• Sep 18th 2009 at 12:00AM
  • 25
Jay Leno's Green Car Challenge Ford Focus EV - Click above for high-res image gallery

The new Jay Leno Show has been given as much push as any new program in recent memory, with a constant barrage on TV, the radio and all over the interwebs. One part of the show that has really piqued our interest is Jay's Green Car Challenge, which puts celebrities behind the wheel of an electric Ford Focus. We reported on Jay's Top Gear-like challenge last week, but we hadn't gotten our hands on any pics or specs... until now.

The special battery-powered Focus started life in Germany as a run-of-the-mill Focus ST five-door hatch back in July, then it was shipped to Dearborn, MI for electrification. The one-of-a-kind Focus was given an extreme makeover in only six weeks, but we think the results are pretty remarkable. The Green Car Challenge Focus is bright orange, has more decals than Tony Stewart's car and packs a permanent magnet electric motor. The electric Focus weighs in at a portly 3,421 pounds due in part to the vehicle's 98 air-cooled, 60 Ah lithium ion batteries. The electric motor kicks out 141 hp (105 kW) and 235 lb-ft of torque and has a 7,500 rpm redline.

The goal of Leno's Green Car Challenge is for celebrities to achieve the best possible lap times, so Ford made sure its ecologically friendly Focus could also handle track duty. Among the added features in this Euro Focus ST are Recaro racing seats, a full roll cage and a five-point racing harness. Ford also added 12.6 inch front rotors and 11 inch discs out back to make sure this hot orange Focus could stop as well as it can go.

The Green Car Challenge Ford Focus will first hit the airwaves tonight as actress Drew Berrymore gets behind the wheel for some track time. Hit the jump for more details about Ford's converted Euro Focus ST, and click on the gallery below to see a couple great looking pics.

[Source: Ford]



Background: A battery-electric Ford Focus will appear tonight, Friday, Sept. 18 on "The Jay Leno Show" (NBC, Monday-Friday, 10-11 p.m. ET) in a segment they call "Green Car Challenge." The battery-electric Ford Focus will be used throughout the first season of the show, driven by celebrity guests who accept the challenge.


• An electric-powered Ford Focus is ready to race tonight on "The Jay Leno Show" (NBC, Monday-Friday, 10-11 p.m. ET) in a segment called "Green Car Challenge." Tuned to perform on a racetrack that was specifically designed for "The Jay Leno Show," the battery-electric Ford Focus will be the car used throughout the first season. Actress Drew Barrymore is the first celebrity to accept "The Jay Leno Show's" "Green Car Challenge."

• A one-of-a-king battery-electric Focus will make its television debut tonight in "The Jay Leno Show's" "Green Car Challenge." Celebrities who accept the challenge will be at the wheel, driving quickly to establish a fast lap time that future guests will try to beat. The "Green Car Challenge" will be a regular segment on "The Jay Leno Show."

• The electric Focus to be driven by celebrity guests on "The Jay Leno Show" is one-of-a-kind vehicle, based on the European five-door production Focus ST, modified into a battery electric vehicle (BEV) as part of Ford's BEV test fleet. The Focus BEV foreshadows many of the same systems that Ford will begin selling to consumers in an all-new electric Ford Focus, scheduled to go on sale in North America in 2011. The new Focus BEV is one of four electrified vehicles Ford is introducing now through 2012 as part of the company's commitment to deliver best-in-class fuel efficiency with every new vehicle it introduces.

• "The Jay Leno Show"'s unique Focus BEV started life as a European production Focus ST, built in Germany in July. The car was delivered to Ford's world headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., where engineers went to work, removing the traditional engine and gas tank and installing an entire electric powertrain – all in six weeks. With Recaro racing seats, a full roll cage, a five-point racing harness and wearing a unique (and fitting) "Electric Orange" paint scheme, the battery electric Focus ST is ready for racing.

• With a sophisticated electric powertrain, the zero-emissions Ford Focus BEV delivers nearly as much torque at the wheels as a 2010 Ford Mustang V-6. It also stores enough energy to power an average household for 24 hours.

• Thanks in part to the battery placement, the race-ready Ford Focus BEV has a nearly ideal 50/50 weight distribution for improved race track handling. The front springs and dampers come from the performance-minded Ford Focus RS, a popular, high-performance European production model. The rear dampers and springs are unique to Leno's Focus BEV.

• The car is specifically tuned to perform on the track built alongside "The Jay Leno Show" studio at NBC. To help improve performance, Ford created a similar track at its proving ground in Michigan so the vehicle would be ready to handle the tight turns.

• Besides an ability to perform on the track, the Ford Focus BEV boasts the impressive statistics of a conventional battery electric vehicle, with a range of nearly 80 miles on a charge and peak power of 141 horsepower (105 kilowatts).

Powertrain: permanent magnetic electric motor
Power: 141 hp / 105 kw
Torque: 236 lb.-ft. / 320 Nm
Redline: 7500 rpm
Batteries: 98, air-cooled, 60 A-h Lithium-ion batteries
Capacity: 23 kilowatt hours
Transmission: Single speed gearbox

Steering: Electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Front suspension: Macpherson-type struts
Rear suspension: Independent short-long arm (SLA), control blade multi-link system
Brakes: Front: 12.6 in / 320 mm ventilated discs
Rear: 11.0 in / 280 mm solid disc
Anti-lock system

Wheelbase: 104 in / 2640 mm
Overall length: 171.7 in / 4362 mm
Overall height: 58.9 in / 1497 mm
Overall width: 72.4 in / 1840 mm
Curb weight: 3,421 lbs

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      The show is exactly what I expected and it is one of my first choices for 10:00 viewing. I am very excited for the extra car element in it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ah that looks like so much fun. I'm definitely tuning in tomorrow.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Looks great. Too bad I can't have one of those yet. :D Can't wait for the unveiling at Detroit.
      • 6 Years Ago
      On Top Gear, most of the celeb drivers manage to destroy at least one Reasonably Priced Cars per episode. I'm sure NBC will be thrilled when Jessica Alba skids their one-off custom-built electric vehicle into a barrier and gets a concussion.
        • 6 Years Ago
        If Jessica Alba smashed my car I'd be ok with it. Probably even fix it out of pocket (even though she's richer than I'll ever be)...just to have her sit in my car...I'd probably put it in a sealed capsule or enshrine it...sigh...Jessica Alba...can perfection come in any better shape or form? I think not...you had to mention Jessica Alba didn't you. For her I'd drive electric...if I had to.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Jay to public: So this is one of those cars you dont have in the US market.
      LOL (In Mexico we do!!!)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Still haven't seen Jay's new show. My wife says that it is okay as in funny. Has no interest in cars, but knows a dog when she drives one. Like the '09 Focus we had as a loaner while my car was in the shop.

      Note to self, DVR the show already.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree that the interviews seem awkward without the desk, but the one thing i miss that he hasn't done is jaywalking. I am glad he kept headlines though. I am really hoping the star in a green car is as good as I'm hoping though.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The show isn't very good. The lighting and set design blow. Jay and his guest look awkward and uncomfortable without a desk. Jay's suits look too large and poorly tailored.

        The sharpest dresses man in late has to be Bill Maher.

        I think everyone should shorten their monologues. Bill, Jay, Jimmy etc. Jay needs to reinterpret his own show into something new or change nothing. This half new, half old thing isn’t working.
      • 6 Years Ago
      God, I do hate Leno!
      • 6 Years Ago
      How do they get a "7500 RPM redline" out of an electric motor?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Thats easy. Just give it enough Amps! FYI I belive the Tesla motor spins up to 15,000 rpm.
      • 6 Years Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm not a jay hater or anything, always watched him over letterman, but the show hasn't impressed me much. It's basically the tonight show with some segments swapped around. Seems like they're really packing the commercials in too. Overall its just the tonight show with jay leno an hour and a half earlier, meaning I'll probably watch it more often than I watch/watched the tonight show (meaning I might watch it once a week instead of once a month and probably on the night he does this car thing)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wish that we could still get the hatchback - always liked the look of the ZX5 when it was available here in Canada. The current Focus just does nothing for me. Here is hoping more of the European models come our way
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow that focus looks awesome!! Is Ford selling that here in the US??!?!?


      Seriously Ford. Bring the euro focus over here and give the corolla and civic a whoopin. You saw how well the current focus did in cash for clunkers, and that thing is about as bland as a paint brush. Just imagine what the sleek and sexy looking euro style would have done.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The next gen Focus is going to be a world car. Christ, stop it, people. Ford gets it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ the guy talking about German sales numbers

        Duh, the VW sells better in GERMANY, as does the Opel. Doesn't that make sense? In many countries across the world, nationalism is a factor in the car purchase...look at the best selling car in Korea, Japan, France. And the aforementioned Germany. I would guess Italy, too (but don't know).

        Ours is the exception, not the rule.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Corolla and Civic? Let's have a look at the German sales numbers for August:

        Focus: 4486
        Civic: 1042
        Auris: 1055 (Auris replaced the Corolla in Europe)

        So, I bet Ford is shaking in fear of Honda and Toyota. Yet... it's not the best selling car in it's segment:

        Golf/Jetta: 31527 (Yes, only in August in Germany)
        Opel Astra: 6203 (Yes, the lame duck Astra that's going to be replaced by an all new model yery soon)
        BMW 1-series: 4909
        Audi A3: 4691
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X