• Jan 13th 2009 at 8:39AM
  • 14
While it took months for GM to let the media drive its Volt mule, Ford has wasted no time in giving Bill Vlasic of the New York Times a chance to try out its own all-electric Ford Focus-based prototype. The company just announced the existence of the vehicle a few days ago.

Accompanied by Ford's Nancy Gioia and Barbara Samardzich, the reporter toured the streets of scenic Dearborn, Michigan while asking questions of his two handlers. Given the urban setting for the drive, there were no pedal-to-the-metal or other performance tests that might seek out the edge of the vehicles capabilities but we did learn a few things about the car. It's weight, for example, is a couple hundred pounds more than the gas-powered version and its battery can store 23 kWh of energy. That should be enough to take the car 75 to 100 miles. Bill says it accelerates and handles like a normal car but is more quiet (surprised?). Here's the link to check out this "first drive" for yourselves. We'll have the AutoblogGreen first drive report up in short order.

[Source: New York Times]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      Awesome! Me want!
      • 8 Months Ago
      Ford, start selling this car before I settle for a hybrid! I want a car with this this range but no gas tank, but I can't wait too long.
      • 8 Months Ago
      The 75-100 mile range is just fine with me!

      How much does this car cost when compared to a gas model?
      • 8 Months Ago
      Two hundred more pounds? I'm curious to know if they took weight saving measures on the model and the batteries ate it all up and then some.
      • 8 Months Ago
      BEVs with that range won't sell. If it had the Fusion drive-train and was a few hundred pounds lighter over the larger car, it would. And it would get 50-60 mpg as a HEV just like the new Prius III.

      The problem with BEVs, that would be reasonable "city cars" for a dense city like NY, is that recharging them in a city like Manhattan is nigh onto impossible. Reserve parking costs as much as renting an entire house in the rest of America, for a small parking space.

      Most Manhattanites wander everywhere to find a place to park. Some take them out of the city and park them for occasional use only on the weekend. But BEVs might not have the range for that.
      • 8 Months Ago
      "i could own a patent but refuse to make the product unless an order of 1,000,000,000,000,000 units"

      That's, of course, a ridiculous comparison. A minimum of 10,000 is a perfectly reasonable quantity for battery packs for real *production vehicles*, and not concept/hobbyist vehicles.

      "was made and paid up front. or offer each unit at a ridiculously high price."

      That is not a requirement.

      "for a company that loses $80 M annually you'd think they'd try to actually produce a large-format NiMH (in any quantity) to break even at least"

      You're right -- they should turn that $80M loss into $100M loss by tooling to produce cells that they can only cell a couple hundred of. :P What kind of logic is that?
      • 8 Months Ago
      This gives you an idea of how quickly the major automakers can just take an existing car and stick an electric powertrain on it. This is what Chrysler is donig with ENVI, for instance. If they don't care about going the Aptera route, and just want to get something on the road, they can do it really fast.

      • 8 Months Ago
      Magna acquired a US company last October called Bluwav Systems specifically for their energy management technology for EVs:


      Magna expressed their intent to develop hybrid and BEVs last April, and used the Ford Focus as a mule for the new drivetrain:

      • 8 Months Ago
      If it has a 23kwh battery then it has to have a plug.
      Lithium or NiMH?
      • 8 Months Ago
      This Focus EV was actually developed by Magna International in Canada, and then presented to Ford recently. Ford said "Are you kidding? WTF are we going to do with that??? Ahhh, wait, maybe we could use it..." Now Ford is presenting the car as if they developed it themselves. Everybody makes that assumption, and Ford doesn't bother to correct them. Still, I'm glad to see that Ford has decided to go down that road

      @ paulwesterberg: the battery pack contains Li ion cells


      I'll post some links from last year when Magna announced that they were developing this EV.
        • 8 Months Ago
        To be fair, car companies outsource powertrain development all the time. Yamaha, Navistar, Cummins, etc... have all made engines for car brands you recognize as "the manufacturers."
      • 8 Months Ago
      FYI, 23kWh packs don't come cheap. Expect that pack to cost $12k or so.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Give me a break. Cobasys provides batteries for all sorts of hybrids. By your logic, because they failed to meet deliveries for one luxury carmaker, that means that their deliveries to all of the others are part of a conspiracy, right?

      Re, large format: Cobasys *does* have a large format battery available for sale -- the Series 9500. It's only available in volume of 10,000 units or more, however; they're not in the business of supplying hobbyists.

      Re, patents: Cobasys only owns US rights. Notice a distinct lack of NiMH EVs in other markets? There's not exactly huge lines of people forming to build new EVs with obsolete tech. Also, PEVE has cross-licensed with Cobasys, so now shares US rights.
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