One Ford executive is speaking out against claims that the Ford Focus Electric is merely a bit of lip service to California's zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate.

C.J. O'Donnell, who was recently named Ford's group marketing manager for electrification, told Plug In Cars that the Focus EV is not a so-called "compliance car." That's the term used for zero emission cars that are sold in limited numbers simply to meet California's the ZEV quotas. While the Focus EV is sold at just five percent of Ford's 4,000 US dealers today, the model's distribution will eventually be broadened to all 50 states, O'Donnell says.

Ford last month sold 118 Focus EVs. That's more than in any other month before and was about four times as many i EVs that Mitsubishi sold in October. Ford also recorded its first US sales of its C-Max Energi Plug-in Hybrids, moving 144 units of that model.


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  • 39 Comments
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      @ DaveMart The difference is that the Ford Edsel was a vehicle designed to sell in the hundreds of thousands. The FFE is not ! It's specialized vehicle, with limited marketing appeal designed to capture a narrow market segment. Ford Motors drive to compete in the Hybrid market, is calculated to sell vehicles in an area they can maximize profit, and acquire market share. The FFE is currently the second best selling EV ! But that's not Fords intention., rather a refection on how badly pure EV's are selling, and the wisdom of Ford not to waste resources on this market. Dave, as Gendal so elegantly expresses, there just aren't enough EV for sale to start savaging, legitimate, if not perfect offerings ! If the Leaf's batteries make it inadequate, the FFE's a dog, and the iMEV's just too , ....whatever ! That leaves an American paying $ 90,000+ for an EV ! More EV's will start to enter the market in due course, especially with a sympathetic President re-elected, and advances in technology. In the meantime, I can understand the rationale behind those who choose to purchase the FFE.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      Your critique of Peter's comment would appear to prohibit all rational discussion of the merits of cars, as if someone, somewhere buys one, regardless of the small sales making the enterprise uneconomic, then it should apparently be regarded as a success as it suited someone. I would agree that there does not seem to be a totally satisfactory BEV offering for sale at the moment other than the Tesla. However the PHEV offerings seem to do the trick, so it is not the end of the world. It is also encouraging that the problems with current BEV offerings seem to be rectifiable. For the Leaf the use of lithium iron phosphate batteries would do the trick fine, and give reasonable longevity, and there are other chemistries possible. Both the iMiEV and the Smart EV just need a couple more kwh in the battery in my view to improve their range after a few years use, although for the iMiEV I am talking about their SCiB battery pack, not the GS Yausa. There is one BEV which seems to tick all the boxes, although it is on limited release, the Honda Fit EV. Here is a driver's assessment: http://evworld.com/blogs/index.cfm?authorid=226&blogid=1098 As for the notion that there is an obligation not to 'savage' an automaker's electric offerings, as there aren't many about, that is to confuse rational assessment with advocacy. I am going to call it the way I see it whether there is one or a thousand electric car models about.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yeah, it is not a compliance car. It is sold in many different states, not just the ZEV ones. But it still bombed. It costs too much, takes up trunk space for the battery, etc.
        EVSUPERHERO
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        They still get the CAFE credit no matter where they are sold. Toyota will only sell or lease in CA because it stream lines service and warranty of the vehicle. Honda will only lease in CA and OR. Many OEM's will put there hand built EV's in the CA market as that is where they stand the best chance of selling them.
        throwback
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        What mass market EV has not bombed?
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      @ Dave Mart, I think most of the current EV's are very good, within the current limits of the technology, they cater for most segments of the market. Disappointingly, that market has proved smaller than expected. Of course, the more practical hybrids, PHEV's and EREV's have met with greater acceptance. That was always to be expected. The point I was trying to express, was that just because an EV doesn't meet individual expectations, doesn't mean it a failure, just appeals to a different demographic.
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Ford Focus Electric is not for everyone, but I can tell you in the arena of small EVs, my eFocus is head and shoulders over the competing BMW eCar, Nissan Leaf, Honda FitEV or Mitsubishi EV. Thank God it a conversion, because the Ford Focus is a darn good looking car! The battery bulk in the back of the car is not a problem for me. There's still plenty of room for packing items. These are not cars that are made for hauling all kinds of stuff. I knew that when I bought mine - it's not a big deal. I can tell you this: 20 cent each leg of my commute is cool. My eFocus has remained on the road consistenly - unlike my friends with the pricey BMW eCar. It's much more solid than the Nissan Leaf or Honda FitEV. The driving experience, fun factor, great looks of this car is as close as you can get to the Tesla experience at way less than half the price and waiting list. Don't even get me going on the Volt - talk about a car you wish was conversion of another GM product! Not attractive at all and weird looking . . .
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      @ onyerleft Nissan would not agree with your idea that the Leaf has proved profitable. Renault's EV projects are more profitable being heavily subsidized by the French government. In the US, the leaf is probably sold at a loss, although Nissan was confidant of recovering the initial losses by amortized sales over the entire production run of the vehicle (and the deployment of the technology to other models). This doesn't take into consideration the $1.4 billion loan from the US government for US manufacture, or the Government guaranteed $ 300 million loan from Europe Development Bank, for UK manufacturing. Renault/Nissan have invested more than $5 billion in EV technology, $3.6 billion on the Leaf alone. Leaf has sold a little over $30,000 units world wide. That represent a cost of $117,000 per vehicle! This doesn't include the US manufacturing loans or the European. Small car like the Leaf have very low profit margins, they rely on volume sales. Nissans Leaf will need to sell a minimum of 500, 000 units to break even ! Toyota, Renault/Nissan, VW, has this sort of money to spend on development of low volume models, Ford does not ! I am a great admirer of Carlos Ghosn. But even he wouldn't claim that Leaf is profitable !
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't care where it is sold, because it suffers a bad case of conversion-itis. I would rather have a compliance car like the Rav or Fit, that didn't have a big battery box in the middle of the hatch.
        Marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        @ Peter Scott Again, you are expressing your own opinion, that reflects your personal taste. The fact that the Ford Focus Electric, has limited truck space, is an aspect that it's targeted demographic don't care about. Ford Focus Electric buyers, think that the advantages of the FFE, far outweigh the negatives. Everyone's different, and that's what's good about freedom of choice. It's not a question of right or wrong, just preferences. It's a limited production run EV, from a company focusing on developing Hybrid and EREV technology.
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marcopolo
          @ DaveMart The difference between Jeremy Korzeniewski and myself is that I am writing opinion, where Jeremy is a reporter, which carries a different obligation to objectivity. Were I paid as an ABG reporter, I would be far more careful to prevent any indication of personal bias to affect my objectivity.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marcopolo
          Marco said: 'However, Jeremy Korzeniewski's article displays his obvious passion for the Model S, and is less than objective. While his enthusiasm for all things Tesla maybe correct, it's not a journalists job to lead the cheer squad.' Nor is cheerleading for Ford's EV or rejecting criticism on the grounds that there are not many battery electric cars about any more helpful or appropriate. Physician, heal thyself!
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        @Marco: Although of course buyers of the Ford EV have the right to choose whatever car they prefer and if they are happy with the limited trunk space that is fine, it makes no sense at all to counter all discussion of its flaws by invoking the sanctity of buyers preference. Some people bought the Ford Edsel, but the car sold in limited numbers and is widely held to be a dog. The C-Max Energi would seem to have a far better balance than their pure electric offering, and I am confident that sales will reflect this.
        PeterScott
        • 2 Years Ago
        @PeterScott
        @Marco. Sure I was expressing my opinion. I never claimed otherwise. I am not allowed to have an opinion? I would never buy a Hatchback with a big box in the middle of the hatch. If you think that isn't a problem, bully for you.
          skierpage
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PeterScott
          It's hopeless. That pontificated logorrheic gasbag always has to have the last word, and words, and more words, and yet more words.
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PeterScott
          @ PeterScott You certainly are entitled to express your opinion, but that's all it is, one persons preference. That neither makes the vehicle successful or unsuccessful. As I said, most of the different models are neither 'right' nor 'wrong', it's all a matter of personal preference.
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well, it is sold and not just leased, so I'll give them that. Otherwise, it seems like a compliance car and not even a terribly successful one.
        Spiffster
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        Not even selling them in most states. I was considering the FFEV as well as the Volt... but the deal I got on the Volt just couldn't be passed up. I think they will sell just fine, you know, when they start selling them.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spiffster
          "when they start selling them." Ford sold the first FFE back in Dec, 2011.
      onyerleft
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Leaf outsells Infiniti FX, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Hyundai Veracruz, Audi A6, BMW 1 Series, Volkswagen Eos, Nissan 370Z, Lincoln Navigator, Porsche Panamera, Audi A, Volkswagen Touareg, Mazda Miata, Infiniti EX, Volvo XC70...and others. Not only that, but it's profitable. And since, as you say, automakers exist to make profits - Nissan would heartily disagree with your contention that it hasn't been "well-received".
      Grendal
      • 2 Years Ago
      Who cares what they call it? It's an EV and it's out there. If someone is willing to buy it - great. If it doesn't sell then Ford is doing something wrong and they need to change it. I'm glad it's out there because it gets more EV's on the road. More choices = good. Compliance car? Yes, but who cares? As long as it drives well and doesn't make EV's look bad.
        Marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Grendal
        @ Grendal As always, a very sensible, and rational post !
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marcopolo
          Marco, Oshinsky developed the batteries he eventually sold to GM for 100 million dollars. At the time GM said we will be building large and small EV's with Ovionic batteries and so EV1 was built by Aerovironment for GM. Then GM realized selling EV's was a lot less profitable, they cancelled there EV program and sold the batteries to Texaco. Chevron bought Texaco. Chevron then sued Panasonic to stop manufacturing the ovionics batteries in large EV format. I would like to think the oil corps would not be implicated in such a conspiracy but the facts tell a different story. Why do the oil corps do this? I call it greed, they call it business. EV's are a ant on a elephant so why do they bother? They do it because they can I suppose. You Marco say they don't care about EV's as they are busy struggling to meet demand. Who knows why they do what they do? The facts remain in the case of the Ovionic batteries and no amount rationalization can make the past actions of the oil corps go away.
        rolanie3
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Grendal
        Glad to see someone here with a good head on their shoulders. You've summed up the entire point of the mandate! Compliance car or not, it is a real option that increases proliferation and competition of EV vehicles. What every manufacturer needs to acknowledge is that if they get through this mandate with cheap tricks, they'll only be setting themselves up to be noncompetitive in the future. If you're forced to make one now, why not try to make it the best you can?!
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 2 Years Ago
          @rolanie3
          Rolanie said, "Compliance car or not, it is a real option that increases proliferation and competition of EV vehicles." Isn't that what they said about EV's when Toyota built the first Rav4 EV back in 1999? Who is competing? Seems like all the OEM's got there little monopoly going and decided to produce cars with the same range. All of them go about 70-80 mile at 55 mph for 35 - 40k dollars. Competition is when you put out cars trying to out do the other manufacturer I really don't see any of that yet for EV's. Instead I see that all cars will be the same in range, like there is some holy agreement that all large OEM's will put out the same range that none are allowed to significantly surpass.
      winc06
      • 2 Years Ago
      What is it? The second month since its introduction? Nissan had trouble selling the Leaf for almost a year. Why is everyone so snarky? Saw one on the road in my home town in the color in the picture. Compared to the mousy looking Leaf it is strikingly beautiful.
        noevfud
        • 2 Years Ago
        @winc06
        It's been on sale for a very long time, do the research and look at the sales numbers.
          Austin Too
          • 2 Years Ago
          @noevfud
          No. Although early production began last December, retail units have only been available starting around May/June 2012.
      lad
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is Ford a member of The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM)? The answer: Yes;... Well, then the Focus is a compliance car because the plan is to slow down EV acceptance to maximize the profits on ICE cars for the members,... who just happen to be building Hybrids and compliance cars; Name the membership and count the compliance cars: BMW, Mercedes, The Big Three, etc. There are only two builders of production EVs and they are not members; that would be Nissan and Tesla. Wake up Guys and Gals, EVs are a risk for the car companies and it affects the bottom line.
        Marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @lad
        @ Lad, What makes you think that Auto-manufacturers are obliged to build cars to satisfy your philosophic dreams ? Automakers exist to make profits ! Tesla is still only a specialist manufacturer of Luxury vehicles in very small numbers. The Leaf has not been well received in the US, and sells in very limited numbers. In contrast, EV technology is selling strongly in Hybrid and EREV versions. The Volt, and Prius are the most accepted vehicles with EV technology, and given Ford's high debt load and limited resources, it makes very good business sense for Ford to pursue hybrid technology at this time.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @lad
        @lad: "There are only two builders of production EVs ... Nissan and Tesla" You missed the Mitsubishi MIEV, which you can be sure Mitsu wishes it sold in non-compliance numbers!
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