Ford has chosen a different path to electrification of the automobile. While the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt enjoyed a substantial marketing blitz in the build-up to their debuts, Ford was rather quiet by comparison. (If Jay Leno’s ill-fated prime-time show had not flopped, America would have seen more Stars in an Electric Car). Those in the know might recall that MPGomatic first reported on the low-key/high-result Ford Electric Car efforts way back at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.
The big blue curtain was finally lifted on January 7, 2011 with the simultaneous debut of the 2012 Ford Focus Electric car at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada and at an exclusive press event in New York City. I made the trek into NYC on that snowy Friday to catch the historic event.
The Focus Electric is due to launch before the end of 2011. Rather than build a new platform, like the Leaf and Volt, Ford chose to build its first electric passenger car on one of its most popular global platforms. The 2012 Ford Focus will be available with the customer’s choice of full electric, plug-in hybrid, hybrid, conventional gasoline, and (in Europe) clean diesel propulsion systems. This approach ensures quantities of scale in the millions. The conventionally-powered 2012 Ford Focus is already in production at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan.
Ford is touting a “mile-per-gallon equivalent better than the Chevy Volt” that is “competitive with other battery electric vehicles.” The Focus EV claims 240-volt charging “in half the time of the Nissan Leaf.” Home charger installations will require an electrician to run a high-voltage line, with Best Buy handling the plug-in charger hookup. A 120 volt “convenience cord” will be included.
An advanced version of MyFord Touch technology extends to the navigation system and driver’s smartphone for comprehensive driving range information, charge level management, and remote start. Drivers can “precondition” the cabin by running air conditioning or heating systems while the Focus is plugged into the socket. For those prone to misplacing their car in parking lot, the smartphone app includes GPS location.
Microsoft “value charging” technology will allow Focus Electric owners to take advantage of the lowest utility rates while charging their vehicles overnight. The Focus Electric uses LG Chem lithium-ion batteries in a thermal managed battery pack that uses liquid heating and cooling.
Top speed is 84 miles per hour. While pricing and driving range have not been announced, we expect both to directly challenge the Nissan Leaf, with a highly competitive leasing option.
- by Daniel Gray
January 9th, 2011
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- Insight on the 81.5 MPG Ford Fusion Hybrid
- Inconvenient Truths About Electric Cars
- 2013 Ford C-Max Energi Plug-In Hybrid First Drive