• Jan 14th 2009 at 8:05PM
  • 29
Click the Focus EV "mule" for a high res gallery

As Ford was getting ready to make its big announcement this week in Detroit that it would build and sell a battery electric car beginning in 2011, I got a call asking if I'd like to come down and drive one of the development "mules." Being loathe to reject such opportunities, we immediately worked on squeezing it into the busy auto show schedule. Right after the Fisker press conference on Monday, I headed over to the Ford booth to get my ride.

A "mule" vehicle in automotive engineering parlance, is a non-representative vehicle fitted with a new powertrain or suspension components for testing purposes. In this case, Ford had a pair of current Focus sedans equipped with an electric drive train and lithium ion battery pack that was developed in partnership with Magna International. I spent some time chatting with chief engineer Greg Frenette and Magna rep Dick Devogelaere about the car and what we would see for production in two years time. The production model will be based on Ford's C-segment platform, meaning it will be Focus-sized. However, Ford has already said it will have several vehicles in the U.S. market off this platform, including an MPV like the European C-Max. Frenette would not say which body style would initially get the electric drive.

One item he would confirm was that there would be none of the whole leasing and taking back of the electric cars that other companies are still infamous for. The new EV will be sold outright to retail customers through Ford dealers beginning in 2011. Pricing is still undetermined. Check out the video after the jump and the full drive report on Green Fuels Forecast.

[Source: Green Fuels Forecast]
Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Fiesta body"

      Speed it up! I've got my checkbook out.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Quit farting around and get it to the showrooms, this is exactly the vehicle I'm waiting for. I was waiting for a Think City, but I would like this better.

      Just make sure:
      1) Sell it, not lease only
      2) 100 mile or greater range
      3) Seat 4 people
      4) Freeway capable

      These are not very hard targets, I am ready to buy and I have money. Keep your target price $25,000 to $30,000, the first auto maker to market with a BEV that meets these goals will get my hard earned dollars. I will not buy another gas powered vehicle, period. I know I'm not the only one that feels this way.
        • 6 Years Ago
        RPM - 2011 was the year that the next generation Focus was supposed to hit last I heard. The current cars are test mules using older body work, but likely riding on the next-gen chassis. No point in spending money on converting an existing chassis when it'll be retired in a couple years, making it impossible to recoup the costs.

        Glad to hear I'll be able to buy a Ford EV soon. Guess I need to quit stalling and build a garage.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree!! why why why 2011 ??? I don't claim to be all knowledgeable about how to build a car...but it seems to me if your using an existing car that has passed all crash and safety tests (I know there may need to be more done if the powertrain is now electric driven) If all the other stats on range and top speed are true why will it take 2 more years to get to market??

        just don't get it
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well put. My sentiments exactly.
      • 6 Years Ago
      - This may be my personal retort to Osama Ben Laden.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Looks good, if you want to drive for longer than 100 miles just hire a small trailer with a gen fitted. Seen a few with the RAV 4 EV's then unlike volt you not going to have to carry around an engine etc when it won't get used much.

      Would be pretty rare that you need to drive 100+ miles without a stopover with no warning.

      Just have a few parked off to the side at garages and pick one up near home and return it on your way back home.

      Could be a good little bit of business
      • 6 Years Ago
      - Exciting: As fast as current Focus, 0-60 better then 10 secs, and a top speed of 85 to 90 mph. Affordable price!
      • 6 Years Ago
      LG says they can do an electric drivetrain and a 20kwh pack of LiFe cells for $6000... and they claim 2000 cycles.

      • 6 Years Ago
      It almost doesn't matter which of the mainstream carmakers gets its EV into the showroom first. As soon as they do so they will have thereby established an actual benchmark (rather than a projected one), and from that day onwards every rival will know what performance figures and price they have to beat - which of course is what they will then do and keep doing. Game on.

      In the US, I do expect that the first one into the mainstream showrooms will be a Ford. In Europe I think Renault might beat them to it and set the numbers to beat.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "One item he would confirm was that there would be none of the whole leasing and taking back of the electric cars that other companies are still infamous for."

      Glad to hear that, but what is that "other companies" stuff? What happened to the people that leased the Th!nk city from Ford?????? The cars were confiscated and sent back to Norway, better than crushing them I guess.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Bill, are you mildly retarded? Do you even know what article you're posting in? THEY ARE coming out with the Focus EV, which is 4 doors and gets 100 miles. You think they will be selling it for $50K?? The costs of the vehicle will be spread out over mass production to various auto companies, meaning it costs significantly less than it would if one automaker developed and produced their own EV. Ford eliminates the cost to develop it, and gets the benefits of a discount thanks to large-scale production. This will probably be under $32K, BEFORE the rebate is applied.

      • 6 Years Ago
      If they are going to get 100 miles on a 23 kWh battery pack, (figuring 5 miles per kWh) they must be cycling it from about 22 kWh to 2 kWh, which means they are going to be using about 87% of the packs capacity on any trip that approaches 100 miles, or when you use the headlights, heat or AC. How many years of life will this BEV have?
      As long as it is covered on the Warranty, it is golden. Bring on all the electric cars, this one won't work for me but it is a great second car for a couple with a decent disposable income. The engineer stated in another interview that the pack will cost $20,000 or more, (which seems a little high) plus the cost of the car, $14,000 msrp, and we are in the area of $34,000, less the cost of the internal combustion engine and probably the tranny. Maybe $24k true cost after the tax incentive?
        • 6 Years Ago
        A 90% discharge will kill the battery in short order.

        I'd expect a 23kWh lithium battery to cost more than $20,000 at this point in time (unless it's a kludge like the Tesla pack)

        It is unrealistic at this time to expect 100 miles from a 4-door BEV unless you're willing to pay north of $50,000.

        For a mass-market priced EV fossil-fueled range extenders are still a necessity given current battery prices.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually, you raise a good point about deleting the cost of engine and tranny, but it's significantly more than that. You get to get rid of all of all kinds of stuff, such as:

        catalytic converter(s)
        a plethora of sensors: MAF, fuel/air, oxygen, etc...
        fuel lines
        fuel filter
        spark plugs, wires, coil packs, ignition timing module...
        all of the rest of the exhaust hardware, which is a lot of steel

        To be fair, you don't so much get to delete the tranny as replace it with a simpler model, albeit one that needs to handle loads of torque. But there's probably at least $3000-4000 in cost to the manufacturer in the list above.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Excellent video, nice coverage.

      Richard I don't think you get the idea of the plug in hybrid. The Volt is great for people who typically drive less than 40 miles in a day, which is a lot of people. It gives them all electric driving, but offers the ability to drive much greater distances, without having to fork over for a 30kWh battery pack.
      A 100 mile range pure EV offers all electric driving to more than just short range commuters, but gives up the ability to drive long distances, and at this time the added cost of the larger battery pack will most likely outweigh the cost of the range extender in the Volt.
      They're two very different types of vehicles, but I believe there's a market for both of them at this point. Pure EVs are good enough for some people right now, but I think until batteries get cheaper, and fast charging stations are more common, plug-in hybrids will sell to those who want to drive longer distances (over 100 miles) on a fairly regular basis. Or those who at least think they might consider going on a long trip every once in a while and isn't ready to adopt a pure EV yet.
        • 6 Years Ago
        100 miles BEV range is also for people who commute 40 miles a day. They want some flexibility and margin of safety.

        I wouldn't buy a BEV100 if I had a 90 mile commute.
        • 6 Years Ago
        was = way

        • 6 Years Ago
        I drive 38 miles both ways in sometimes grid-locked traffic (can add two hours to my commute, rarely) to work (only one was is up-hill, thanks). I want a range of 160-250 miles on battery, just to be on the safe side. Right now I drive a VW GTi VR6 and I have to fill up the tiny tank every three days, I'd like to have about the same recharge schedule with a BEV.
      • 6 Years Ago
      100 mile BEV, I'm in for 1. If it could do 150 miles I'd be in for 2... TODAY!

      The Volt is completely out of juice. I want to be ICE free.
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