds you too much of a Lego car, stay tuned.  Tesla is coming out with a full size SUV crossover, the Model X.