Ford has confirmed rumors that the new Jay Leno show will use the an electric Ford Focus for its Green Car Challenge. From what we hear, the challenge is similar to Top Gear's "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" segment, where celebs take to the track and battle for top times. While guests on the British show tackle the track in a Chevy Lacetti, Leno's buddies will use a prototype electric car Ford will launch in 2011.
The crew at Ford Racing has retuned the suspension of the prototype Focus BEV to make it a bit more amenable to track duty and the Focus BEV will be used throughout season one of Leno's new show. Check out our own first drive of the Focus BEV here.
FORD'S BATTERY ELECTRIC FOCUS IS EXCLUSIVE VEHICLE ON 'THE JAY LENO SHOW'S' NEW GREEN CAR CHALLENGE
- Ford and the new "The Jay Leno Show" on NBC are teaming up to showcase battery electric vehicle (BEV) technology as part of the show's "Green Car Challenge," premiering Sept. 14
- A specially built battery electric Ford Focus will be driven through the show's first season by celebrity guests who are competing in the "Green Car Challenge" for best track times
- Ford is the only automaker to participate in the challenge, which previews four electrified vehicles the company will introduce in North America during the next three years – including a battery electric Transit Connect in 2010 and a battery electric Focus sedan in 2011
Ford's electric Focus will be the exclusive vehicle for The Jay Leno Show in a segment the host calls the "Green Car Challenge." The battery electric vehicle, specially made for the show, foreshadows elements of the electric Focus that Ford will begin selling in North America in 2011.
"Having our Focus battery electric vehicle on the show is a great way to demonstrate how fun to drive these cars really can be," said Lisa Drake, chief engineer, Ford Hybrid and Battery Electric Vehicle Programs. "Beyond the immediate excitement of driving, it demonstrates that Ford is investing in this technology and that we're committed to electric vehicles."
Ford has an aggressive plan to put at least four electrified vehicles on the road in North America by 2012, including the Focus BEV in 2011, as well as new hybrids and a plug-in hybrid.
"Ford is absolutely committed to delivering best-in-class fuel efficiency with every new vehicle we introduce," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. "The Focus showcases how electric vehicles can be smart, green, fast and fun. It also illustrates Ford's commitment to fuel efficiency and doing our part to contribute to a better world."
"The Jay Leno Show"
Leno will showcase Ford's electric Focus when the show kicks off Sept. 14. Celebrity guests will complete against each other in the "Green Car Challenge" segment.
Ford's hybrid and battery electric vehicle program team worked together with Ford Racing to develop the special BEV for the show. It took three weeks to build the car and another couple of weeks to properly tune the suspension so it could be driven fast on a racetrack. The development work was done at Ford's Michigan Proving Grounds in Romeo, Mich.
The Focus BEV built for the show has a split battery pack, with one battery in the cargo area and one underneath the car in the space normally occupied by a fuel tank. Because this Focus is built to race, it is equipped with a roll bar and five-point harness for the driver.
Ford's Fuel Efficiency Leadership
Ford's fuel efficiency leadership includes new EcoBoost engines on sale today in the Ford Taurus, Ford Flex, Lincoln MKS and, soon, Lincoln MKT. EcoBoost uses gasoline turbocharged direct-injection technology for up to 20 percent better fuel economy, 15 percent fewer CO2 emissions and superior driving performance versus larger displacement engines.
By 2013, Ford will offer EcoBoost engines in 90 percent of its product lineup with annual volume of vehicles with EcoBoost at 1.3 million globally.
Ford also has four hybrid vehicles on the road today, including the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, Mercury Milan Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid. At 41 miles per gallon, the Fusion Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient mid-size sedan in America – 8 mpg better than the Toyota Camry Hybrid.
Overall, Ford is making an unprecedented investment in new engine, transmission and driveline components, helping the company further improve vehicle fuel economy.
"We are committed to delivering new products with the best fuel economy in every segment in which we compete – driven in large part by substantial advancements in powertrain technology," said Barb Samardzich, vice president, Ford Global Powertrain Engineering. "We are focusing on sustainable technology solutions that can be used not for hundreds or thousands of cars – but for millions of cars, because that is how Ford truly will make a difference."
Among coming products are pure battery electric versions of the Transit Connect commercial van in 2010 and Focus sedan in 2011. The Transit Connect is expected to have a range of up to 100 miles.
The Focus BEV, which Ford is developing with Magna, will be produced at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant. The sedan can be charged from both a standard 110V as well as a 220V wall outlet.