Mar 7, 2012
Chris Salamone

Ford Focus Electric Buzzes Into Life

Way back in December 2011, Ford began production of the Focus Electric at the company’s Michigan Assembly Plant. A lot of speculation has occurred as to what kind of numbers the latest Ford EV might produce, but apparently our waiting has not been for naught. The Focus Electric was recently EPA certified to achieve 110 MPGe in the city and 105 MPGe combined, making this the most fuel efficient five-passenger vehicle in America.

As if high fuel economy weren’t enough, Ford is taking direct aim at the Nissan Leaf. And don’t expect this to be a lightweight sparring match. The Focus looks like a true heavyweight contender, in a small package…of course.

While the Leaf is capable of an astounding 99 MPGe in combined driving conditions, the Focus Electric is purported to achieve 105 MPGe. What’s 6 MPGe amongst friends? Probably not the most significant advantage, but throw in the Focus’s additional power, passenger room and standard features and the matchup suddenly becomes Ford favored.

Another claim to fame comes from Ford’s quicker recharge tech. The company suggests that the Focus Electric can charge in about half the time of Nissan Leaf, which is useful because both vehicles have relatively short driving ranges: 73 miles via Nissan Leaf and 76 miles in the Focus Electric.

On paper this latest EV looks to be well positioned in the burgeoning EV market, except for the omni-present specter of consumer frugality. The Focus EV is slotted to start at $39,200, while the 2012 Leaf costs a mere $35,200. Buyers will have to decide if the extra Focus features make up for a $4,000 price bump.

The Focus Electric will start appearing in dealerships in California, New York and New Jersey through the first half of 2012. Ford is currently shooting to have the EV available in 19 ‘markets’ across the US by the end of the year – take from that what you will.

“We’ve been working for three years to make the Focus Electric America’s most fuel-efficient vehicle of its kind,” said Chuck Gray, Ford chief engineer of Global Core Engineering Hybrid and Electric Vehicles. “The entire group feels like a sports team that has just won a major championship. It’s a good feeling…”

And the winning might continue for some time. The company’s incoming Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid also looks to be the world’s most fuel efficient midsize sedan. To be honest, though, we love the Focus Electric’s physical design so much that even if the Leaf put up similar numbers we still might be edged toward Ford’s stylistic vantage.

Source : Ford