Google spokesperson Parag Chokshi says that, "The Ford Focus is simply the latest addition to Gfleet." Gfleet is Google's own internal car sharing service they provide to their employees. "We plan to add other manufacturers as more EVs become available," added Chokshi.
In addition to Gfleet, Googlers have access to nearly 250 charging stations that pump out free electricity. The extensive charging system has even persuaded many Googlers to go the route of plug-ins.
The next question is: does Google have anything in store for Ford in return? Converting the EV to a self-driving car for Ford to study would sure beat a "thank you" note, but nothing to report on that front yet.
Focus Electric also is the first of its kind to feature faster charging, which will halve Nissan Leaf's time to fully recharge the battery and help drivers to more than double the expected single-charge range in a busy day of driving and recharging.
The car headlines Ford's transformed lineup, one-third of which will feature a model with 40 mpg or more in 2012, building on the company's commitment to give fuel-efficiency-minded customers the Power of Choice.
"The Focus Electric is a shining example of the leading fuel economy Ford is offering for each new vehicle," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. "Whether people want a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or full battery-electric vehicle, we have a family of vehicles for them to consider, providing a range of options to best meet their needs and support their driving habits and lifestyles."
Even with relatively stable gas prices, fuel economy is the top purchase consideration for new vehicles. Nearly 45 percent of customers say fuel economy is their top consideration based on a Ford survey of Americans in 36 cities this fall. Styling is the next consideration, with only 16 percent of study participants saying it is their top purchase driver.
Ford's rollout of electrified vehicles began in December 2010 with the 2011 Ford Transit Connect Electric - a small commercial van built in collaboration with Azure Dynamics. Ford's other 40-mpg vehicles include:
Three vehicles yet to be announced
With 20 years of Ford research and innovation behind the software and hardware technology, the company offers proven engineering and design with Focus Electric. Ford holds approximately 500 patents on the hybrid technology used in the new Focus Electric and its other electrified vehicles.
Focus Electric is designed to offer enough range to cover the majority of daily driving habits of Americans. Its expected 100 MPGe is better than Chevrolet Volt and all electric vehicles with seating for five.
It will be the first electrified vehicle to offer faster charging with 240-volt outlets, which can be installed in customer homes. The battery can be recharged in just more than three hours using a 240-volt charging station, about half the charging time of the 2012 Nissan Leaf.
Faster charging with 240 volts also can extend range as drivers can more quickly recharge between stops - up to 30 miles per charge hour - so they can more than double the vehicle's range with multiple charging stops during a busy day of driving.
A unique value charging feature, powered by Microsoft, will help owners in the U.S. charge their vehicles at the cheapest utility rates, lowering the cost of ownership.
Focus Electric introduces new features and technologies - including a unique version of the MyFord Touch® driver connect system especially for electric vehicles and a smartphone app called MyFord® Mobile that helps plug-in owners control their vehicles remotely.
The sleek and stylish five-door hatchback is designed to deliver real driving enjoyment as well. The all-electric powertrain and single-speed transmission provide immediate responsiveness and smooth acceleration when the driver steps on the accelerator, up to a top speed of 84 mph.
The Focus Electric is a dynamic driver's car, sharing the steering, handling and braking feel with the agile, sporty, fuel-powered Focus models upon which it's based. At the same time, the absence of a gasoline or diesel engine and outstanding aerodynamics lead to a remarkably quiet, comfortable in-car experience.
A limited number of Focus Electrics will first be available in California and the New York/New Jersey areas. Availability of the Focus Electric will expand in 2012 to the remaining 15 launch markets as production ramps up.
The 19 launch markets also include Atlanta; Austin and Houston, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Denver; Detroit; Los Angeles; San Francisco; San Diego; New York; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.
The Ford C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid are Ford's first compact multi-activity vehicles (MAVs) in North America and offer high mileage and low emissions as well as a distinctive design and flexible interior.
The C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi use the company's next-generation powersplit hybrid technology in combination with a lighter, smaller lithium-ion battery system. Both models provide maximum fuel efficiency by pairing the high-voltage lithium-ion battery and electric traction motor with a high-efficiency Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine. This technology enables the gasoline engine to run less than the previous generation.
C-MAX Hybrid is targeted to deliver better fuel economy than the Toyota Prius v. C-MAX Energi is expected to deliver better MPGe in electric mode than the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid and to achieve more than 500 miles of driving range using the battery and engine.
The C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi, like the Focus Electric, have been engineered and built to deliver engaging driving dynamics and technologies. In addition, C-MAX Energi and Focus Electric will offer MyFord Touch and MyFord Mobile, designed to make charging and driving the vehicle even more efficient, affordable and easier to live with.
Hybrid transmission leader
When C-MAX Hybrid launches, Ford becomes North America's largest maker of hybrid transmissions.
Ford engineered the transmission and upgraded the controls with a goal of creating the industry's highest-performing and smoothest-operating hybrid transmission. Among the hybrid transmission's innovations:
Electric motors capable of operating at higher electric speeds
A new, super-efficient cooling system that enables higher speeds in electric drive
Optimized gear ratios enabling improvement in fuel economy
More precise controls to deliver higher levels of refinement as the powertrain transitions between engine and electric drive
Reduced weight to help increase fuel economy
This is the first hybrid transmission to be designed and built by Ford. Production is moving from a supplier in Japan to the Van Dyke Transmission Plant in Sterling Heights, Mich., which also will assemble battery packs for Ford's hybrid and electric vehicles.
Building green vehicles cleaner
Ford completely transformed Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., into an environmentally friendly workplace with flexible manufacturing capability.
With the new electrified vehicles and the new Focus ST performance model also coming in 2012, Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant is the first facility in the world capable of building a full array of vehicles - gas-powered, EcoBoost®, electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid - all on the same production line.
The plant also features one of the largest solar power generation systems in the state as well as several electric vehicle charging stations, allowing the facility to operate on a blend of renewable and conventional electricity.
Renewable energy collected by the solar panels directly feeds the energy-efficient microgrid, helping power the plant. When the plant is inactive, such as holidays, the stored solar energy will provide power during periods of insufficient or inconsistent sunlight. Projected energy cost savings are approximately $160,000 per year.
The plant also has 10 electric vehicle charging stations that recharge the electric switcher trucks that transport parts between adjacent facilities - saving an estimated 86,000 gallons of gas a year.
Plus, 50 percent of the parts arriving for the all-new Focus are packed in cardboard, are carefully collected, sorted and recycled, as is the bubble wrap, the Styrofoam and the water bottles used by employees.