The Ergosphere
Saturday, December 14, 2013
 

Open letter to Ford Motor Company

Dear Ford,

Don't ever think I don't like my new Fusion Energi.  It's literally the best car I've ever had.  But you have made some extremely annoying, unsettling or just plain counter-productive decisions (or bugs) in the software, and I wish you'd fix them.

Some of these are weird behaviors that have no obvious explanation:
  1. The other day I was on a relatively long trip driving on cruise control, and the graphics around the "ECO" symbol on the left-side dash display changed to vertical dotted lines.  This has happened before, but what followed had not.  From time to time the right-side dotted line flashed red, accompanied by a pattern of 3 pulsed vibrations on the right side of the car.  There was no text pop-up to explain what was going on, and obviously it is not safe to search the owner's manual while driving.  I was eventually persuaded to pull over and examine the tires to see if something was wrong with them.  I found nothing, and the strange behavior went away after the stop.  I still have no explanation for this.
  2. Sometimes when I park and return to the car, the side mirrors are turned all the way down and I have to reset them properly.  This has occurred on any number of occasions, sometimes after just minutes away.
  3. There is a bug in the charging system.  Sometimes when I plug in a charger, the car does not recognize it and refuses to charge.  The charger can be un-plugged and re-plugged as many times as desired, and the car will still not charge.  I had the convenience cord replaced under warranty because of this, with no change; I later reproduced this problem on a public charger.  I finally discovered that cycling the ignition would get the car to charge.

But my biggest irritations are things that I ought to be able to get, but you deny me.


If you really want to thrill me, open up the full specs for the car's high-voltage systems and put me in touch with your product-development engineers.  There are a whole heap of options and applications that you haven't touched, and all you need to turn the marketplace loose is an open specification for plugging in.  Play your cards right and you could start the PC revolution, only with plug-in vehicles.  Think about it.  But don't think too long, because the rest of the world is ready to steal a march on you. 
Comments:
I'm looking at getting one of these or the Fusion Hybrid (or a Volt). What do you think of the Energi and why did you go that way? Did you consider the CMax?
 
"What do you think of the Energi and why did you go that way?"

My major considerations were decent seating for adults (making the Volt questionable, even if I didn't dislike Government Motors) and good all-electric range (disadvantaging the plug-in Prius, even if I could find one to test-drive).

"Did you consider the CMax?"

I had a chance to look at one closely.  I liked the hatchback, but besides being very narrow it had little in the way of back-seat kneeroom and barely enough covered cargo space for an overnight bag.  There are things I expect to do with a car that I couldn't see doing with a C-Max.

The one thing I miss is the ability to tow light trailers.  No PHEV seems to be rated to tow so much as a toy wagon.
 
Thanks. I too need a "real car" (kids) but I would miss the additional AER in the Volt. Did you buy or lease?
 
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