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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.
Show full PR text
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.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 28 Comments
      j.blow66
      • 2 Years Ago
      Gotta love Kaliphonia. You can drive alone in the High Occupancy Vehicle lane. HOV loses it's main reason for existence: high occupancy.
        Zoom
        • 2 Years Ago
        @j.blow66
        It's called an incentive. HOV lanes are typically under-utilized, because the incentive to arrive 5 minutes early usually isn't enough to get people to shack up in the cars. Further, HOV lanes are designed to get people to drive less, which means being more efficient, and electric cars and good hybrids accomplish the same goal: less emissions, less gas use.
          Jesus!
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Zoom
          You have not riven in Houston traffic. It is much more than 5 minutes!
          Dean Hammond
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Zoom
          ?...I ride in the HOV lanes here in So Cal, 60 miles round trip, then again im on a bike, however my other alternatives are A) I spend 1 1/2 hours in bumper to bumper or B) take the toll road at $5.75 each way.....I chose bike and HOV lanes and must say i enjoy the ride...
        travisjb
        • 2 Years Ago
        @j.blow66
        Same thing in Arizona I took advantage of it there with NG Civic... it's a good thing - saved me 40 mins a day for years Yes it is a kooky environmental weenie initiative, but it promotes the use of plentiful North American natural gas, puts more efficient cars on the road, and reduces emissions... I'm not a greenie, but those are good things
          Juffinstuff
          • 2 Years Ago
          @travisjb
          And CNG is just a cool concept, let's be honest.
      edselfanboy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Saw a great lease offer from Chevy on the Volt. I checked on the Calif. Air Resources Board website which stated that the only Volts that qualified for the sticker have an E,F,G or H in the 5th position of the VIN. After calls to several Chevy dealers in SoCal I found that there were none of the qualifying models in stock. I would think that the "new" GM would be a little smarter than the "old" GM and sell what people want. The Volt is a niche car that few are presently choosing. Time to get smart GM.
        Grendal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @edselfanboy
        There was a recent article here saying they would doing a great lease special for the final non-HOV Volts. http://www.autoblog.com/2011/11/16/chevy-volt-ready-for-california-hov-access-extra-1-500-in-reba/ So blaming GM for the government bureaucratic hoops they have to jump through is a waste of time. Wait a couple months and you can buy the HOV ready version.
        reattadudes
        • 2 Years Ago
        @edselfanboy
        in case you didn't know, those eligible vehicles are on their way to California dealers as we speak. the sticker was just approved a few weeks ago, and was a surprise to GM. is it too much to ask to give them, oh, a sixty day lead time to get the cars built, and shipped to dealers 2,000 miles away?
          Juffinstuff
          • 2 Years Ago
          @reattadudes
          With all those Volts hanging out in dealers lots already unsold? Why do they need 60 days?
          Grendal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @reattadudes
          Those Volts aren't allowed to qualify for the HOV lane. The VIN number reflects those allowed to qualify and those that aren't. The cars are otherwise the same, I think. That's why they're offering the good deal on those unqualified - to blow them off the lots to make way for the qualifying ones.
      JB Kolod
      • 2 Years Ago
      But in all seriousness this is a good looking car.
      Big Squid
      • 2 Years Ago
      40 thousand bucks? 76 mile range? No sale.
        Randy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Big Squid
        No. It's 30k after rebates and tax incentives and 76 miles a day = 27740 miles a year at 365 days and 19760 miles at 5 days a week (260 days). Given the average annual milage of a person in the us is 13476 a year according to the DOT and the annual fuel bill is 1/10th that of a gas car this car is a steal. And, it doesn't look like an Eco Box. Pretty damn nice car and a nice value when you look beyond the sticker.
          Greg
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Randy
          Electricity is about 1/3 the price of gas. Even at $30k, it's hard to say that it's worth it. Especially when the Leaf has nearly the same range & efficiency numbers, doesn't have the batteries intruding into the cargo area and costs $3k less.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 2 Years Ago
      At $40k, you'd be a fool to buy this over the Volt. The Volt has no range limitation since you could fill up at any gas station and continue on your merry way.
        ALafya
        • 2 Years Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Or you can save even more if you buy a regular Prius and get about same cost per mile as Volt for short commutes, and much better for longer drives, yet save ~$6K ($16K not counting incentives) when you buy the car. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2011/03/consumer-reports-pans-range-of-chevrolet-volt-nissan-leaf/1#.T15pc0-7V1s
        merlot066
        • 2 Years Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Almost any electric car or hybrid doesn't make sense on cost alone. Some people like the idea of helping the environment or the idea of never having to fill up on gas or having a gas engine to maintain. Also, most people who would buy a car like the Focus or Leaf would probably have an extra gas-powered car. I would love an Electric Focus. I have 4 vehicles right now and my commute is roughly 35 miles a day. That would be cutting it very close for a Chevy Volt and after a few years when the batteries lose some of their capacity I'd probably wind up using gas for part of my commute every day. If I didn't just buy a car in May I'd definitely consider buying Focus Electric right now, but for now it's just on my short list for next cars. I personally like them, but that's just me.
          Juffinstuff
          • 2 Years Ago
          @merlot066
          @Grendal When the used car market is as jacked up s it is, buying new is actually much better than used, depending on the car. The piece of **** lemon Kia Forte I bought in July 2010 I paid 15,200 for, and when I sold that piece of **** in October 2011 I got 13.500 in trade (with 22k miles on it) from the dealership I bought my Focus from. They have several identically equipped EX's used for 15,500 which is about as much as they go for new. And this isn't an exception but a rule for a lot of barely used cars around here.
        Jesus!
        • 2 Years Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Different cars for different purposes. This is for someone who rarely to never goes out of town or long distances. This would also be a good second car. Also, not everyone likes Chevy, including myself. Ford man here, so I would take a Fusion Hybrid or this over a Volt...any day.
          Juffinstuff
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Jesus!
          The only competitor to this thing is a Lef currently. Pretty sure the Focus is much nicer/more attractive than a Leaf. Just saying.
          TheLeadFoot
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Jesus!
          Buying a car because of brand loyalty rather than the actual merits of the vehicle. Now THAT'S some forward thinking.
      Michael S
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm excited for Ford. Their comprehensive approach to vehicle electrification (hybrids, plug-in hybrids, full electric on the same platform) is logical and cost-effective, and while this venture might not be highly profitable initially, there will be benefits down the road for being a pioneer (see Toyota with its Prius). The growth of the electric car market will be huge once production ramps up, technology advances, and you have economies of scale.
        axiomatik
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Michael S
        I wish Ford's efforts were more cost effective. Ford's 2 hybrids *start* at $29k (Fusion) and $31k (Escape). Considering the gas-models start at $21k and $22k (and the Prius starts at $24k), it makes it a lot harder for people to rationalize the price.
      Jesus!
      • 2 Years Ago
      I would love to have one of these instead of my gas Focus. However, at 40k, it is out of reach for now.
      screwamammoth93
      • 2 Years Ago
      no thanks COMMIEfornia
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      I would give anything to have that grill on the gasoline models.
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