Just revealed today at CES, the Focus Electric is Ford's first fuel-free, rechargeable passenger car. More importantly, it will supposedly offer a mile-per-gallon equivalent fuel economy that's better than the Chevrolet Volt and competitive with other battery electric vehicles. How?
Ford Motor Company unveiled today its all-new Focus Electric -– the company's first-ever all-electric passenger car launching later this year. The zero-CO2-emissions, gasoline-free version of Ford's all-new small car is the new flagship of the company's coming fleet of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles coming to North America and Europe by 2013.
Power for the stylish (oh, yes, it's absolutely better looking than its competitors — unless you've got a thing for eggs) Focus comes by way of a permanent magnetic electric traction motor that provides 123 HP and 181 lb/ft of torque that sucks its will to live from an LG Chem-supplied Lithium-ion battery cell pack. Although we've no idea what the fuel economy / drive range will look like as Ford's still awaiting EPA estimates, we're told the "Focus Electric will offer a mile-per-gallon equivalent better than Chevrolet Volt and competitive with other battery electric vehicles." So, basically, they're claiming it'll kick its ass.
Owners of the Focus Electric will likely recharge the car's Ford-engineered (who's LG Chem anyway?) lithium-ion battery pack at home on a daily basis, using the recommended 240-volt wall-mounted charge station that will be sold separately (for $1499 and installed by Best Buy — probably not including any additional electrical work you might need to install a 240-volt line to your garage) or the 120-volt convenience cord that comes with the vehicle. Using the 240-volt wall-mounted charger, the Focus is capable of fully recharging in three to four hours -– that's half the time of the Nissan Leaf. The Focus Electric offers something called "value charging," powered by Microsoft, to help owners in the U.S. charge their vehicles at the cheapest utility rates and thereby helping to lower the cost of ownership.
Although we're told the all-electric Focus has the same capabilities of any "real car" it does seem to have one chink in its armor. It's only got a top speed of 84 mph. While it seems like that should take care of any situation in the continental United States, we're wondering what someone should do if they're being chased by bad guys in, say, a Corvette? The 'Vette will easily out-run them, corral them to the side of the road and then the dastardly naughties will steal the car's batteries. I'm not saying it's going to happen, but, you know, it could.
So will it kick the Chevy Volt's ass, as Ford claims? Unknown — we don't know all the details yet. What we do know is the Chevy Volt's got something the Ford Focus Electric doesn't have — namely, the ability to run if the batteries die. And there's a lot of comfort in that. Frankly, we get anxious just thinking about being stranded beyond an electric car battery's range.
UPDATE: Especially considering we're now hearing from Ford's social media guru that the Focus electric will only have a 100 mile range. Really? How is this competitive with the Volt?
Still, the Ford Focus Electric is one sexy electric car.
We'll be seeing the Focus Electric first-hand in Detroit on Monday. For the moment, here's a cool infographic: