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Ford Focus EV - Click above for high-res image gallery

Ford has confirmed rumors that the new Jay Leno show will use the an electric Ford Focus for its Green Car Challenge. From what we hear, the challenge is similar to Top Gear's "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" segment, where celebs take to the track and battle for top times. While guests on the British show tackle the track in a Chevy Lacetti, Leno's buddies will use a prototype electric car Ford will launch in 2011.

The crew at Ford Racing has retuned the suspension of the prototype Focus BEV to make it a bit more amenable to track duty and the Focus BEV will be used throughout season one of Leno's new show. Check out our own first drive of the Focus BEV here.

[Source: Ford]


  • Ford and the new "The Jay Leno Show" on NBC are teaming up to showcase battery electric vehicle (BEV) technology as part of the show's "Green Car Challenge," premiering Sept. 14
  • A specially built battery electric Ford Focus will be driven through the show's first season by celebrity guests who are competing in the "Green Car Challenge" for best track times
  • Ford is the only automaker to participate in the challenge, which previews four electrified vehicles the company will introduce in North America during the next three years – including a battery electric Transit Connect in 2010 and a battery electric Focus sedan in 2011
DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 10, 2009 – Ford Motor Company is teaming up with "The Jay Leno Show" and providing an all-new battery electric Ford Focus that celebrities will drive as a way to showcase Ford's leadership on fuel efficiency and electrified vehicles.

Ford's electric Focus will be the exclusive vehicle for The Jay Leno Show in a segment the host calls the "Green Car Challenge." The battery electric vehicle, specially made for the show, foreshadows elements of the electric Focus that Ford will begin selling in North America in 2011.

"Having our Focus battery electric vehicle on the show is a great way to demonstrate how fun to drive these cars really can be," said Lisa Drake, chief engineer, Ford Hybrid and Battery Electric Vehicle Programs. "Beyond the immediate excitement of driving, it demonstrates that Ford is investing in this technology and that we're committed to electric vehicles."

Ford has an aggressive plan to put at least four electrified vehicles on the road in North America by 2012, including the Focus BEV in 2011, as well as new hybrids and a plug-in hybrid.

"Ford is absolutely committed to delivering best-in-class fuel efficiency with every new vehicle we introduce," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. "The Focus showcases how electric vehicles can be smart, green, fast and fun. It also illustrates Ford's commitment to fuel efficiency and doing our part to contribute to a better world."

"The Jay Leno Show"
Leno will showcase Ford's electric Focus when the show kicks off Sept. 14. Celebrity guests will complete against each other in the "Green Car Challenge" segment.

Ford's hybrid and battery electric vehicle program team worked together with Ford Racing to develop the special BEV for the show. It took three weeks to build the car and another couple of weeks to properly tune the suspension so it could be driven fast on a racetrack. The development work was done at Ford's Michigan Proving Grounds in Romeo, Mich.

The Focus BEV built for the show has a split battery pack, with one battery in the cargo area and one underneath the car in the space normally occupied by a fuel tank. Because this Focus is built to race, it is equipped with a roll bar and five-point harness for the driver.

Ford's Fuel Efficiency Leadership
Ford's fuel efficiency leadership includes new EcoBoost engines on sale today in the Ford Taurus, Ford Flex, Lincoln MKS and, soon, Lincoln MKT. EcoBoost uses gasoline turbocharged direct-injection technology for up to 20 percent better fuel economy, 15 percent fewer CO2 emissions and superior driving performance versus larger displacement engines.

By 2013, Ford will offer EcoBoost engines in 90 percent of its product lineup with annual volume of vehicles with EcoBoost at 1.3 million globally.

Ford also has four hybrid vehicles on the road today, including the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, Mercury Milan Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid. At 41 miles per gallon, the Fusion Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient mid-size sedan in America – 8 mpg better than the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

Overall, Ford is making an unprecedented investment in new engine, transmission and driveline components, helping the company further improve vehicle fuel economy.

"We are committed to delivering new products with the best fuel economy in every segment in which we compete – driven in large part by substantial advancements in powertrain technology," said Barb Samardzich, vice president, Ford Global Powertrain Engineering. "We are focusing on sustainable technology solutions that can be used not for hundreds or thousands of cars – but for millions of cars, because that is how Ford truly will make a difference."

Among coming products are pure battery electric versions of the Transit Connect commercial van in 2010 and Focus sedan in 2011. The Transit Connect is expected to have a range of up to 100 miles.

The Focus BEV, which Ford is developing with Magna, will be produced at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant. The sedan can be charged from both a standard 110V as well as a 220V wall outlet.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      rip off. come up with you're own ideas jay. sheeeesh.
      • 5 Years Ago
      We need a tv show about cars here in America, After all cars are one of the biggest purchases we make in life, besides a wife and a house imo. jk I just can't wait for this show to air.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This makes me surprisingly happy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This should show the reliability of the car at least. If it gets thrashed and trashed as much as the Top Gear car and it holds up to the celebrity drivers, then that says a lot for Ford and the thought and technology they put into this car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So will the celebrities be driving the current mule, with its dorkmobile styling, or will it be a next-gen Focus with the RevoKnuckle front suspension?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, since this car makes it's first on-air appearance on September 18 this year, and the next-gen Focus won't launch in North America until 2011...
      • 5 Years Ago
      They say the EV Focus will be about the same or quicker than a current petrol model but the they go on to say it's just under 10sec 0-60. A petrol 2.0 is 8sec.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's great! Leno has great respect for Top Gear, glad to hear he is using this for his new show!

        • 5 Years Ago
        What a bit to steal though. I am sure the Top Gear people don't care at all. They love him to. I am sure he even asked them about it before he did it out of respect. Heck, he was the last series final guest.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why doesn't he just do it on Top Gear? Oh, right, he competes with them. As is said here: he's stealing the bit. then again, that's comedy...

      Does anyone have any idea whether the batteries will change significantly in the first few months of use? In other words, will there be an advantage to going first, or going last, because of the way the batteries drain over time?
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is going be like watching grass grow. Boring, Should have used the new Camaro with a v8. electric cars suck.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't know... it seems pretty exciting in the Lacetti they use on TG. I think a RWD V8 will just end up with someone getting hurt. After all, most of the stars on Top Gear have absolutely no experience on a a track.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sure, Top Gear has done the bit already but 99.9% of Americans have never seen Top Gear so it will be a new idea to America. And it will work out fine.

      BTW "American Idol" is a copy of Britian's "Pop Idol", "America's Got Talent" is a copy of a British show. That new show called "Shark's Den" (I think) is a copy of Britain's "Dragon's Den". Are you seeing a trend here? Americans are always copying sucessful British ideas (and vice-versa)...this isn't new.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Isn't the point of an electric car to save energy? This is just a big waste of it. Maybe he should have put stars in reasonably priced public transportation and then interview them.

      Love ya Jay but you can't go green burning up the watts going around a track.
        • 5 Years Ago

        Okay NicksGarage, if you don't think this isn't considered "green' and he's not burning gas with this car segment on his show, then what the heck is it then? Not using gasoline, but pure electricity to power a car is the definition of "green".
      • 5 Years Ago

      To everyone who is bitching and complaining about Leno using this idea on his show, I got 3 words for you all......DROP IT ALREADY!!!!!!

      Leno has already gone on record, saying that his favorite show is Top Gear, and that he has all the respect in the world for those guys. Remember, he was on their show while he was attending Goodwood this past season, and did the lap himself. I'm sure he asked Jeremy Clarkson and Andy Wilhelm if he could use the idea, and they were all for it, as it gives Top Gear even more recognition. I love the idea personally. Would be fun to watch our celebs drive on the track to see who's good and who's horrid.

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