Day Four of CES is all about the Ford Focus Electric. The all-new Focus Electric is Ford’s first-ever all-electric passenger car. (OK, maybe its first-ever mass-produced electric car as Mrs. Henry Ford was reported to spin around the Dearborn countryside in an electric car in 1914.) The zero-CO2-emissions, gasoline-free version of Ford’s popular small car is the flagship of the company’s growing fleet of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles coming to North America and Europe by 2013.
Alan Mulally, president and CEO of the Ford Motor Company, took to the stage for the second morning keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas January 7. Mulally introduced the Ford Focus Electric, Ford’s first electric vehicle (again, see above) and the first car the company has unveiled at CES. Mulally announced that Ford will have five electric vehicles in the U.S. by 2012.
“Today we are plugging in more than electric cars, but the whole Ford company,” said Mulally. The Ford Focus Electric will charge in just over three hours using a 240 volt outlet. Owners will be able to use Value Charging Powered by Microsoft, which will only charge the vehicle when utility rates are at the absolute lowest.
“Focus Electric is the flagship of our new family of electrified vehicles, showcasing our commitment to offer consumers choice when it comes to fuel-efficient or fuel-free vehicles,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president for Global Product Development. “Its advanced powertrain will deliver significant energy efficiency advantages and zero CO2 emissions without compromising driving enjoyment. And its suite of smart driver information technologies will transform the way customers think about energy usage and their transportation needs.”
The Focus Electric will launch in late 2011 and is designed to offer enough range to cover the majority of daily driving habits of Americans. It will offer a mile-per-gallon equivalent better than Chevrolet Volt and competitive with other battery electric vehicles.
A full recharge is expected to take three to four hours at home with the 240-volt charge station –half the charge time of the Nissan Leaf.
Focus Electric introduces new features and technologies – including a unique version of the MyFord Touch driver connect system especially for electric vehicles, a new value charging feature powered by Microsoft and a smartphone app called MyFord Mobile that helps plug-in owners control their vehicles remotely.
The sleek and stylish five-door hatchback leverages Ford’s global C-car platform shared by the gasoline and diesel-powered Focus models, which debuted at the 2010 North American International Auto Show and were launched at the Paris Motor Show in September.
Both Focus gasoline and electric variants to be sold in North America will be built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., with production powered in part by one of the largest solar energy generator systems in the state.
Not only is Focus Electric designed to provide outstanding energy efficiency and reliable operation, it also delivers real driving enjoyment. The all-electric powertrain and single-speed transmission provide immediate responsiveness and smooth acceleration when the driver pushes down the accelerator, up to a top speed of 84 mph (top speed for Chevy Volt is 101 mph).
Much of Focus Electric’s steering, handling and braking feel is shared with the agile, sporty, fuel-powered Focus models upon which it’s based, making Focus Electric a dynamic driver’s car. At the same time, the absence of a gasoline or diesel engine and outstanding aerodynamics lead to a remarkably quiet, comfortable in-car experience.
“More than any other electric vehicle on the market, Focus Electric loses none of the dynamics and quality of driving a traditional car,” said Sherif Marakby, director of Ford’s electrification programs and engineering. “It shares many of the same premium components and features as its gasoline-powered counterpart, while delivering distinct efficiencies and a uniquely exciting driving experience.”
Focus Electric offers a host of standard safety and security features including six airbags and electronic traction control, along with hands-free SYNC® telephone connectivity and MyKey® for North America. Extensive eco-friendly materials, such as bio-foam seat cushions and recycled fabrics also are featured in the vehicle.
Other standard features on Ford Focus Electric for North American customers include a unique execution of MyFord Touch driver connect technology, 15-spoke 17-inch aluminum wheels, a 60/40 split rear bench seat, push button start, AM/FM/CD/MP3 Sony® Audio with nine speakers, Sirius® Satellite Radio with Travel Link, HD Radio™ and voice-activated Navigation System.
Future owners of the Focus Electric will likely recharge the car’s advanced, Ford-engineered lithium-ion battery pack at home on a daily basis, using the recommended 240-volt wall-mounted charge station that will be sold separately or the 120-volt convenience cord that comes with the vehicle.
When plugged in, the Focus Electric onboard charger converts AC power from the electric grid to DC power to charge the liquid-cooled/heated battery pack.
“We’re very excited about the potential of Focus Electric in the marketplace. With so many of us accustomed to recharging mobile electronics on a daily basis, we’re confident our customers will take to the vehicle recharging process just as easily, because that’s exactly what it is – easy,” said Nancy Gioia, Ford director of Global Electrification. “Not only have we made the practice of plugging in simple and straightforward, we’re working with leading technology companies and the utility industry to make the EV experience empowering and engaging.”
“Focus Electric is the culmination of years of research and development,” said Kuzak. “More importantly, it’s the start of an exciting new era for Ford and our customers.”