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Sunday October 16, 2022 – Mustang Mach-e Review

Sunday September 18, 2022 – EVFinder Goes BEV

Sunday February 13, 2022 ADM or Order?

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     Sunday October 16, 2022 – Mustang Mach-e Review - It has been a month since I picked up my Mustang Mach-e and in that time, I have driven it over 1,000 miles. So far, apart from the learning curve, I have had no problems with it at all.

I was a little concerned that I only had a 110V outlet available for my charger and while it will run on 220V I still need to get an outlet installed in my garage. My daily driving would not be a problem as I only drive between 5 and 15 miles per day most of the time and I can easily add that much charge overnight on 110V.

My concern is that on weekends we sometimes drive from the San Fernando Valley to Anaheim to pick up our grandson on Friday and drop him off back home on Sunday. During the weekend we run him around to visit places and do fun activities which would take us over the 242 miles EPA estimated range.

I had estimated that I would get about 3 miles per kilowatt hour on the freeway runs but, because traffic is usually bad when we are travelling, I have actually been averaging between 3.7 and 4.4 miles per kilowatt hour. Today I set off from home with 206 miles of estimated range showing on Mach-e. After running some errands in the morning and then stopping for Lunch before we set off, I did the round trip and returned home with 96 miles of range showing and the battery indicating it was 36% full.

Freeway driving was a mix of 65 – 75 miles per hour sprints, with long stretches at 55 – 65mph, interspersed with stretches of stop and go. Of course, the faster you go the less your range will be as it takes a lot more energy to push aside the air at say 80mph than it does at 45mph. I just read a post on the Mach-e forum who was complaining about how his range at full charge was dropping and was now well below the EPA range. It turned out that he was getting on the freeway, accelerating hard up to 80mph and cruising at that speed.

Over the past weeks I have taken a little time to experiment with the different modes but found that regenerative braking appeared to be hard in both Unbridled mode and Whisper mode so I have decided to stick with Engaged mode for now. I also tried one pedal driving but couldn’t get the braking smooth. It seemed that I was not braking hard enough or braking too hard. I have used one pedal driving before on a test drive of a BMW i3 and really liked it but had more problems trying to get it right with the Mach-e. I intend to do more testing before I abandon it altogether but for now, I have one pedal driving turned off.

I saw posts on the Mach-e forum that complained about the ride quality of the Mach-e saying it was bouncy. I haven’t found this to be the case although, since the car is relatively heavy, I have to be careful going over speed bumps and rough road.

In general, the Mach-e seats are quite comfortable although I am still experimenting to get the seat position just right. The large screen makes using things like the reversing camera and navigation much better than I had on my Plug-in Prius. The reversing camera has lines so that I can see where I am going and there are also sensors all around that beep if I get too close to anything.

In driving the car has plenty of acceleration to make merging into traffic, changing lanes, or overtaking easy. Having said that, I tend not to mash the accelerator too often as it also drags down efficiency and in the end lowers range.

Another feature I really like is blind spot monitoring which lets me know if there is a car in my blind spot by flashing an amber light in the mirror. I have found this to be pretty useful when changing lanes. It does tend to stay on a little longer than necessary but that helps prevent me from cutting off another driver. A similar feature is the cross-traffic indicator which flashes a light on the reversing camera picture to indicate that there is something crossing behind me as I back out of a parking space. I once ignored this and started to back out but the car automatically braked and stopped me from backing into another car. Safety features like this are really great.

Handling is quite good for an SUV and it does seem to have a really tight turning circle which helps a lot when I miss my turn and have to do a U-turn. The power steering is precise and doesn’t feel too light. The steering wheel can be adjusted and I found that in some positions it did interfere with my view of the dash, but I found that my preferred location gives me a good view.

There are a few things that I don’t like about the car.

The car has power seat adjustment for the driver but not for the passenger. That means my wife couldn’t raise the front passenger seat and she likes to sit up high. I think this is one of the compromises on the Select model and other trim levels do have power for both front seats so it was my assumption that both seats would have it that is the real issue.

A big failing on Ford’s part is the lack of any place to tow the car from the rear. The car must be towed from the front but because of space limitation in my garage I have to park the car nose in which will make it very difficult if I ever need a tow. It should be noted that some cars have been towed using the battery rails at the rear and this has caused in excess of twenty thousand dollars in damage.

Another poor design choice is the location of the auxiliary battery. To access the battery the Fronk has to be opened which requires 12V to be placed across a couple of wires under the front bumper. The Fronk compartment has then to be partially disassembled to access the battery. Personally, I would give up some space in the Fronk to have the Aux battery more easily accessible. The Frunk is big enough to hold a couple of bags of groceries but is opened by pulling a leaver by the driver’s left foot. I find it useful if I have just a few items to cary.

Placing the car in Neutral is also a bit tricky. The car has a Neutral position on the dial that lets me select Park, Reverse, and Drive, but I have been led to believe that if you engage neutral then exit the car it will automatically switch to park (I haven’t verified this). If I want to leave the car in neutral then I need to push a button marked L in the center of the drive selector which will then lock the car in neutral for 30 minutes. If I need to hold it in neutral for longer than that then I have to go into the main screen and place the car in Tow Mode. Earlier in the week I took my Mach-e to the car wash and was quite surprised that they already knew how to put the car in neutral and the wash went off without a hitch.

On the whole I am very happy with mu purchase and can recommend the Mach-e Mustang to anyone who wants a fun SUV with plenty of capability and enough range for most people.

Sunday September 18, 2022 – EVFinder Goes BEV - After many years of supporting EVs I finally went full BEV when I picked up a Ford Mustang Mach-e from Galpin Ford last Thursday. 


First a little history.  I began evfinder because I was concerned about the effects of air pollution and saw electric vehicles as a solution.  My situation was such that I wasn’t able to drive and electric car myself but I was able to help others find an EV.  In 2005 I moved up to a Toyota Prius and while this wasn’t capable of being charged, it did use electric power to greatly improve mpg and reduce my carbon footprint.  In 2012 I was finally able to add a plug when I purchased a Plug-in Prius to replace my original Prius.  I didn’t have anywhere to charge it then, but soon there were public charging stations popping up and I started getting to do a good portion of my drive on electric power.


In 2019 I finally moved into a house where I had a garage and could charge my car.   The Prius Plug-in was now being driven mostly on battery power but I still decided that I wanted to go fully electric. I started my search in January this year and I finally got my wish.


In an earlier blog post I wrote about the issues I had finding a BEV that didn’t come with a huge mark-up.  I had looked at my local dealer, Galpin Ford, who said they would charge a mark-up on cars that were dropped orders but would honor the MSRP for a car ordered through Ford.  Back in February I finally placed an order for a Mach-e Select in Grabber Blue.  The anticipated wait was 6 to 9 months.


Ford provides a web site that I subscribed to that showed the status of my order and notified me of any changes.  I went onto this website periodically and eventually I got a build date, or at least a build week.  That changed a couple of times due to a recall that Ford had to respond to but eventually the status changed to build in progress.  After what seemed like a long wait the status changed again to say that they car had shipped and I got a confirmation date with an estimated delivery in early September.   This date slipped a couple of times but eventually I got an email from Ford saying that the car was at Galpin Ford.


I called the sales person I was assigned to, Matthew Sanes, and he said that the car hadn’t been entered into their system yet but promised to call me back.  He did call back about an hour later saying the car was there and he could deliver it that afternoon.  My wife and I had an appointment for 2:30pm and I drove down there in the Prius Plug-in that I planned to trade in.  Matthew first took us over to take a look at the car, which was sitting on a charger, to do a quick walk around and get some pictures. 


The sales process was pretty painless and we were out of there in record time.  I can only say my experience with Galpin Ford was exceptional.


My first impression of driving the car was a little mixed.  I am still getting used to the car and after driving a Prius for so long (17 years altogether), driving an SUV was quite a change.  After leaving the dealership I couldn’t resist hitting the accelerator on a clear stretch of road and feel the surge of torque. 


The car was originally set to Whisper mode which is the most fuel efficient of the three available driving modes on the Mach-e.  Whisper mode makes heavier use of regenerative braking and I found that the brakes were kind of jerky.  My wife even complained that the ride was making her feel sick.  I eventually switched over to Engaged mode that is the medium setting.  I found this much smoother so I have been using this mode since then. 


I haven’t tried Unbridled mode, the most aggressive mode, but will experiment over the next few weeks.  I will also have to experiment with one pedal braking which I have only experienced once before on a test drive of a BMW i3.  I will publish a more detailed test drive report when I have had more time to drive the car and experiment with the features.


After 4 days of ownership and about 35 miles of driving my initial impressions of this car is very good.  It is definitely a step up in comfort and technology from the Prius Plug-in.  There are a couple of things that I am not sold on.  The first is the drive shifter which is a nob that you rotate from Part to Reverse to Neutral to Drive which seems a bit clunky compared to the Prius joystick shifter.  The main manual comes online which pretty much means sitting in the car to read it.  I might have to find one online so I can read it at my leisure.


I did have an issue setting up the garage door opener buttons on the car.  The first one set up with no problem but the second one appeared to fail to program.  Matthew at Galpin offered to have me bring it in and he would help me figure it out, but it looks like it may have been user error.  I looked up programming the buttons on the Mach-e forum and one hint said that the programming could fail if the gate opener batteries were weak.  A new battery in the clicker appeared to fix the issue so both buttons are working great now.


When the car was delivered it wasn’t quite full so I put the car on charge when I was not using it.  My charger is a 110V/220V but right now I am only using it at 110V.  The charger was adding a little over 3 miles per hour to the vehicle and that was about what I was expecting.  I charged the car up to 95% and it gave me an estimated range of 231 miles which is a bit better than expected.  I am currently showing consumption of about 3.7 miles per KWH but this will probably drop quite a bit, as will the estimated range, when I get the car out on the freeway.


The big challenge comes next weekend when I have to drive down to Anaheim, about 48 miles each way, to pick up our grandson for the weekend.  I will then be travelling around over the weekend including a trip over to Burbank, before taking him home on Sunday.  It will be interesting to see how this is handled using only 110V charging and will determine if I have to install a 220V line for the charger.  I will report on this along with additional review of the Mach-e shortly.

Sunday February 13, 2022 – ADM or Order? - When I first founded evfinder.com I was an ICE car driver who thought that electric vehicles were a good solution to the pollution issues caused by ICE cars.  I tried to lease an EV1 but I was an apartment dweller with nowhere to install a charger so my lease request was denied. 


I began to realize how difficult it would be to own an electric car without somewhere to charge.  My solution was a hybrid, it couldn’t be plugged in but at least it got really good fuel consumption.  In 2012 I upgraded to a plug-in Prius but it was mostly driven as a conventional hybrid.  Things began to change and public chargers became more and more common here in the Los Angeles area.  More and more of the time my car was being driven on electric rather than using gas.


Then I moved into a house with a garage.  Suddenly I was hardly ever using public charging anymore.  I charge up the car after it has been used and I am ready for my next drive.  BEVs are also becoming more common and EV range has gotten bigger and bigger so many cars can now do more than 200 miles on a charge.


I have been keeping my eye on the market for a while and really like the Mach-e Mustang but there is a long backlog of orders and current chip shortage is not helping.  This weekend I decided to take a look at some other options.  I found that the local kia dealership had a number of Niro EVs in stock.  I went over there and was shown a Niro and asked if I wanted to take a test drive.  I took a look at the sticker and the sales lady told me that they have a $5,000 ADM (Additional Dealer Markup) on this car.  I decided to keep looking and walked out of the dealership.


My search led me to the local Ford Dealership.  I noticed that they had a Mach-e and 2 Escape Plug-in hybrids in their inventory.  I tried to contact a sales person that my stepson recommended but he didn’t return my calls or texts so in the end I contacted another sales person.  I was told that the Mach-e wasn’t for sale.  As for the two Escape PHEVs they both had an ADM of $3,000 and the sales lady made it clear that negotiation wasn’t an option.


Then I had a thought.  Costco and AAA both have auto purchase programs so I tried those.  I went through both programs including EVs that I knew dealerships had in stock but in all cases I found that neither program found any cars that I was interested in, or even a couple that I knew were out of my price range.  In all cases I came up with a message saying that they had no dealerships with a pricing agreement.  Tesla, which is also outside my price range, is not included at all in these buying schemes as it does not use a dealership model.


I also hopped onto Autotrader to see If any dealers in the vicinity had vehicles in stock.  I found a couple of VW dealerships that appeared to have Id.4 models in stock but when I contacted them it appeared that all they had was a demo model that was not for sale and were using them as bait to get orders for the car.


My search also turned up a dealer that appeared to have several Mach-e in stock and a dealer that had quite a few Kia Niro in their inventory. 


I browsed the inventory of the Ford dealer and found a Mach-e that was just what I was looking for except the color which would have been my third color choice.  I passed information saying I was interested in this car and asked for their sales price.  The answer I got back was that they had a $7,500 ADM.  Once again, I said no thanks.


Something similar went on at the Kia dealer.  In this case it appeared that they had 26 Kia Niro in inventory so I thought it might be a good chance they would have little or no ADM but I was wrong, ADM was $9,000 for the Niro I liked.  I emailed back saying no thanks.


At this point my wife said “you really want the Mach-e why don’t you just order the one you want and wait for it”.  I told her that the local dealer had said 6-9 months but with the current situation it could be over a year, and she said “so what?”.


I went onto the Ford site and ordered the Mach-e I wanted and allocated the sale to our local Ford dealer who had already said they would honor the MSRP for vehicles ordered directly from Ford.


The following day I checked my emails and there was a reply from the salesman selling the Kia Niro that said “If I could get you MSPR could you pick the car up tonight?”  Since it was already the following day, I thanked him and told him I had decided to wait for a Mach-e I had on order.


On Friday I got an email from the internet sales manager at my selected dealership asking me contract them right away as they couldn’t find my reservation.  I emailed back giving them the order number and got an email back saying they had my order and assigning a sales person who would call me soon.  I don’t exactly have a warm fuzzy feeling at the moment although both my wife and stepson have had good experiences with this Ford dealership which is why I selected them in the first place.   


If I was into conspiracy theories, I would think that the high ADM and long order times was a way to delay the move to electric vehicles.  In reality the chip shortage and other supply chain shortages have created the perfect storm of supply issues that allow dealerships to make big money through exorbitant ADMs.  Ford at least is fighting back telling dealers that they will withhold supply from those that jack up prices for cars ordered through them.


I opted not to pay AMD and wait in the long line to get a car.  Other people are in more of a hurry to get their new vehicle so they decide to pay AMD.  Not all dealerships add huge mark-ups but most do for cars that are in demand.  At Ford dealerships there is also big markups on the Ford Bronco so it isn't just EVs that are getting the market.  In a free market economy like ours the only way to stop huge markups is to not pay them but that is your choice.


For now, I am sitting at the end of a very long line of people waiting for their Mach-e order to be fulfilled.  According to the tracker on the Mach-e forum I am something like 2053th in the queue but that number, of course, is likely to be just a small subset of the actual number of people waiting for cars.  Given that Ford sold 2,370 Mach-e in the US during January then as long as the Forum tracker is greater than 10% of the actual reservation then I should be OK to get my car this year – I will update when I have more information.

Noel from Van Nuys, CA wrote - I checked the web site and found I had been given a build date of the week starting July 11, but this was changed after the "Stop Sale due to the recall" and is now sitting at the week beginning July 28, 2022.  Keep in mind that once the car is built it will need to be shipped from the factory in Mexico to the US then eventually to the dealership here in California.  If all goes as planned it should be here some time between the end of August and mid September.

On 8/5/2022 Noel from Van Nuys, CA wrote - This is disappointing! - I just got an email from Ford saying that because of parts shortages my car has not been built yet.  The email went on to say that they will let me know the status every 45 days so it doesn't look like the car is likely to be built any time soon.  I checked the status on the Ford web site and it still says that the build is scheduled for the week beginning 7/25/2022.

On 8/15/2022 Noel from Van Nuys, CA wrote - I just got an email from Ford saying the Mach-e that I ordered is built and being prepared for shipping.  The estimate it should arrive at the dealership between 8/23/2022 and 8/29/2023.  I am somewhat skeptical of this date given that it has to ship by rail from Mexico via Kansas City but I hope it gets here soon.