Friday, May 11, 2012

Ford Focus Electric Go Further Tour

The last week of April I had the opportunity to drive the new 2012 Ford Focus all electric EV. The ride and drive is parts of Ford’s Go Further Tour getting drivers behind the wheel of EV’s. I have to say I have always been a big Ford fan, and through most of my life had some type of Ford vehicle (mostly trucks) in addition to some type of alternative fueled vehicle or EV.

The strategy for the Go Further Tour is very simple and effective. The event I attended was held in Long Island NY at one of the busier malls. I feel this is great marketing strategy as the event reached a large and diverse number of people. The set up was simple, great interactive displays where the main exhibit was placed. The exhibit uses a cargo container that folds up nicely into a compact unit for travel. On top is a solar array supplying power. To charge the vehicles during the tour when charge stations are not available on location the crew has a trailer with a diesel genset. On hand the helpful staff displayed 4-5 Ford EV’s lined up for test drives. The Go Further Tour has planned test drives for New York, Chicago, Boston, Raleigh, San Francisco, Austin and Houston in the coming weeks and months. The EAA will post the location and dates of the events as we are notified.

The Ford Focus EV at first glace is an eye catching vehicle. It's built on the same assembly line in where all gasoline Focuses are produced and looks the same as its ICE counter part. Aside from a couple of chrome "Electric" door badges, and the charging port on the left front fender, you'd never know this was electric Vehicle. The Ford EV was much more than I expected. The seating was comfortable, controls and display arranged nicely. The test drive was better than I expected. The vehicle had plenty of power and really took off, throttle control smooth and even. Baking was smooth, as you pressed the brake the Brake Coach located on the left side of the dash can help you can maximize the range. Ford has tuned the regenerative braking to be aggressive, but not so aggressive that you would notice much. I found the braking to be smooth, unfortunately one-pedal driving isn't possible.

The Focus Electric uses a 23-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and a 107-kilowatt (143-horsepower) electric motor. In comparison the Nissan LEAF has a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery and an 80 –kilowatt motor (107 – horsepower) electric motor. The EPA rates the Focus Electric at 76 miles of range and 105 MPGe, or miles-per-gallon-equivalent. The Ford specifications from the website advertise 100 miles of range which is similar to the rating of the LEAF.

The Focus Electric charger operates at up to 6.6 KW, it will fully recharge the battery pack in no more than four hours when using a 240-Volt Level 2 charging. There is no option at this time for DC quick charging.

Unlike other EV’s the battery pack in the Focus is liquid-cooled, which should make it more resilient to extremes variations of outside temperatures.

The Focus Electric is now available for purchase at one of our Electric Vehicle (EV) Certified dealers. Only a limited number will be produced for the 2012 model year. The Ford EV comes with SYNC® with MyFord Touch® technology, Ford collaborated with MapQuest® to provide custom routes with features like EcoRoute.

In my opinion and from test driving many electric vehicles Ford has manufactured a solid vehicle with styling and performance to meet the needs of the EV driver. I’m sold and I want one!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Long Island and Green Energy

Long Island NY is known for many things from miles of sandy beaches, to the lavish playground of the rich and famous in the Hampton’s, farmlands and vineyards just to name a few. Often we over look what takes place right around us and just how close to home things really are. When we think of “green energy “ and “electric vehicles” We think of the west coast, like California and not so much as here in our home in Long Island.

Back in May I decided to take a drive to the North Fork of Long Island for a change of pace and in search of Biofuel for my Ford F250 6.0L diesel truck. I know that Burt’s Reliable fuel oil on the east end supplies biodiesel in blends of B20 and B100. With a quick call I confirmed their pump was still operating dispensing B100 Biodiesel.
Burt’s uses a traditional pump with grade selection similar to any gas station when fueling up with gasoline. Just fill up like any other vehicle. What is exciting about this is any existing diesel can use biodiesel with no modifications. Always before fueling up, check with your manufactures warranty for the grade of biodiesel recommended. In most cases there is no ill effect using the higher percentages of biodiesel, but on a newer vehicle it is best to follow the recommendations. Since my Ford F250 2004 was new right off the show room I have used mostly B100 in the vehicle. Now 2011, 217,000 miles later the truck is still going strong.

Being an advocate for green energy and electric vehicles it’s exciting to see what Long Island has to offer. Further in my travel to my surprise, I passed a Mini-e all electric vehicle parked in a parking lot right off the main road. I thought to myself “how cool is this!”, made a quick turnaround back to the parking lot to view the car. I figured the owner had to be close by as I searched the local stores. I soon met Cliff Saunders the owner of the Mini-e car number 249. Cliff is the owner of Cliff's Elbow Room restaurant and cafĂ© 1549 Route 25, Jamesport NY. Cliff was very happy to speak about his EV and the great experiences he has had with the Mini-e. Cliff is a big advocate of EV’s and can attest to the reliability and ease an EV is for his driving. With over a 100 mile range, Cliff has no problem getting to where he needs to go.

Long Island has vast acres and miles of farmland and vineyards with plenty of wind year round. It was only fitting to see a windmill out in the middle of Osprey's Dominion Vineyard. Not only is this state-of-the-art winery commitment to fine winemaking, they are also committed to the environment. I have known the owner and the former wine maker for some time, and their commitment to a truly green operation. For many years now Osprey's Dominion has powered there vehicles on B100 biodiesel. In 2006-2008 I would deliver biodiesel to there facility to run all their diesel equipment and even the hot water pressure washer.

Upon visiting this time I was amazed and excited to see a newly erected 20Kw wind generator on the property. This was only fitting and even the next step to running a green vineyard. To see this was viewing a piece of art, a pleasurable structure, clean and quiet as it rotated producing free energy. This was the perfect example showing the simplicity of operation and I hope an inspiration to many of the other vineyards and farms.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I would like to challenge Orange County Choppers, Siemens and the Smart Chopper to a head to head competition against the Electric Cruiser and anyone else that wants to join. Let’s have a fun challenge and see If the Smart chopper can own up to its claims. I have to commend Orange County Choppers on building an amazingly well designed and beautiful looking bike. As far as the design and styling goes it is first class.

As far as claiming to building the “first custom electric American chopper”, it is not the first. Others have built bikes and choppers. For example, the Electra Cruiser both prototype 1 and prototype 2 have been on the road since 2001. Maybe the cruiser does not have a radical raked out front end but that is where the difference stops. Otherwise the Cruiser is an all American bike using Harley style components.

While looking at the numbers and the specifications the numbers just do not add up. They claim the bike is only 350 pounds. If you look at the weight for the 8” Advanced DC series wound motor they claim to use it weighs a minimum of 107 pounds. Next looking at the batteries, they are using 6 AGM DieHard 12 volt batteries. These weigh about 50 pounds each (6 x 50 = 300 pounds). Looking at just the motor and batteries alone the weight is over 407 pounds. Add on top of that the tires, frame, drive system, motor controller, wiring, brakes and the charger this bikes number just do not add up.

I find the claims of 60-mile range and a 100 mph top speed hard to believe with standard lead AGM batteries. The cruiser for example has achieved a 60-mile range but under ideal conditions, using double the stored battery energy. My estimates are that the Smart Chopper has about 5400 watt-hrs of stored energy where as the cruiser has 13800 watt-hrs. So essentially can look these numbers as the size of the fuel tank ( just as an example: 5.4 gallons compared to 13.8 gallons).

So what do you think? OCC are you up for a fun challenge? Do you think your bike has what it takes?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Electric vehicle classes at SUNY Farmingdale

Carl Vogel has just been selected to teach a set of electric vehicle courses at SUNY Farmingdale for fall of 2010. Class will teach the students all they need to know about vehicle design, systems, batteries, motors, controllers, and so much more. Would love your input on what you would like the class to cover.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle by Me!


A step-by-step guide to building an electric motorcycle from the ground up Click here for Barnes and Noble Link.
Written by alternative fuel expert Carl Vogel, this hands-on guide gives you the latest technical information and easy-to-follow instructions for building a two-wheeled electric vehicle—from a streamlined scooter to a full-sized motorcycle.
Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle puts you in hog heaven when it comes to hitting the road on a reliable, economical, and environmentally friendly bike. Inside, you'll find complete details on every component, including motor, batteries, and frame. The book covers electric motorcycles currently on the market and explains how to convert an existing vehicle. Pictures, diagrams, charts, and graphs illustrate each step along the way. Whether you want to get around town on a sleek ride or cruise the super slab on a tricked-out chopper, this is the book for you.
Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle covers:
  • Energy savings and environmental benefits
  • Rake, trail, and fork angle
  • Frame and design
  • Batteries and chargers
  • DC and AC motor types
  • Motor controllers
  • Accessories and converters
  • Electrical system and wiring
  • Conversion process
  • Safety, maintenance, and troubleshooting


Carl Vogel is the president of Vogelbilt Corporation, a research, engineering, and development company for alternative fuels, alternative fueled vehicles and EV's. Vogelbilt is in the process of building a renewable fueling station. Carl is also the president of the Greater NY Electrical Auto Association and board of director for the national Electric Auto Association. Prior to that, he worked at Festo Corporation and Curtis instruments, planning and designing robotic and programmable logic controller applications, as well as designing test equipment for electric vehicles. Carl also teaches at SUNY Farmingdale, expanding the electric vehicle and fuel cell operations on campus. Carl has a background in agriculture, business and over 25 years as a marine technician.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Diesel Motorcycle

I think my next project, one of a few will be a full-sized diesel motorcycle for full production. I see this not as just a vehicle for the USA, but for many third world countries. The diesel can run on multiple clean cheap fuels. With the new technology, diesels are clean and efficient. Any thoughts on this?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hybrid Electric Boat

Contemplating building an hybrid electric boat. Some ideas are to use an efficient diesel generator system with bio fuel, solar and a custom electric outboard motor with a 100hp electric motor. The boat will house an array of batteries. Any thoughts, suggestions or ideas?

Twitter / Vogelbilt