GetOffYourGas wrote: GRA wrote:
GetOffYourGas wrote:RIP, CMax. My wife and I still love ours, and we plan to keep it another 8-10 years. But I understand why it wasn't successful in the US market. It's small by today's standards (yet still basically the largest affordable PHEV available, including cargo space).
I really hope that Ford follows through with the Escape Energi. The Energi is a great drive train, which lives on (for now) in the Fusion. They just need to package the battery better, and maybe upgrade it with more than 7.6kWh.
I'm curious as to which of these upgrades would be a higher priority for you, and which do you think would be most important for the mass market? IMO, for the mass market getting the battery out of the cargo compartment would be #1, and keeping the price down would take precedence over boosting the range, especially if the Fed. credit goes away. The way I see it, until the price of PHEVs is roughly comparable with ICEs/HEVs, they're simply non-viable in the U.S. absent subsidies, as long as our gas prices remain where they are.
Besides, I think the max. usable
capacity that makes sense from a mass market perspective is about 8.64 kWh (with whatever total capacity above that needed to provide sufficient longevity), i.e. 8 hours of L1 assuming 120V/12A. For 1.44kW and 75% efficiency, that's 1.08kW charge rate into the battery. Depending on the vehicle efficiency, that should provide between 25 and 35 miles AER, covering the routine driving needs of somewhere between 60 and 75% of U.S.drivers. People who want and can afford more AER will pay for it, but until we've got $20k PHEVs with the same space, performance etc. as ICE/HEVs, for mass adoption cost reduction while maintaining the same range is more important than range improvement at a higher price and weight/internal space impact.
Priorities for me and for mass market are two different things.
Which is why I asked the question the way I did, as you've already taken the plunge and are much more into the tech than the typical buyer. I wanted to see if your priorities differed from what I believe they are for the mass market customer. From what you say below it appears to me that they don't, although you're more willing to put up with the compromises than they would be.
First off, I was talking about a theoretically pending Escape Energi. For an Escape, a 7.6kWh battery would likely yield less than 15 miles of AER.
For me personally, the ~20miles of range that my CMax provides is nearly ideal. My household has a PHEV and a BEV, which complement each other nicely. The 20 miles of AER is great for my wife's commute. We do local errands together as a family in the BEV. For longer trips (>200 miles), the difference between 20 and 40 miles AER is small in terms of total gasoline used for the trip. So the answer to your question of my priority - I would prefer better packaging to more range.
For the mass market, I'm not so sure. Most people have much longer commutes than my wife or I do (both of us commute less than 5 miles round trip). It will take a while for people to get their heads around the utility of a PHEV. When they do, they would ideally buy one with an AER to handle their daily commuting/errand needs. What that is will vary greatly.
Again, my original comment was aimed at a future Escape Energi. I think a lot of people have been turned off from the CMax Energi (compared to the hybrid) because of the compromised trunk space. It is a small trunk for a crossover (although it's one of the biggest available in a PHEV, it's small compared to the rest of the market). I can see the same thing playing out with the Escape. With a small SUV form factor, people have a certain expectation of trunk space. Whether they need it or not, a smaller trunk will mean fewer sales. But if you keep the battery so small that it gets 15 miles of AER, people will wonder why they are paying this extra premium for 15 miles. They'll just buy the gas Escape instead.
I think Ford's Energi system is better than the HSD-Prime, but not quite as good as Voltec. I don't pretend to know the answer. I'm personally glad that we have options, and people can choose for themselves.
I'm looking forward to the Escape as well, and really hope that Ford chooses cargo volume and price over max. AER (or offers buyers the option, something I'd love to see with a Voltec CUV). There won't be any shortage of more expensive PHEVs for people who can afford them, but I'm all for picking the lowest hanging fruit first, which in this case is a PHEV that the most people can afford without significant pax/cargo limitations compared to the same ICE/HEV, i.e. Golf GTE rather than Fusion/C-Max Energis or Prime, with enough battery/AER to make it worth paying extra for and plugging in.
While there are plenty of BMW and Mercedes PHEVs with 15 miles or less AER selling reasonably well, as they're priced well above mass market I don't think they really apply to this case. As I've said before, I personally think enough battery to provide at least 20 miles AER with good longevity would be a good minimum, as that will cover the routine needs of half of the driving population. Every additional mile above that covers a smaller and smaller percentage of extra population, so providing a variety of choices which trade off cost/space versus AER is necessary. 8.64 kWh usable
(10-13kWh total, depending on longevity requirements) will guarantee at least 20 miles AER in anything short of a big pickup with off-road tires. After all, 3 miles/kWh x 8.64 = 25.92 miles, and 4 x 8.64 = 34.56 miles.
More efficient vehicles can go with a smaller battery and save money/space, or if the difference isn't significant the bigger battery will cover more of the population. But according to every poll that's come out, the main impediment that keeps most people from considering PEVs is price, so IMO we have
to make that the top priority, regardless of whatever else is offered.
By the time 2nd gen. PHEVs like the Escape are coming due for replacement by 3rd gen. models, say 2025, BEV prices are forecast to (and hopefully will) be down enough, and infrastructure complete enough, to make them cost and operationally competitive with ICEs, and we won't need another generation of transitional ZEV tech like PHEVs.