The trip back up to San Francisco was not nearly as fun as the trip to San Jose. Rather than keeping up with the speedy drivers in the fast lane, the limited range that I got in San Jose meant that I was confined to the slow lane. And not just the slow lane, but the uber slow lane. I maintained a speed of around 55 MPH and tried to brake whenever possible to send more juice to the battery. It was incredibly stressful. I equated the feeling to when the battery in your iPhone says that you are at 10 percent; you do everything possible to keep it alive.
When I made it back to San Francisco the battery gauge said I had three miles until empty, which meant that my fun was over for the day. The Focus Electric was plugged into a standard outlet at a friend’s house and we drove off to dinner in his car.
While my experience with the Focus Electric that first day may automatically put it on the “do not buy” list, the rest of the weekend showed many of its strengths. San Francisco has many charging stations positioned all over the city. Most parking garages had them and they were all free. That quickly translates to emissions free driving, free power and a lack of range anxiety. Also this meant that I could fully tap the performance potential of the Focus Electric. It was an absolute joy to drive up many of San Francisco’s winding roads.
So after a weekend with the Focus Electric I came away with high hopes for the electric vehicle segment as a whole. With the current battery technology and infrastructure, today’s electric vehicles can largely only serve as a second vehicle. For now the best option if you can only afford to have one car, would be to purchase a plug-in hybrid like the Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid. This fall Ford is also releasing plug-in hybrid versions of the C-Max and Ford Fusion.