Jay Leno's Reasonably Priced Electric Car A Euro-Spec Ford Focus

Illustration for article titled Jay Lenos Reasonably Priced Electric Car A emEuro-Spec/em Ford Focus

We knew Jay Leno would do a Top Gear-esque star in a reasonably priced electric car segment. We even knew the car would be an electric Focus. We didn't know it would be an electric-orange Euro-spec model.

The Focus is similar to the test mules currently doing development duty in the upcoming battery electric vehicle (BEV) Focus program but this example was specially built for the Jay Leno Show out of a Euro-spec model. The powertrain is standard with the other BEV Foci, a 23 kWhr li-ion battery (7 kWhr more than the Volt), supplying a 141 HP electric motor that delivers a whopping 236 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels. The car's been outfitted with a full roll-cage, five-point racing harness routed through Recaro buckets and the suspension's been tuned with Focus RS springs and dampers for the autocross-like course outside of the show's studio.


The car will be driven for the first time in a segment called "Green Car Challenge" during this evening's Jay Leno Show by Drew Barrymore, which seems like a fairly odd inaugural choice. But hey, it's gotta be someone.


Background: A battery-electric Ford Focus will appear tonight, Friday, Sept. 18 on "The Jay Leno Show" (NBC, Monday through Friday, 10-11 p.m. ET) in a segment they call "Green Car Challenge." The battery-electric Ford Focus will be used throughout the first season of the show, driven by celebrity guests who accept the challenge.


An electric-powered Ford Focus is ready to race tonight on "The Jay Leno Show" (NBC, Monday through Friday, 10-11 p.m. ET) in a segment called "Green Car Challenge." Tuned to perform on a racetrack that was specifically designed for "The Jay Leno Show," the battery-electric Ford Focus will be the car used throughout the first season. Actress Drew Barrymore is the first celebrity guest to accept the show's "Green Car Challenge."

A one-of-a-kind battery-electric Focus will make its television debut tonight on "The Jay Leno Show's" "Green Car Challenge." Celebrities who accept the challenge will be at the wheel, driving quickly to establish a fast lap time that future guests will try to beat. The "Green Car Challenge" will be a regular segment on "The Jay Leno Show."

The electric Focus to be driven by celebrity guests on "The Jay Leno Show" is one-of-a-kind vehicle, based on the European five-door production Focus ST, modified into a battery electric vehicle (BEV) as part of Ford's BEV test fleet. The Focus BEV foreshadows many of the same systems that Ford will begin selling to consumers in an all-new electric Ford Focus, scheduled to go on sale in North America in 2011. The new Focus BEV is one of four electrified vehicles Ford is introducing now through 2012 as part of the company's commitment to deliver best-in-class fuel efficiency with every new vehicle it introduces.

"The unique Focus BEV for "The Jay Leno Show" started life as a European production Focus ST, built in Germany in July. The car was delivered to Ford's world headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., where engineers went to work, removing the traditional engine and gas tank and installing an entire electric powertrain – all in six weeks. With Recaro racing seats, a full roll cage, a five-point racing harness and wearing a unique (and fitting) "Electric Orange" paint scheme, the battery-electric Focus ST is ready for racing.

With a sophisticated electric powertrain, the zero-emissions Ford Focus BEV delivers nearly as much torque at the wheels as a 2010 Ford Mustang V-6. It also stores enough energy to power an average household for 24 hours.

Thanks in part to the battery placement, the race-ready Ford Focus BEV has a nearly ideal 50/50 weight distribution for improved racetrack handling. The front springs and dampers come from the performance-minded Ford Focus RS, a popular, high-performance European production model. The rear dampers and springs are unique to Leno's Focus BEV.

The car is specifically tuned to perform on the track built alongside "The Jay Leno Show" studio at NBC. To help improve performance, Ford created a similar track at its proving ground in Michigan so the vehicle would be ready to handle the tight turns.

Besides an ability to perform on the track, the Ford Focus BEV boasts the impressive statistics of a conventional battery electric vehicle, with a range of nearly 80 miles on a charge and peak power of 141 horsepower (105 kilowatts).

Powertrain: Permanent magnetic electric motor
Power: 141 hp / 105 kw
Torque: 236 lb.-ft. / 320 Nm
Redline: 7500 rpm
Batteries: 98 air-cooled, 60 A-h Lithium-ion batteries
Capacity: 23 kilowatt hours
Transmission: Single-speed gearbox

Steering: Electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Front suspension: MacPherson-type struts
Rear suspension: Independent short-long arm (SLA), control blade multi-link system
Brakes: Front: 12.6 in / 320 mm ventilated discs
Rear: 11.0 in / 280 mm solid disc
Anti-lock system

Wheelbase: 104 in / 2640 mm
Overall length: 171.7 in / 4362 mm
Overall height: 58.9 in / 1497 mm
Overall width: 72.4 in / 1840 mm
Curb weight: 3,421 lbs

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First, is there really a "red line" for an electric engine? A red line in a proper engine is a point beyond which the engine will likely be torn asunder. In an electric engine, its more limited by available amperage(I think. Electronics are witchcraft and wizardry IMO)

Also, it's a porker at 3,421 lbs.