In an indirect way, the Ford Motor Company could be cited as bringing the first drain to the electric car. At the time of the auto manufacturer’s formation, the makeshift American roads were roamed by a multitude of power sources. Internal combustion gasoline engines were given a firm challenge from steam as well as electric powertrains. However, with the emergence of the Ford Model T in 1908, the gasoline engine’s inclusion in the most defining automobile shuffled the electric car into obscurity for more than 90 years. Facing an uphill battle as electric vehicles attempt to find a foothold in the modern auto industry, the pioneering influence to the automobile is joining the bandwagon reintroducing this alternative powertrain to the world market. Already retrofitting Ford Transit Connect vans with electric-propulsion, Ford Motor Company is now presenting a ready-for-production new Focus Electric.
Officially presented to the press at the 2011 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, Ford had long since braced everyone for an all-electric Focus. With the Wayne, Michigan assembly plant being the same facility which will built the 2012 gasoline-engined Focus, Ford long-earmarked for an all-electric compact vehicle to companion during production. A prototype Ford Focus Electric was even featured in a driving challenge on Jay Leno’s late night talk show during late 2009. Called the Ford Focus BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle), this nationally-featured five-door hatchback is now the ancestor to a production version due for sale late 2011.
While riding on the same platform as the gasoline-powered 2012 Ford Focus, the five-door hatchback electric version could be quickly distinguished. Featuring a chrome-slotted pattern, the entire front fascia is unique to the Focus Electric. Likely redesigned to optimize the electric powertrain, the reconfigured front end will also help provide fire and safety departments with distinctive markers in case of emergencies. Not every aspect of the Ford Focus Electric is built for a green lifestyle. Riding within the four tires, 17-inch aluminum wheels will be standard on the all-electric version of the Ford Focus.
The zero-emission Ford Focus Electric’s power storage is handled with a LG Chem lithium-ion battery. Encompassed in a climate controlled active liquid system, the battery can operate efficiently in severe heat or on cooler days. While the Focus Electric battery can be replenished through 120-volt current, an available 240-volt portable charging station provides more faster full changes. A wall-mounted unit to be sold at 1,200 Best Buy locations, the 240-volt power source needs only 3 to 4 hours to fully charge the Ford Focus Electric’s lithium-ion battery. Roughly the same charging time at the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, the Ford Focus Electric
Capable of a 84 mile per hour top speed, the Ford Focus Electric will be suitable for any North American driving. Thanks to torque-filled electric motor, acceleration should be comfortably punchy. Ford has yet to confirm official range of the Focus Electric. The Ford Focus BEV demonstrated 80 miles as a maximum range, Ford has promised the production Focus Electric will achieve at least 100 miles of driving distance between charges to put it on even par with the Nissan Leaf.
Featuring a high-tech powertrain, motorists will also take note of MyFord Touch technology playing an important role inside the instrument panel providing information on vehicle efficiency. Through MyView, a driver can access the real time electronic demands of accessories within the Focus Electric including the air conditioning. Other details such as the miles regained through regenerative braking also provides a thoughtful yet entertaining message to the Ford Focus Electric’s operation. Also included as standard convenience features on the Ford Focus Electric is a voice-activated navigational system, Ford SYNC, MyKey and a Sony Audio nine-speaker stereo.
Price information for the Ford Focus Electric has not been released but don’t be surprised if Ford Motor Company attempts to sell the vehicle under $30,000 when the car hits showrooms at the end of this year.
Information and photo source: Ford Motor Company