Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony...

kindofblue

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Interesting. My connections to the area are only since about 2002.
I moved there in '78 for internship at the VA and was there until 2015 with the exception of one year in SoCal for work. Also met my wife on a blind date in Santa Monica that year so it made the whole sojourn there worthwhile :cool:
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31,133 miles:
We had our fist major repair on the Mustang.
One of us ran over a nail and I had to patch a tire.
 
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We just got home from our trip to Death Valley. When we plugged in at home, the odometer read 33,467.

Tomorrow marks the end of year two of our ownership of the Mustang and the beginning of year three.

Most of the 33,500 miles we've put on the Mustang were road trip miles, where a road trip is ill-defined. I think it requires a few hundred miles and probably an overnight stay somewhere that's not home before I'm convinced it's really a road trip. A day trip where we go a couple hundred miles away and then a couple hundred miles home isn't what I would consider truly a "road trip." Example: A trip from our home to the Grand Canyon and back, following our preferred route, is about 220 miles. I don't think of that as a road trip, but rather as a day trip.

On 24 February, 2022, we picked up the Mustang at the dealer that's about 65 miles from home. We ascended about 3000 feet in elevation from a clear, warm, beautiful day into a cloudy, stormy afternoon. We got home, charged up, used the car for a couple of days around town, and then headed out on our first day trip to the Grand Canyon. It was a cold day with snow flurries on our way up to the Grand Canyon and on our way home. We didn't bother to charge at the Canyon--220 miles was easily within the range we expected to get from the Mustang.

A week or so later, we took our first road trip to the Los Angeles area (1100 miles round trip). On that trip, we did have a bit of range anxiety. First, we left in a snow storm, so it was cold, blowing wind, icy roads, etc. But the car handled it all just fine. What really got to us, though, was a wind storm across the Mojave desert. We arrived at our final DCFC charger with 20% or so remaining feeling stressed. A remaining charge of 20% isn't something I would even blink at now. We had dinner at a restaurant nearby while the vehicle charged and then continued our trip into the LA valley.

Since that first road trip, we've taken the Mustang all over the southwest and west coast, including:
Albuquerque, Amarillo, Anaheim, Austin, Bakersfield, Barstow, Blythe, Cameron, Camp Verde, Caverns of Sonora, Death Valley, Denton, Desolation Flats, El Paso, Erick, Flagstaff, Fredericksburg, Fresno, Gallup, Glendora, Globe, Grand Canyon, Grants, Henderson, Holbrook, Houston, Indio, Junction, Kingman, Las Cruces, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Modesto, Monterey, Muir Woods, Needles, Pahrump, Painted Desert, Palm Springs, Palo Cedro, Pasadena, Payson, Petrified Forest, Phoenix, Prescott, Redding, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Sedona, Tempe, Tucson, Tucumcari, Tusayan, Village of Oak Creek, Wichita Falls, Williams, (Don't forget) Winona, Winslow, Verde Valley,
And so many places in between.

It's a fantastic road trip vehicle and we have had fewer issues with it than many of our other vehicles we've owned.

Here's a map of our travels.

Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... Screenshot 2024-02-23 at 18.25.39


Some random statistics:
Number of unexpected repairs: Three, twice fixing the rattling tail lights and one fix to a flat tire.
Highest elevation attained: 8050 ft
Lowest elevation attained: -252 ft
Steepest slope driven up (as far as I know): 15% grade
Longest road trip: ~2600 miles
Most elevation gain/loss in one road trip: 34,147/-34,147 ft.
Mode most often driven in: Engage, 1PD
Lowest State of Charge seen on the display: 4%
Deepest snow driven through: about 18" over about 0.25 miles before we got to where the plow starts/stops.
Road trip we haven't done yet that we would like to do: North Rim of the Grand Canyon--there's no DCFC on our normal route, there's no destination charger at the places we like to camp, and it's a 220 mile one-way trip. We would want either a destination charger at the North Rim or a DCFC about 3/4 of the way from our home.

Here are the things we don't like about the car:

  • HVAC controls are soft buttons on a screen rather than physical. This is still annoying after two years;
  • The tail lights have rattled loose twice because of our washboard gravel road. The first time; the dealer "fixed" it at our 10,000 mile service ($27.00). They didn't fix it, so I fixed it the second time with a dab of blue loctite on the threads;
  • I don't like the glass roof. My partner does. I am prone to car sickness and when we drive in an area with shadows, the flickering in my peripheral vision causes me some nausea;
  • The large screen interface is slower than I would like;
  • The Ford navigation is middling at best. We sometimes use it because it has some nice features, but mostly we use it when we know we want to precondition the battery before DCFC. Even then we often ignore its directions and go the way that makes sense.
  • The range estimation is often way too conservative for my tastes;
  • The range estimation doesn't have a clear algorithm that would help me understand it better, so I just do my own estimating;
  • There's a bug/poor programming decision in the miles/kWh calculation that means that high efficiency is badly calculated and gives a strangely quantized set of vallues (see below);
  • It was expensive enough that we couldn't afford two;
  • After more than about 2 hours in the driver's seat, I find it's a bit uncomfortable (I'm 6'1" and not a svelt person);
  • There's more road noise than I would like. It's different from a gas car, but it's still enough to get tiring after a long day on the road;
  • Maybe some other things, but none are coming to mind.

Is it a perfect car? Far from it. Is it a great car? I think so. This is the year I'd like to go all-electric and never have to stop at a gas station again (except to fuel my tractor, because I cannot afford an electric tractor just yet). We're putting together the savings for a Rivian or Lightning...

There are a lot of things we love about the car. It's fun to drive. It's all electric. We can refuel it overnight at home, at a hotel, and often at friend's and family's houses. It's a fantastic road trip car. I think that probably the only vehicle that was better for road tripping was our Sienna, but that was a minivan and in a completely different class. If there was an all-electric Sienna, we might trade the Mustang for that (probably not, but we would very seriously consider it).

After 33,500 miles, we've spent about $50 on maintenance. For the first 10,000 mile maintenance service, my partner drove three hours round trip and paid $27 to the dealer. After that, I took care of the second and third routine maintenance myself. We bought new wiper blades and new washer fluid. And... That's about it. A total of about $50. In the same ~30,000 miles, we've had to pay a total of about $3,000, or an average of $500 for every 5000 miles service interval for the Tacoma.

Our overall average efficiency is around 3.4 miles/kWh (mpk). When we've spent some time at home, this number creeps up into the 4.5 and higher, sometimes we've seen it up around 5-6 mpk for a week or two in the early and late summer. In the winter, the efficiency, the battery max capacity, and thus the range are all impacted, but we only get down to around 0 ºF in the coldest days (I've measured the air temperature at -15 ºF at night, but we're not usually driving at night).

We have massive elevation changes for every road trip we do. We live at ~7,000 feet elevation, and nearly every direction is down, which one might imagine is great for efficiency, but coming back up that mountain means more losses than gains. Still, with around 3.4 mpk, I can't really complain.

While driving around Death Valley, we climbed up from -252 feet elevation to 5700 feet elevation and then we drove back down. On the drive down, I noticed that after you get above about 6 miles/kWh, the efficiency numbers reported by the vehicle become very quantized. I only saw 12.4 mpk, 15.5 mpk, and 20.7 mpk. Nothing in between. This is likely due to an error in the logic used to calculate or report these numbers: A large number (miles) divided by a small number (kWh) can lead to this weird behavior when both of the numbers and the result are stored in a small memory register. I don't know for certain this is what's happening. Whatever is happening, it's certainly curious behavior and a programming update could fix it. I still trust the lower numbers since I've double- and triple-checked their accuracy many times while on road trips.

By this point (~30,000 miles), I'm usually inured to the vehicle's charms and have just become annoyed with its problems. I still find myself looking for reasons to take the Mustang on a drive. I've even chosen it over my motorcycle more than once when I just wanted to get out on the road, even though the day was perfect for a motorcycle ride.

I have a yearly meeting in the Houston area. I took the Mustang last year and am seriously considering taking it again this year. It's a 2600 mile round trip and takes two extra days of travel to do, but it's so much more enjoyable than flying.

Some things I wish the Mustang had:

  • A 120 Volt outlet in both the frunk and in the back of the vehicle. It's inane that Ford didn't include these;
  • Either an option to delete the glass roof or a way to close and open an opaque cover. We have an aftermarket cover, but it's dumb that there isn't one built in;
  • A full-sized spare--the repair kit isn't good enough and I'm not a fan of putting stop-leak in my TPMS valve stems;
  • Physical HVAC controls. I use muscle memory to adjust certain things and that includes the tactile feedback of having physical controls;
  • I wish the rear seats laid flat instead of angled--it would be a lot easier to camp in this with flat seats;
  • I would love longer range and faster charging, but what's available on the Mustang has done me just fine for 33,500 miles, so it's not like the configuration as-is is a deal breaker for me;
  • More of the OBD-II information displayed on the screen. I'd like to know power going to the motor(s), power going to and coming from the battery, and a pile of other data. I don't want to clutter up my view with aftermarket tablets, phones, or whatever--just give me a way to display this.
Some photos (some repeats from previous posts):

Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... Screenshot 2024-02-23 at 20.07.38


Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... PXL_20240220_000141032 (1)


Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... PXL_20230610_180232076


Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... PXL_20230607_180010868


Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... PXL_20230319_184931792 (1)


Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... PXL_20230318_174419791


Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... PXL_20230318_004342869


Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... PXL_20230318_001948937 (1)


Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... PXL_20230317_184852581


Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... PXL_20230312_002502804


Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... PXL_20230302_010225299


Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... PXL_20230212_012958660


Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... PXL_20230122_200119301


Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... PXL_20220930_222723202.MP


Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... PXL_20220316_033043179~2
 
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Instead of sleeping like I should, I was browsing my Electrify America charge sessions that have been recorded since we bought the car.

Some statistics:
Notes
Total recorded charge sessions63There were about 10 sessions I paid for with a credit card because the communications at the charger failed and I did not have P&C active for all of my road trips.
Longest charge time71 minutesTotal energy paid for was 93 kWh; we arrived at 4%, charged to 97%, so we clearly pay for some efficiency losses.
Median charge time28 minutes
Mean charge time27 minutes
Number of aborted charges7Less than 5 kWh added, all have a different charger at the same station started immediately after.
Average "max charge rate"119 kWThis includes the 0kW charge rate of the aborted charge attempts.
Median "max charge rate"127 kW""
Max "max charge rate"207 kW""
Median session charge rate82 kWThe average of the overall session charge rates, including the aborted charging sessions.
Max Session Charge Rate118 kWThe fastest overall session charge rate.
Mean Energy Added36 kWhIncluding the aborted charging sessions.
Median Energy Added39 kWhIncluding the aborted charging sessions.
Max Energy Added93 kWhNote that this includes inefficiency losses--we charged from 4% to 97%.
Total Energy Added2248 kWh
Total Cost$793.19Average cost was $0.35/kWh
 
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Took a quick trip through two snow storms and a wind storm to visit the spawn.

I left with 100% and a guess-o-meter range of 200 miles, which is the lowest I've seen the range estimate on a full battery. The outside temperature was below 0 ⁰C.

The distance to my stop was 244 miles, 3 hours, 37 minutes. I knew I could make it in one long drive despite the pessimistic range estimate (I've done it before).

After about 20 miles on the highway, I noticed the battery was still at 100% and I was getting 5.2 miles/kWh despite the wind. I decided to draft behind the semi in front of me, who was doing 73 mph. Note that the range estimator was suggesting I would run out of charge in 194 miles while I had 223 miles remaining in my journey.

Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... PXL_20240326_002553215


At 100 miles, the efficiency was down (as should be expected), but still I was getting a respectable 3.9 mi/kWh, and I was still at 73%. The range to my destination was 141 miles and the range on the battery had increased so it matched that 141 more miles (the total range estimate had increased from 200 to 240 miles in 100 miles of driving). The battery had not warmed above ambient (the exterior temperature was 7⁰C, the battery temperature was 5⁰C).


Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... 1000009333


I arrived at my destination with 13% charge remaining, 26 miles of estimated range and 237.7 miles traveled in 3 hours, 31 minutes, 3.5 miles/kWh efficiency.

Ford Mustang Mach-E Adventures of our Grabber Blue Space Pony... 1000009337


Here's why the range estimator cannot be trusted:
13% of total estimated range = 26 miles.
Total estimated range = 26/.13
Total estimated range = 200 miles

But the total distance traveled = 237.7 miles, with at least 26 more miles remaining = at least 264 miles total range.

Instead of using the built in range estimator, I ask Google to divide distance traveled by battery % used:
238 / 87 % = 273. Then subtract the distance traveled to get the remaining range.

I can also multiply miles/kWh by total battery capacity (full charge summer: 88 kWh, winter 80 or even 75 is good enough for my purposes). This gives me a range of 263 miles/kWh in winter, on the freeway, in adverse weather conditions.
 


kindofblue

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Thanks for the post. Was your trip going down in elevation?
 
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Thanks for the post. Was your trip going down in elevation?
Oh, yes, very important detail. I started at 7,000 ft, went down to 5,000 feet and ended at 6400 feet.

Note that only results in a benefit of, at most, 1.2 kWh (difference in gravitational potential energy).
 
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kindofblue

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Oh, yes, very important detail. I started at 7,000 ft, went down to 5,000 feet and ended at 6400 feet.

Note that only results in a benefit of, at most, 1.2 kWh (difference in gravitational potential energy).
Thanks. So down and then again mostly up (in elevation that is).
 
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Thanks. So down and then again mostly up (in elevation that is).
That's right. Maximum gain of 3.7 kWh on the way down. Then a minimum loss of 2.6 kWh on the way back up (rounding accounts for the 0.1 kWh difference from my previous comment). This is ignoring friction, air resistance, etc.
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