• Jan 3rd 2011 at 3:55PM
  • 28
It's been nearly a full year since Ford made it clear that the automaker is planning to roll out an all-electric version of its Focus, and now we have our first glimpse at what to expect from the car. The Blue Oval has dusted off its first teaser of the New Year with a shot of the charging port on the EV Focus. Interestingly enough, Ford has decided to skip the Detroit Auto Show as a venue for the vehicle's unveil, opting instead for the electrified Focus to take a bow at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which runs from January 6 to 9.

Ford has previously announced that when the Focus Electric hits the market, it will initially only be available in Washington, D.C. and just 14 states. Buyers can expect to find a range of around 100 miles thanks to an array of lithium-polymer batteries supplied by LG Chem. The attentive of you will recognize that supplier as the same company that serves up the cells for the Chevrolet Volt.

We'll have the full details about Ford's Focus Electric in the coming days, so stay tuned.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Some further comments:

      1. The new Focus is derived from Ford's new C2 platform and will begin production in a couple of weeks in Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant. This plant used to produce large SUV's but is now essentially all-new and very flexible and dedicated to c-car platform derivatives.

      2. When the BEV Focus is introduced later this year, it will be built on the same line as the gasoline model (just as the Leaf can be flexed in with gasoline cars). No, Magna does not design Ford's manufacturing system.

      3. Ford will introduce its Gen III hybrid system, with both HEV and PHEV in 2012. Lithium cells from Michigan; battery packs assembled in Michigan; a new transmission from Michigan. Ford has announced they will produce the HEV and PHEV on the same assembly line as the gasoline and BEV models, which will give them the capability to flexibly manage production to match customer demand. The HEV/PHEV on this platform also will be extended to other assembly plants including Louisville and Spain.

      4. It's true that Magna first suggested the BEV project to Ford, but I haven't seen any definitive split of responsibilities published. Magna is a very large supplier with wide capability, but to assume that Ford has totally cast off the responsibility to Magna is very naive.

      5. All that really matters is the final product. Price and capability. The Leaf is the most natural competitor, so we'll probably see a head-to-head comparison when the time comes. In the meantime, we might also get some details in a couple of weeks at the Detroit Auto Show. Personally, I'm most anxious to take a look at the battery package. In particular, did Ford keep the Focus floorpan, or did they develop a new floorpan to accomodate the batteries?

        • 4 Years Ago
        Unfortunately because Ford are simply sticking batteries into existing bodies rather than designing from scratch, they have taken a substantial amount of a fairly small boot to put it in.
        Their game plan is to continue this practise, gradually reducing the size rather than increasing the power of the pack, so will remain limited to around 100 miles of range.
        This ties in with their view that take up of EV cars will be limited, and avoids, they hope permanently, the expense of new body design, so for Ford they will remain a sort of add-on.

        If you have to stick with an existing body, in my view the C-Max would have been a better platform, as it is a rather more roomy car with more space than the otherwise excellent Focus to accommodate the battery without seriously compromising space.
        • 4 Years Ago
        6. What matters in the long run is who owns the IP. That will determine who gets to reap the benefits in 5-10 years.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is that the xBox ring of death on the side of the car? If you get a fault does it turn red?
      • 4 Years Ago
      looks like different body work.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lithium polymer, eh? Interesting choice. The Volt may have the same supplier, but they're definitely not LiPo, but manganese-spinel.

      Wonder how they're dealing with the safety, cost and cycle-life issues. I suppose given the huge energy-density bonus they can afford a few more pounds for a serious liquid-cooling system.
        • 4 Years Ago

        I think Ford confirmed that the Focus EV will have a liquid cooling system.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, sadly "Lithium-Polymer" is a very vague term that can cover several different chemistry mixes.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That was what I thought, but it seems not, the Volt uses similar batteries:

        Apparently manganese spinel and lithium polymer are not mutually exclusive terms:
        'There are currently two commercialized technologies, both lithium-ion-polymer (where "polymer" stands for "polymer electrolyte/separator") cells. These are collectively referred to as "polymer electrolyte batteries".

        The battery is constructed as:

        * Cathode: LiCoO2 or LiMn2O4
        * Separator: Conducting polymer electrolyte
        * Anode: Li or carbon-Li intercalation compound

        • 4 Years Ago
        Interesting. Given that the Volt's pack is 16 kWh and weighs 170 kg, the thermal management system must be very heavy indeed, given that the state-of-the-art for lithium polymer is better than 225 Wh/kg.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Some additional points to clear up misconceptions:

      First the Leaf:
      1. From a body construction standpoint, there is nothing unusual or remarkable about the Leaf. The steel panels are stamped on existing presses, and the panels are welded together in an existing body shop.
      2. Nissan had other design considerations to reduce cost. For instance, they held the suspension hard points so they could use the Versa suspension, and they held powertrain mount points so the Leaf could be assembled along side cars with IC engines.
      3. Nissan engineers did spend a considerable amount of time on the rear underbody and battery design to maximize passenger and cargo space and provide a low center of gravity. Knowing the platform would not have neither an IC engine nor AWD allowed design freedom. They also made a decision to go with air-cooled batteries which are less bulky and lighter than liquid cooled.

      For the Focus:
      1. We don't have any idea what the production version of the Focus BEV will look like in terms of battery package (but we will soon). The first Focus BEV was cobbled up by Magna; the Jay Leno Focus was a two-week effort by a small group of Ford engineers using the European Focus as a start point. Neither vehicle is likely representive of the final product.
      2. Ford certainly would have examined the possibility of striking a new floorpan to repackage the batteries, but my guess is they will hold the existing Focus floorpan. That, combined with the liquid cooled batteries, could mean that the batteries will "surface" behind the rear seat. We'll just have to wait and see.
      3. There is no reason to believe that the Focus would be any cheaper to produce than the Leaf. Whether it's on an existing platform or a new platform has very little to do with it; the costs are mostly dependent on utilizing existing facilities which both the Leaf and the Focus are doing. In fact, I would think the Focus might be more expensive since the Focus likely will be the benchmark c-class sedan in the U.S.
      4. Price is another thing. There is no "real" price for electric vehicles as the market is too immature. Personally, I think the Focus should be priced close to the Leaf, but maybe a bit above depending on equipment. The Focus and the Leaf will have a mix of attributes; customers will have to judge which vehicle best meets their expectations and earns their dollars.

      • 4 Years Ago
      The Magna Focus Electric.

      I wonder when Ford will make their own EV.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is their "own" electric. Every car maker uses suppliers for multiple components in their cars, even Nissan.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Speaking of Magna, I wonder why Tesla and Karma didn't just contract out manufacturing to Magna (or even Valmet).
        • 4 Years Ago
        You say "Magna" like it's a bad thing. (?)

        Magna is a huge company. They source parts to most of the majors and Frank Stronach (founder, chairman) is a big proponent of electric cars.

        Magna has been rumoured to be in talks with Mercedes-Benz and BMW on EV projects.
        • 4 Years Ago

        As all of the manufacturing facilities (Ford, LG chem, Magna) for the Focus EV will be on U.S. soil, I'll bet the Focus EV will have one of the highest US content ratings of any car on the road (if you're in to that sort of thing).
        • 4 Years Ago
        All the R&D on the EV Focus was done by Magna and I believe Magna also designed the production facility. I could be wrong on that.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It is a joke, Throwback. Gary understood it. Ford massively outsourced this project. This is only a little more Ford than that Ford electric Transit Van.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I was hoping that Ford would get their range up above 100 miles. Real world range will probably be around 70-85 miles, just like the Leaf. But it is all good, hopefully by 2013 the price of the battery packs will be down a noticeable amount, allowing the builders to put a bit more range in the package. I am guessing that Nissans $470 and GM's $600 per kWh will be down to $400 and $510, respectively. One can hope...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Spec: battery size is not only about the range and the price. It also substantially adds to the vehicle mass affecting essentially all other vehicle characteristics. An optimum battery size is one that maximizes the range but doesn't yet require scaling up of the vehicle mass, motor power or the total cost purely for the sake of accommodating a larger battery in it.

        100 miles is not a bad range, both for practical and psychological reasons. Going significantly above that value would mean entering a path of diminishing returns.
        • 4 Years Ago
        100 miles is apparently the 'sweet spot'. If you go below that, it is too impractical. If you go above that, you are just pricing the car out the range of many people that would like the car.

        But I'm still stumped as to why no one has decided to give buyers an option as to how big the battery is. Why not? Perhaps that will give away how expensive the batteries are? (Or given a mistaken impression since that amount will be marked-up.)
      • 4 Years Ago
      Regardless of the viewpoint of the relative less design and effort put into the Focus EV say against the Leaf - I am still impressed with Ford's committment.

      I own an ICE Focus and would like to update that when an EV comes available here in Australia (It so happens to come off lease at the expected time that plug-in EVs are expected to be available here being 2012) - I will be considering the Focus EV as a natural upgrade.

      They turned an SUV producing factory to one produce EVs and more efficient vehicles - they sound to me to be serious to getting these cars on the road.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Ah, Ford. An american car company that didn't fail (like GM) that still has a chance (in my mind). I too like that they're introducing the car at CES. I would actually consider buying a ford EV someday, unlike a wanna-be EV from Government Motors.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is by far the most interesting EV there is, reasonably priced, and doesn't look like a toy, like the Nissan Leaf, I'm sorry but that thing looks terrible. Also the new Focus is supposed to be a really nice car, so it's on a great platform.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So, i'm guessing because they're using a pre existing chasis and design the price will be cheaper than the leaf?
        • 4 Years Ago
        One would hope that an improved price would be the advantage with the disadvantage of losing some space for the batteries as David M. pointed out earlier.

        We will see.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Ford aren't going for anything like the volume of Nissan/Renault, and the biggest extra cost of EVs is in the batteries, so regardless of design compromises the Ford Focus EV is likely to come in at a higher price point than the Leaf.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Introducing the car at the Consumer Electronics Show, that's:

      Innovative, unique, aimed at the right market.

      Ford has been introducing their interactive systems at the CES over the last couple of years (I think Mulally did the keynote) so this would be a natural extension.

      Ford's on a roll.
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