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 |  May 28 2011, 1:03 PM


Ford thinks it’s finally figured out the best place to put the charging plug on an electric car: on the front grille, like the Nissan Leaf? On the pillar, like the Tesla? Or where the gas cap is supposed to be, like on the G-Wiz?

Nope, to all of those: Ford believes that the charging port for their upcoming electric Focus should be on the left front fender, so drivers can see the charge port when leaving the vehicle and remind themselves to charge up, and where it also won’t get easily damaged.

“The left front fender location keeps the charge port in sight, before the customer enters or exits the car, for an easy reminder to unplug or recharge,” said Mary Smith, a supervisor with Ford’s electric vehicle program. “It creates an intuitive placement for owners that also has aesthetic appeal.”

Owners of electric cars are expected to usually charge their vehicles at home, at a rate of nearly four times per day or almost 1,500 times per year. Compare this to the average owner filling up a gas tank once a week, and it’s important to find a spot for the charging port that’s both convenient and safe. If the port was in the front or rear, for example, owners would have to dig it out from snow or debris, and it could get damaged in even a minor accident.

But most importantly, with the charging port on the front fenders, it’s easy to stick on more of those stylish fake fender vents that have swept the industry, as if their designers were zombies that had shuffled into a Pep Boys. After all, what’s the point of burying an electric charging port subtly into the grille when it can impress people alongside all that “ELECTRIC” badging?