It's a little hard to remember what went through my mind some months back when I let myself seriously entertain buying the Focus. I came to the conclusion that it would be the Focus or none. I allowed as such that the Focus could accomplish 99% of my driving that it would be a practical investment I would use. A key component of that was the promise of "3-4 hour charging".
I suppose I will find out tonight now that my Level 2 Leviton is installed. What I did experience was that for sure, 110V charging from a standard wall plug is very, very slow. I could plug in at 10 pm and by 8 am the next morning there had been quite a few miles added, but nowhere near full. I plugged in a couple of afternoons randomly in a parking deck at work (MORE ON THAT IN ANOTHER THREAD) for a couple of hours and it added a little bit.
Clearly, doing 50 - 60 miles a day would be difficult with only 110V charging, and the very concept of the practicality of an EV would be suspect. I have only had to live with 110V charging for one week, Level 2 here we come.
Interesting, although I set my charge times to 0100-0500, I believe the Focus estimated how long it would take to complete an entire charge and would begin charging immediately if I plugged it in at 8pm, and would indicate "8pm - 2pm" for a complete charge. It would bracket my programmed charge time with the extra time needed to complete a charge on 110V.
I will find out tonight if indeed the 240V Leviton will help it charge in under 4 hours, my 0100-0500 window. I hope so, this was a key factor in deciding that the Focus EV was practical. I think I'm 30% "full" at the moment.
Related, as I screw around, I mean work with electronics and batteries in my job in wireless communications, I borrowed a "Kill-A-Watt" meter that I bought for work. This measures instantaneous Watts used and aggregate KWH for whatever device is plugged in to the 110V receptacle on its front, and it plugs into a standard wall outlet. It is useful for measuring exactly how much power your devices really use. I was surprised that my Samsung 2 zone refrigerator only uses just above 200W when cooling. My plasma TV, 52", uses about 450 watts, although that bounces around a lot as the picture is always changing.
When charging on 110V, the Focus consumed right around 1450W, hour after hour, or about the same as 3 large plasma TVs.
Another observation, starting from a full charge with the "Trip 1" display reset to zero, I completed one complete trip to work and then back in the evening. Total KWH used was 8.8 KWH. I reset my Kill-A-Watt to zero and plugged it in on Friday evening. I let it go into Saturday until it was finished. It showed just over 11 KWH used.
It equated to an inefficiency of 33%. I believe my figure was 1.332 or similar. This would mean it takes 33% more juice to charge, your real cost, than what is actually used by the Focus to complete the travel. If I was figuring $6 a week to charge based on Focus usage at ~ 260WHr, it would actually cost me $8, or one third more.
Has anyone else measured or estimated this? I knew there would be inefficiencies due to heat and other loss in the charging process.
This is what the Kill-A-Watt looked like on another day after charging.
I'm hoping the 240V charging will be more efficient, but as I can't run that through the Kill-A-Watt counter I won't know. I could look at the digital display on my power company meter but that would include all devices running in my house.
My bare bones estimating, and my actual minimum distance to work and back is about 38 miles, the Focus now tells me, is that it would cost about $4 or less a week to charge the Focus if I could do it between 0100-0500 at 5.5 cents per KWH, ridiculously cheap, which would replace $35 a week in unleaded for my 20+ mpg 2001 Saturn sedan and 2002 Saturn Vue 4 cylinder ICEs, both with which I have an unhealthy respect and emotional bond as Saturn owners will do.
My electric bill will surely go up, but even with whatever inefficiencies in the charging process will be a fraction of what I have been paying in gasoline.