Nancy Gioia, Ford's director of Global Electrification, told the News that Ford is happy with sales of the Focus EV. This makes sense, since company representatives have long said they never expected to sell many of them. Specifically, Gioia told the News, "We still see battery electric as niche. We think that by focusing on the plug-ins and that awareness, we actually end up benefiting both the hybrids and the plug-ins."
Despite the "niche" aspect, Ford isn't going to ignore the EV. To that end, Ford is also going to add more production capacity of its only EV, this time in Europe. The company announced today that it has started making the car in Saarlouis, Germany.
There are two main reasons the Leaf sales increased this year: local production (which resulted in a big price drop) and 2013 model year updates. Direct comparisons are difficult, since the Focus EV and the Leaf are on different parts in their lifecycles and we can expect improvements to the Focus down the road, but it'll be interesting to see if just adding one of those two factors will be enough to boost sales.
Read our Focus EV First Drive here and see the Saarlouis announcement below.
- First all-new Focus Electric rolls off Ford production line in Saarlouis, Germany. It's Ford's first fully electric vehicle built in Europe
- Focus Electric spearheads Ford's electrified vehicle line-up in Europe, C MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and all-new Mondeo Hybrid coming next year
- SmartGauge and Brake Coach technology help Focus Electric drivers optimise electric driving potential
- Focus Electric is the first full-electric vehicle to be manufactured in Germany directly from a volume production line
The zero-emission Focus Electric is spearheading Ford's line-up of electrified and highly fuel-efficient vehicles, and will be joined in Europe by the C MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) next year, followed by the all-new Mondeo Hybrid soon after.
Developed as a "One Ford" global vehicle, the Focus Electric features an advanced electric motor and lithium-ion battery powertrain that produces 143 PS and achieves a top speed of 136 km/h. Focus Electric has been manufactured in North America since December 2011 and the Saarlouis-built Focus Electric will reach European customers from August this year.
"Focus Electric marks the dawn of an exciting new age of full-electric Ford passenger vehicles in Europe, and demonstrates the success of the One Ford strategy in making this sophisticated vehicle available to our European customers," said Barb Samardzich, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. "It's a car that addresses the mobility demands and environmental concerns of today's car buyers in the most direct way possible – combining performance and advanced technology with a zero-emission powertrain."
The launch of European production of Focus Electric was attended by Bernhard Mattes, chairman Ford-Werke GmbH; Martin Chapman, Saarlouis plant manager, Ford of Germany; Germany's Federal Minister for the Environment, Peter Altmaier, and Prime Minister of the Saarland, Annegret Kramp Karrenbauer.
Ford has invested €16 million to integrate Focus Electric production directly into the established Focus production line at Saarlouis, delivering the flexibility to react to market demand with increased production volumes.
"The start of Focus Electric production in Saarlouis is hugely significant for Ford in Germany, and underlines Ford's position as a leader in automotive innovation," said Mattes. "We are giving customers the Power of Choice so they can decide whether a fuel efficient conventional powertrain or an electrified vehicle is right for their needs."
The all-new Focus Electric is the first full-electric vehicle to be manufactured in Germany directly from a volume production line. Each Focus Electric is equipped with a 6.6 kW fully integrated onboard charger that can deliver around 100 km driving range with 2-3 hours charging, and around 150 km driving range with 3-4 hours charging from a 32 A power supply.*
Focus Electric features a new user interface called SmartGauge which calculates and displays range based on remaining energy; the driver's unique vehicle use, across braking and acceleration inputs; and the use of accessories such as climate control and audio systems.
The Focus Electric's sophisticated powertrain uses regenerative braking to capture up to 95 per cent of kinetic energy normally lost during the braking process, while the innovative Brake Coach feature encourages gradual braking to help return more energy to the battery.
# # #
* Charging time will vary according to vehicle usage and environmental conditions. Approximate charge times based on external factors including driving style, accessory loading, battery state of charge and temperature.
# # #
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 175,000 employees and 65 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's products, please visit www.ford.com
Ford of Europe is responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 50 individual markets and employs approximately 47,000 employees at its wholly owned facilities and approximately 69,000 people when joint ventures and unconsolidated businesses are included. In addition to Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 24 manufacturing facilities (15 wholly owned or consolidated joint venture facilities and nine unconsolidated joint venture facilities). The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903 – the same year Ford Motor Company was founded. European production started in 1911.