The Ford Focus Electric is Ford’s entry into the all electric car market, and is part of Ford’s larger strategy to sell a broad range of electrified vehicles. It is essentially a Ford Focus, with a battery pack and electric drive train installed in place of the gasoline engine and fuel tank. This means it has all the goodness of the regular Ford Focus, but with none of the pollution problems of the gasoline driven model.
I recently had the opportunity to test drive the Ford Focus Electric for three days in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is the main section of a multipart comprehensive review of that car.
Ford is not new to the electrified vehicle game. Ford has manufactured all-electric vehicles in the past, such as the Ford Ranger EV during the ZEV Mandate era, and more recently the Ford Transit Connect EV. Additionally the company sells several hybrid vehicles, and will begin selling plug-in hybrid vehicles later this year. To Ford, the phrase “electrified vehicle” means any vehicle with any kind of electric assist to improve fuel efficiency, decrease the emissions footprint, or replace the need for gasoline/diesel.
What you get with the Ford Focus Electric is
- an all electric car with respectable electric driving range, with a reasonably fast charger for reasonably short recharge times,
- excellent acceleration and performance,
- excellent handling,
- and all the passenger compartment goodness of the gasoline powered Ford Focus.
Unlike the other electric cars currently available, the Ford Focus Electric is not designed from the ground up to be an electric car. Instead it is the regular 2012 Ford Focus adapted to have an electric drive train. This has pluses and minuses making for interesting trade-offs. From the consumer standpoint the glaring result of this is the sacrifice of what should be cargo area to instead hold the battery pack. With purpose designed electric cars the battery pack is neatly integrated with the car, without losing cargo or cabin space. There was not a convenient place to put the battery pack, and the engineers did the best they could by installing it in the rear cargo area.
The Ford Focus Electric is being criticized by some as being just a “compliance car”. This is due to it being built in small quantities, and available in a small number of states. However the company plans to roll out the vehicle in a total of 19 states by the end of 2012, and is poised to ramp up production as demand increases.
The Ford Focus Electric is available through Ford dealers that have been certified to handle electric vehicles. See http://www.ford.com/electric/focuselectric/2012/ for more information.