• Mar 30, 2011
Ford Focus Electric – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf may have stolen the plug-in vehicle show in 2010, but Ford aims to make a splash in 2011 with its Focus Electric. The "zero-emissions" hatchback made its official debut at this year's Consumer Electronics Show and the automaker says that the car will officially launch at the end of 2011 in the U.S., with European deliveries scheduled for late 2012.

Unlike Renault, which will offer a battery-leasing option on its electric vehicles sold in Europe, Ford says that the Focus Electric will be sold like a conventional car, meaning the hatchback's battery pack will be included in the price of the car. Ford's UK managing director, Nigel Sharp, told Autocar that:
We're waiting to see how the market reacts to other electric cars, but we are sure leasing batteries is not the way to go, even if it would bring the initial price down. The Focus must be sold as a conventional car would be.
The Focus Electric is powered by 100-kilowatt electric motor with a 23-kWh battery pack. Ford says the plug-in can hit a top speed of 84 miles per hour, travel up to 100 miles on a full charge and recharge in three hours when plugged into a 240-volt home charging station. Official pricing for the Focus Electric, either in the U.S. or in Europe, has not been determined.

Live photos copyright ©2011 Damon Lavrinc / AOL

[Source: Autocar]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Excellent news. I would *never* get an electric vehicle that had a battery-lease only option; that option would leave it wide open for the manufacturer to recall the batteries and you're left with an over-sized, overly expensive paperweight.

      With the news about the Ford Focus Electric being sold with the battery, you own it outright, and the company can't take it away from you for any reason.

      Now, only if my condo organization would agree with installing a 240v plug on my spot, I'd purchase this.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Quite a nice looking car and it's probably good that it doesn't focus on battery leasing or swapping. I'd rather buy the entire car and not be worried about having to give back the battery after 3-5 years although it would still have capacity of 80-95 % left.

      For charging, a Mode 2 (3 x 32 A / 480 V AC / 50 Hz) or Mode 3 (3 x 63 A / 480 V AC) conductive power plug should be enough until nanobatteries can handle the Mode 4 (3 x 400 A / 1,000 V DC) conductive or inductive charging.

      Not sure, if Mode 1 (1 x 16 A / 250 V AC circuit breaker) is enough to charge the car in 3 hours in IEC Europe. Probably needs UL USA amperage to do that.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Regarding the battery: I spoke with the Ford folks at the Washington, DC Auto Show a while back. The batteries will be made by LG subsidiary Compact Power Inc, in Troy, MI. LG Chem will initially manufacture the cells that will go into the packs in Korea and then completely shift production of cells and packs to the LG Holland, MI plant in 2012.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think this is a wise decision by Ford given this also the direction of their competitors such as the Nissan Leaf.

      Saying that though I would consider a lease only option if the base price of the vehicle was low - say as low as base model gas version and the lease price of the battery was reasonable and as long they made the commitment to continually update the battery pack / BMS as the battery tech improved meaning the car will get more range / power / top speed as the tech improves.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @David Martin

        David, Renault should really pay you, (or at least give you a Zoe) you are doing a great sales job for them!

        Just a couple of observations:(please correct if wrong)

        1)The Renault product will not be in production until late 2012.
        2)The Renault Zoe is much smaller than the Ford Focus EV.
        3)The battery lease plan is not yet fully detailed. The cost is very low. $1200, per year over three years or 30,000 miles. $3600 in total seems to be very cost effective. That is, unless this is based on Renault tie up with Better Place. The BP battery swap model has real pitfalls and should really be avoided.
        4) In most western countries, leasing is just a tax-incentive method of buying. The correct term is lease to buy. The lease rate, usually 36-48 months, fully tax deductible and at the end of the contract there is a small residual payment left to purchase the car. It's exactly the same as Hire-to-Purchase, or Auto-Finance, but less complex for business to tax deduct.

        As to the servicing aspects of EV's. In theory, you should be right! However, I have discovered that EV's have service difficulties of their own which can be both costly and time consuming. Ask anyone whose owned a Vectrix VX1!!!

        Smith-Newton EV Trucks, are paragons of build quality and EV excellence, yet Smith's have a busy service department. Tesla report that the service free EV is a bit of a myth.

        But these are early days, and no doubt just like ICE, the servicing aspects will improve.

        • 3 Years Ago
        That pretty much describes Renault's plans. They intend to price their EV cars at around the same price as diesel models. The battery lease is for 3 years, so you can upgrade as better models become available.

        'The French automaker will start selling the Zoe in the second half of 2012 and will price it at about 15,000 euros ($20,700), or roughly half the price of a Nissan Leaf in Europe.

        The Zoe price doesn't include the leasing rate for the battery, but with Renault charging 72 euros a month to lease batteries to Kangoo Express battery electric utility vehicle owners, with a cap of about 10,000 miles a year, expect Zoe batteries to lease for the equivalent of about $100 a month.

        The Zoe will have a single-charge range of about 100 miles.'


        European prices can't be directly translated to US dollars, as they include things like VAT.

        At European petrol prices You would be better off straight away.
        $100 buys you about 46 litres of petrol in the UK, good for perhaps 460 miles or so a month if you have an economical car.
        That would cost around £20 in electricity, so very roughly as long as you do more than 6,000 miles a year you will be in pocket.
        That doesn't count the astonishingly low maintenance on electric cars.
        For some Renault models the first service is at 50,000 miles, and is simply to check the brake pads.

        The choice between the purpose designed Zoe and the Ford kludge is pretty much a no-brainer.

      • 3 Years Ago
      Are they going to handicap this one with a ridiculous noisemaker as well?
        • 3 Years Ago
        It's not their call, blame government regulations.
      • 3 Years Ago
      @ David Martin

      Yes I agree that the Renault Zoe will be very promising particularly in Europe with battery lease option considering as you say relatively higher fuel prices.

      An Australian startup called Eday is also considering a simular approach with cheap base price with battery lease cost.

        • 3 Years Ago
        Y'know, I wouldn't put too much faith in E-DAY, although this company has an actual listing on the very small second board exchange, it has no ability to actually develop any products.

        Lot's of hype, and a 'strategic alliance' with Better Place. (To do what, exactly is a bit of a mystery) the prospectus is about as vague as ASIC rules allow and the company is basically described an importer and distributor.

        The history of E-Day, is dubious. Nearly all the PRC sourced EV's proposed ,have been rejected by Australia's strict compliance regime. Obtaining the agencies for Miles, Phoenix and Reva EV' quadracycles were not really helpful. None of these vehicles can be sold in Australia. (Mostly Phoenix and miles are little more than Vaporware themselves)

        The company seems to be largely vaporware. (But impressive website) The battery technology is little more than hype and a rather poor PRC sourced product.

        Australia has a successful, fully complaint, Licenced EV production manufacturer with a six year history of successful EV manufacture. Blade Engineering. Makers of the Blade Electron, and Blade Runner.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ Marcopolo

        I admit that I am skeptical about the Eday Life product and company particularly given the initially proposed top speed of less than highway speed of 50 miles per hour which I think is marketing suicide.

        Nothing against Blade but remember they are a convertors not a EV manufacturer.

        Just like EvMe Mazda 2 built by Energetique it again is a conversion.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Finally a decent looking electric car, that a car person would like to own and drive( beside the Teslas)!! Much better looking then the Volt and a whole lot easier on the eyes then the Leaf (looks like a grandma's car).
      • 3 Years Ago
      An excellent entry to the EV market. This will be cheaper than Leaf in Canada undoubtedly and will take first place for practical, attractive hatchback in US. Good to see Ford acknowledges the need for thermal management of packs - likely to be Nissan's fatal mistake.
      • 3 Years Ago
      @ Marcopolo

      I admit that I am skeptical about the Eday Life product and company particularly given the initially proposed top speed of less than highway speed of 50 miles per hour which I think is marketing suicide.

      Nothing against Blade but remember they are a convertors not a EV manufacturer.

      Just like EvMe Mazda 2 built by Energetique it again is a conversion.
      • 3 Years Ago
      What is missing in this discussion and the ABG photos are what significantly detracts from the Focus EV utility:

      The huge box blocking off the hatch:


      It is better looking than the Leaf, but with a clear Hatch, the Leaf is more practical.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is a very handsome car. Very Euro. I've always been jealous on my travels through Europe that their compact cars didn't look like the kind of crapboxes Detroit used to make. Bravo, Ford.
      • 3 Years Ago
      OK. So it looks like the Focus Electric is engineered to be similar in range to the Leaf. That makes sense. Nobody cares about the lack of a battery lease option because only a fool would go there. But will the Focus cost $36,000 or less MSRP? If it does, especially seeing what Nissan has to charge in Canada, the Focus at $36k is a steal.
      The Focus Electric looks much better than the Leaf and goes as far and costs about the same, probably, if Ford does the job right. Nissan is looking more and more like a loser that thought getting there first meant they could sell an inferior product and get away with it.
      But there is plenty of time for Ford to mess this up, and bringing an overpriced BEV with no pack management to the market would be a good way for Ford to lose their momentum...
        • 3 Years Ago
        Sorry, senile moment. I meant to add that the conclusion that only a fool would least the battery seems wrong on several counts.
        In many countries there are tax advantages to leasing.
        This is a new technology, so why not let the manufacturers take the risks instead of bearing it yourself?
        Where the battery lease option is offered, ie Europe, you could buy the lovely Renault Zoe and lease the battery and show a profit against fuel costs from day one, as long as you do 6,000 miles pa or more in the UK.
        When upgrades become available you can simply swap the battery for one with a longer range.
        Elsewhere in the thread it is suggested that they might withdraw the battery and leave you with scrap. Well, you could always buy someone else's battery pack. Fitting is not too difficult, I understand.

        Leasing for the car in the States and the battery in Europe strikes me as a great option.
        The American aversion to leasing strikes me as weird when the alternative is financing the car! - fair enough if you buy cash.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I was thinking about this yesterday - current manufacturers of cars do not include the price of gasoline or diesel, so why should EV manufacturers include the batteries, since they also burn up over time, just like gas. Every time you charge, a small percentage of the battery is used up, so after a while, you need a new one. So, the driving cost of an EV is not just the electricity you use, but the amount of battery you have used up.

        By this reasoning, to get a truer idea of how much you are spending in "fuel" each month, a lease that amortizes the "burning of the battery" is much more akin to how you buy gasoline, ie, over time. Plus, they will give you a new one when the old one is spent.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Ford manages the battery pack temperature like Tesla does - a closed-loop liquid heating/cooling system. I do not know about their charging/discharging controls. If the Focus EV would fail, it wouldn't be because of pack temp.

        Given Ford's success with their hybrids, I doubt they'll screw this up. Their hybrids are reliable and deliver mpg consistently higher than the EPA ratings with incredible longevity. I would expect nothing less from the Focus EV.
        • 3 Years Ago
        David, not sure if your comment about "how you reach the conclusion that Ford prices will be competitive with Nissan's" was aimed at me, as far as I can see no one said they would be, I said, "But will the Focus cost $36,000 or less MSRP? If it does, especially seeing what Nissan has to charge in Canada, the Focus at $36k is a steal."
        The Nissan Leaf MSRP is $32,780, if the Ford Focus Electric is less than $36,000 it will be a steal compared to the uglier Leaf. If you have seen the Focus Electric hatch, you will have to admit it looks a lot better than the Leaf in nearly every way. It looks like Ford, again the qualifier, 'probably' has the same range as the Leaf. If the Focus Electric does have the same range and is less than $3,000 more than the Leaf , the Leaf is going to have trouble finding buyers. It looks too dorky next to the Focus to convince most buyers to choose it instead of the cooler looking Ford.
        My fear is that Ford will price the Focus Electric over $39,000. That is a bit too high to take the sales from a substantially cheaper Leaf.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Hi Ziv,
        Yep, I was directly responding to you. Thanks for taking on board the point about leasing.
        To the point: I think that Ford are not even aiming for comparable prices to the Leaf, and they can't do it anyway so long as they have such modest production targets.
        I would guess that they will be several thousand more than the Leaf.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DM: I have not read anything that specified, even roughly, what Ford's production targets are for the Focus EV. Where'd you get that from?

        Generally speaking, Ford would be more self-destructive than GM ever was if Ford tried to sell the Focus EV higher than the Leaf. Look at the facts: the Leaf has a 24kWh pack, the Focus EV, 23kWh. Given the appearance of being about the same size and superior pack regulation, the Focus EV should have about the same exact range as the Leaf, if not a few miles better.

        Ford is moving their electrification development in-house, including their plug-in and EV stuff. However, LG Chem appears to be the supplier of the cells. I don't know any more than that, though.

        Oh, and about leasing the battery pack in the US - too much dependence on nasty "socialist" programs to catch on here. Who wants left with a potentially sub-par pack? Who wants to be at the control and mercy of a centralized supplier? The occult of the individual is in its' death throes, and it's not going quietly.

        Don't get me wrong - individuality is important, and that aspect will always remain an important, favorable part of the fabric of US culture. I'm referring to the extreme individualism, the selfish ignorance: go-it-alone brute-force stupidity, all of my paycheck is mine, not one cent belongs to the evil gov't, etc.
        • 3 Years Ago
        David, I wish I could say you are full of hot air, but it is entirely possible that you are right. I hope not, I hope Ford prices it below $36,000, but Nissan has been building batteries for a long time and I am not sure that Ford has been able to get their packs cheap enough to make a profit at $36k, especially since Ford looks to have a fairly robust pack management system. The reason I have been writing about an MSRP of $36,000 is that I think Ford's supplier may be able to come within $100 of Nissan's price per kWh, but probably not any closer. Flipside of this is that the Focus is a huge seller for Ford and the Leaf is pretty much a one off even though it is similar to the Versa in some ways, so maybe Ford can gain some ground on economies of scale. Who knows what Ford will price it at, though.

        Regardless, it is great to see choices here in the states and abroad for various BEV's, and soon, various EREV's!
        • 3 Years Ago
        I don't know how you reach the conclusion that Ford prices will be competitive with Nissan's.
        The low volume they are going for precludes that.
        Their plan is to sell them to price insensitive customers like Government organisations, not to compete for the mass market with Nissan and Renault, and they have been upfront about their limited ambitions in BEV cars.
        • 3 Years Ago
        On second thought, David, I think you are right that battery leases are a reasonable way to go, if they are structured right and if the MSRP reflects the fact that the car is priced without one of its main components. I let my dislike of a lease cloud my judgment on what might work, especially elsewhere in countries that have a tax structure different from what I am used to.
        Your point is taken.
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