2012 Ford Focus Electric in motion

Following in the footsteps of the Chevrolet Volt and the Honda Civic Natural Gas, the 105-MPGe 2012 Ford Focus Electric has been granted HOV lane access in California by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). CARB not only gave the upcoming all-electric vehicle the ability to let people drive alone in the High Occupancy Vehicle lane but also qualified it for an incentive that affords buyers an extra $2,500 off through the state's Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP).

With an official range of 76 miles, the Focus EV is what Ford calls the "most fuel-efficient five-passenger car" in the States. As it has in other marketing material, today's press release announcing the HOV designation, Ford is touting ways its car beats the Nissan Leaf (hey, it "only" gets 73 official miles, remember?), as you can read after the jump. For more on the controversial HOV lane situation in California, check out this article from AutoblogGreen contributor Chelsea Sexton.
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Californians Can Save $10,000, Cruise HOV Lanes in Ford Focus Electric - America's Most Fuel-Efficient Five-Seater

LOS ANGELES, March 12, 2012

The California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resources Board (CARB) has given approval for Golden State owners of the new 2012 Ford Focus Electric to drive in the highly sought-after high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes with less congestion
These owners also will be able to receive up to $10,000 in tax credits between the state's new $2,500 rebate and the eligible $7,500 federal tax incentive
Focus Electric recently became America's most fuel-efficient five-seater with a 110-MPGe city fuel economy rating, with more power, passenger room and standard features as well as half the charge time and cost of Nissan Leaf
Ford gives customers the power of choice with 10 fuel-efficiency leaders across segments and powertrain technologies

Californians looking to avoid projected $5-per-gallon gas will soon be able to buy the gas-free Ford Focus Electric, save $10,000, and enjoy high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane access after the car was just approved for California's Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP).

California Focus Electric customers can now apply to receive a $2,500 tax rebate when the Focus Electric is purchased or leased for 36 months or longer. In addition to the state rebate, Focus Electric qualifies for the existing $7,500 federal tax credit.

"Ford is providing customers the power of choice to save money at the pump – from our gas-free Focus Electric to our innovative EcoBoost® technology that delivers leading gas-engine fuel economy," said John Viera, global director, Sustainability and Vehicle Environmental Matters. "Californians have a legacy of embracing electric vehicles, and programs like the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program provide an excellent incentive for the continued wider adoption of electric vehicles."

HOV lane access
Traffic congestion continues to worsen in California where, according to the Texas Transportation Institute's annual Urban Mobility Report, Los Angeles and the San Francisco-Oakland metropolitan area rank No. 3 and 7, respectively, for the worst congestion in the U.S. In Los Angeles alone, this congestion contributed to a total of 38 million gallons of wasted fuel over the course of a year. This congestion costs the average Los Angeles commuter an additional $1,464 a year.

Charging vs. filling up
The savings of driving the Focus Electric can be tremendous. For example, in California, the cost to fully charge the Focus Electric at night is between $1 and $2 – which enables 76 miles of average driving. In a gasoline vehicle that gets a fuel-efficient 38 mpg at $5 per gallon, the cost to drive that same 76 miles is $10.

America's most fuel-efficient five-passenger car
The Focus Electric CVRP rebate approval comes on the heels of the March 2 announcement that it is America's most fuel-efficient five-passenger car with a certified 110 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) city rating and 99 MPGe on the highway.

Focus Electric also has been certified by the EPA to offer 105 MPGe combined, beating Nissan Leaf by 6 MPGe while offering more motor power and more standard features. Focus Electric's 99 MPGe highway certification bests the 92 MPGe rating for the Leaf.

Focus Electric bests Leaf in other ways, too – more passenger room and a faster charging system that allows for a full recharge in just four hours, nearly half the time of the Nissan.

The EPA-approved Focus Electric label also certifies that the car has a range of 76 miles on a single charge compared with the 73-mile range of the Leaf. The Focus Electric can be driven up to 100 miles on a single charge depending on driving habits. The average driver drives 29 miles a day, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics website.

The approved label also will say customers could save $9,700 in fuel costs over the course of five years compared with the average new vehicle. Ford currently has 10 fuel-economy class-leading vehicles in its 2012 calendar year lineup. Additionally, Ford has nine vehicles that achieve more than 40 mpg, a claim no other full-line automaker can make.

CVRP plans for additional Ford electric vehicles
Ford is tripling production capacity for electrified vehicles through 2013, growing the company's electrified vehicle capacity to more than 100,000 by 2013. Later this year and next, Ford will apply to CARB to have more electrified vehicles qualify for the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, including:

2013 Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, with an overall range in electric and hybrid mode of more than 500 miles and aiming to become the world's most fuel-efficient midsize sedan with a projected 100 MPGe rating
2013 C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, with overall range in electric and hybrid mode of more than 500 miles

Elec-tech
Focus Electric features an advanced charging system that allows the car's battery to fully recharge in four hours – nearly half the time of Nissan Leaf – using available 240-volt outlets that can be installed in residential garages.

Faster charging with 240 volts also can extend range as drivers can more quickly recharge between stops – up to 20 miles per charge hour – so they can significantly improve a car's range during a busy day of driving by recharging multiple times.

For those who need to charge up while away from home, the number of charging stations continues to rise. In the last 10 months the number of charging stations in the United States has risen from 750 to 5,507, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

To cut charging costs at home, a unique value charging feature powered by Microsoft is designed to help owners in the U.S. charge their vehicles at the cheapest utility rates, which can make charging the Focus Electric less costly than charging the Nissan Leaf.

Other standard features on Focus Electric include Ford's Rear View Camera System, MyKey®, rain-sensing windshield wipers and Reverse Sensing System.

Focus Electric production
Production of the Focus Electric began in December 2011 at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. More information about MAP can be found here.

Ford will ramp up Focus Electric retail production in the first half of 2012 for dealership availability in California, New York and New Jersey. By the end of 2012, Focus Electric will be available in 19 markets across the U.S. Ford has already delivered the Focus Electric to key fleet customers and technology partners, such as Google.

More information about Ford's electrified vehicle lineup – including press releases, technical specifications and other related material – can be found online here. Photos of the Focus Electric can be found here.

The Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP) is funded by the California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resources Board (CARB) and administered statewide by the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) (http://energycenter.org/index.php/incentive-programs/clean-vehicle-rebate-project).

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 164,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.