Amidst a sea of smart phones and 3D TVs, Ford has unveiled its new Focus Electric model at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Set to take on both the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, the Focus Electric is the first zero-emissions passenger car from the Blue Oval and follows the launch of the Transit Connect EV last year. Ford is promising to deliver three more EVs by 2013.
Slated to go on sale later this year, the Focus Electric uses a lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor to make 123-hp and 181 ft-lbs of torque, enabling a top speed of 84-mpg. Speed and acceleration have never been an issue with electric cars, but charge time and weight are. The Focus Electric is still heavy at nearly 3,700 lbs, but Ford has made impressive advances in charging, claiming that with a special 240-volt home setup, the Focus EV can be recharged in three to four hours – that’s half the time of the Nissan Leaf.
Ford has yet to announce an official range, but it does say the car will meet the needs of most Americans. That being said, expect it to have a total distance similar to that of the Leaf, with a 100 mile claimed range and something closer to 70 miles in real world driving.
Offered exclusively in hatchback form the electric Focus gets a slight redesign from the standard mode, with a new front end that looks lifted directly off an Aston Martin.
Inside there’s the new MyFord Touch system with 8-inch touch screen designed specifically for an electric car, with special info displayed including the battery charge level and distance to the next charging station. The built-in navigation system will even let the driver know if they can make the distance on the current level of charge, and even coach them on more efficient driving to help.
Owners can then bring the experience of owning a Focus Electric with them when they leave the car thanks to the MyFord Mobile app. Along with expected features like being able to check the state of charge from your smartphone it can also do some unique things: like let you know how much longer it needs to charge to reach a pre-set destination in the Nav system; find charging stations; and even let you pre-set charging times for off-peak utility hours. (Get more on the MyFord Mobile app here).
In addition to all this technology, the Focus Electric also includes standard features like six airbags, SYNC, 17-inch wheels, a push-button ignition, a 9-speaker audio system and traction control. The ‘compact’ size of the lithium-ion battery pack also means the Focus Electric retains some of the standard car’s functionality, with 60/40 folding rear seats. And in keeping with the car’s environmental theme, much of the interior uses recycled materials, including for the seat fabrics.