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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Those anxiously awaiting for Ford‘s first electric car will be pleased to know the American automaker hopes to have its EV available nationwide by the end of this year.
The Focus Electric will launch in California, New York, and New Jersey first and later this summer we will see it expand to 14 other states including Texas, Washington, and Virginia. According to Ford, there will be four phases of rollout in total with the third phase opening up another nine states including Hawaii, New Mexico, and Ohio. The final phase will bring the new EV to the rest of America to enjoy emissions-free driving.
Only select dealerships will have the Focus Electric on hand initially, as the American automaker requires each dealer to have at least two onsite charging stations as well as highly-specialized training, and one Focus Electric in stock at all times for demonstration purposes.
Priced from $39,200, the Focus Electric packs 143-hp with a 23 kWh lithium-ion battery and is currently America’s most fuel-efficient, five-passenger vehicle with a 110 MPGe rating in the city. Ford also likes to brag that its Focus can be charged in nearly half the time of its competitor, the Nissan Leaf.
“Ford is giving customers the power of choice for leading fuel economy regardless of what type of vehicle or powertrain technology they choose,” said Eric Kuehn, chief nameplate engineer, Focus Electric.
Ford Focus Electric Launch Map
Ford recently announced the EPA fuel efficiency rating for its electric Focus model. Since it doesn’t burn any gasoline, the number isn’t in miles per gallon (MPG), but was given as miles per gallon gasoline equivalent, or MPGe. A new term to the automotive lexicon, it’s worth exploring exactly what MPGe means and how an MPGe rating is determined, especially as the number of electric cars and plug-in electric hybrids on the roads continues to increase.
Powered by a 23kWh-capacity lithium ion battery, the Focus Electric has its battery temperature managed by a liquid-cooling system and is 25 to 30 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter than a standard nickel-metal hydride battery. Ford claims that the Focus Electric can be charged in four hours while connected to a 240-volt source.
The front-wheel drive EV has an electric motor with 141-hp and can get around 110-MPGe in the city and 99-MPGe on the highway. The EPA estimates that the Focus Electric will get up to 76 miles on a single charge, giving it a slight three mile advantage over the Nissan Leaf.
But the technology in the Focus Electric is what has people buzzing. It will come equipped with an updated version of the MyFord Touch instrument cluster that is easily paired to the MyFord Mobile app that is available for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry devices. Users will be able to remotely view their vehicle’s current battery state, percentage of capacity, and estimated driving range. In addition, the app will allow owners to schedule charging for later or even tell the system to immediately charge. Best yet, there is a fail safe built into the app to inform owners if the car isn’t charging when it’s supposed to be or is unplugged for some strange reason.
Think that’s cool enough? There’s more. The app will lock and unlock the Focus Electric’s doors, start the climate control system, and awards achievements based on how green-friendly the driver drives.
Future owners of the Focus Electric that want a 240-volt charging station in their home will have to shell out an additional $1,499 and can order one through their local Best Buy store.
Ford began production on its Focus Electric back in December 2011 and will begin appearing at dealerships in the first half of 2012 in select states (California, New York, and New Jersey). The American automaker hopes to have it in 19 markets across the U.S. before the end of 2012. The $39,200 MSRP does not include the $795 destination charge.
Ford Motor Company has announced a recall of 140,310 model-year 2012 Ford Focus vehicles built through Oct. 18 in the Wayne, Michigan Assembly plant over a potential windshield wiper defect.
According to Ford, a seal plug on the passenger side windshield wiper motor electrical connector may be missing, causing water to fall into the motor and a short in the unit.
Ford’s recall entails the installation of a redesigned seal plug and dealers will re-coat grease for electrical connectors to ensure wipers are protected and functioning.
Ford told dealers to begin the recall on Tuesday and notified affected owners on Friday.
A recall issued today could potentially affect 10,000 Ford Focus models. Gabriel, a company that provides ReadyMount suspension assemblies says that its set up for 2000-2005 Ford Focus models did not include a necessary washer.
This omission can cause the suspension assembly to fall apart, resulting in an injury while being installed. Additionally, if the part is already installed, drivers may notice rattling, or rubbing noises from their front suspension. If the front assembly comes apart while in use on the vehicle, a collision can occur.
None of the Gabriel ReadyMount assemblies were used as original equipment, they were used strictly as replacement parts. The defect was first noticed in a Midas, so if you’ve had any front suspension work done on your vehicle, take a close look at this recall.
Contact Ride Control at 1-800-999-3903 for more information on the ReadyMount assembly, and NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236 for more information about vehicle safety recalls.
We may have just got the new Ford Focus (seen above), but it’s already time to start thinking about the beefed up RS version.
Rumors are swirling about Ford ditching the Volvo derived 2.5L, five-cylinder engine and going with a 2.3L four-cylinder with a turbo. The new engine will likely be more efficient, but no word on if it’ll be called an EcoBoost. All this could amount to power somewhere in the range of 320 horsepower. That may seem like a lot for a front wheel drive car, but Fords RevoKnuckle front suspension is likely to be thrown in to help deal with torque-steer.
Other rumors that are being tossed around as that the car is coming as a five-door, instead of the previous three-door version and that the engine being used in this Focus might also be making its way into a Ford Mustang.
Regardless, if any or all of these factors come true, the Focus RS could be one heck of a car.
[Source: Top Gear]
Forbes has reported that almost one-third of the more than two million vehicles Ford sold in America last year went to fleet buyers, which could be a cause of concern for the American automaker.
While it would appear that it could only be a positive thing that Ford is heavily favored among rental and commercial fleets, it has its downsides as well. For one, fleet operators purchase their vehicles in bulk and normally hold on to them for only a year or two. As a result, huge discounts are given from the manufacturers and the market becomes flooded with used vehicles after a couple of years, reducing residual values.
But the upside is that rental fleets help increase brand and product awareness with potential consumers that normally would never look at that vehicle to begin with. At the same time, a rental car that’s been poorly taken care of could leave a negative impression about a vehicle’s brand.
Ford is likely to be concerned about its fleet sales though, especially as 45-percent of its Focus production is heading to fleet inventories while the car struggles in the retail market. The next few years will be important to Ford, as General Motors and Chrysler continue to improve with great vehicles and larger profits while Japanese automakers Nissan, Honda and Toyota begin to bounce back.
Tanner Foust recently spent the day at Homestead-Miami Speedway, putting the new Ford Focus ST-R turnkey race car to the test. The Global RallyCross Champion and founding member of the Octane Academy, not to mention Top Gear television celebrity and former Formula Drift champion, came away impressed with what the Focus ST-R could do on the track.
The Focus ST-R is scheduled to make its racing debut at the upcoming Grand AM weekend at Daytona on January 26-27th in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. The ST-R is powered by a turbocharged 2.0L EcoBoost engine mated to a six-speed Getrag transmission. Unfortunately Ford hasn’t disclosed how much power the ST-R puts out, but based on the video it appears that the Focus will be quite impressive in its competition debut.
Check out the video after the break.
Google is all about advancing technology in order to improve our world and lifestyle, and it appears that they also support any other company that’s pro-technology.
The massive search engine turned all-things technology firm was given the keys to the first Ford Focus electric vehicle off the assembly line.
It’ll be interesting to see if Google will be going domestic in continuing to develop their autonomous vehicle technology that’s currently taking place on Toyota‘s Prius. There’s probably a better chance that the electric Focus will be making its way as a Google Street View vehicle though, spying on us and taking unsuspecting photos without wasting a drip of gas or polluting our world.
The day that a fleet of self-driving electric vehicles with Google plastered across the side of them doesn’t seem so far off.
Ford‘s track-ready Focus ST-R isn’t cheap at $98,995, but it sure comes with plenty of punch as a turn-key race car powered by a 2.0L EcoBoost powerplant. To show off what the hot hatch is all about, Ford Racing and Andy Vrenko took it to its natural habitat – the race track.
The video does a great job highlighting the various features of the race car while blending in clips of it on the track. We also get a great in-depth look at the interior of the ST-R, showing off its Recaro seats and FIA-spec roll cage.
The ST-R is eligible to race in various racing series including Grand Am ST Class, World Challenge ST Class, Canadian Touring Car, as well as European endurance racing events, such as the Nurburgring 24.
GALLERY: Ford Focus ST-R
Watch the video below:
For decades, we’ve known Ford crate engines to be huge V8 powerplants packing plenty of cubic inches and power. But Ford has been quietly offering a 2.0L inline-four from its old Focus for midget racers but very few even paid attention to that option.
Now Ford has added their new-generation 2.0L Focus engine and looks to add an EcoBoost variant in the future. Ford announced a pair of new V8 crate motors for 2012, adding a 347 pushrod motor based on the historic Boss 302 block. With 363-cubic inches, it packs 500-hp and 450 lb-ft of torque. The other new crate engine is a 427-cubic inch powerplant and is based on Ford’s Boss 351 engine block. With Ford Racing’s X-heads system, it makes 500-hp and 520 lb-ft of torque.
But the new addition of the 2.0L inline-four from the Focus is what’s making headlines, with its 160-hp and 145 lb-ft of torque. The naturally aspirated engine will be complemented by EcoBoost offerings which means turbocharged power for all. The 2.0L EcoBoost for example in the new Explorer makes 240-hp and 270 lb-ft of torque which suddenly becomes a very appealing engine for small race cars to mid-sized boats.
Unfortunately Ford hasn’t announced availability on the EcoBoost crate engines.
[Source: Automobile Mag]
While Microsoft and Ford‘s previous collaboration, MyFord Touch, drew significant criticism from users as well as from Consumer Reports, their latest product promises to be a big hit. Designed for the new Ford Focus Electric, the MyFord Mobile app has earned the International CES Best of Innovation Design and Engineering Award in the software and mobile applications category.
Thanks to the MyFord Mobile app and its use of Microsoft’s cloud computing technology, drivers will be able to keep track of when utilities switch to lower off-peak charging rates so that a charging schedule can be coordinated to minimize electric bills and the Focus’ cost of ownership. MyFord Mobile’s network can monitor the rate schedules of Utility services and transmit that data back to the vehicle via embedded cellular connectivity so that it will trigger the charging process only when the rates fall.
Thanks to navigational data and can also assist in locating the closest charging stations along the driver’s route. It will calculate whether the vehicle’s range can reach the station with the currently available charge and design multi-stop, plug-to-plug journeys to keep drivers from getting stranded.
Available on smartphone platforms Android, Blackberry, and Apple iOS, the MyFord Mobile app, “is designed to help Focus Electric drivers maximize their gasoline-free driving in a worry-free, low-effort way. Drivers can take advantage of information stored off-board to automatically charge their cars at the lowest possible cost and reduce range anxiety with plug-to-plug route planning,” according to Bill Frykman, of Ford Connected Services Product & Business Dept.
Frykman adds, “We’re honored CES has recognized our efforts to use the latest connectivity and cloud technology to augment the capabilities of the car to promote greener driving.”
To say that Ford put a focus on the Focus would be an understatement at this year’s SEMA Show. Nine different, fully customized Focuses were shown off in the Ford booth, with several of them part of a spectator voting competition. Projects ranged from mild to wild, with a plethora of colors being splashed on each creation.
Our personal favorite of the bunch was the Focus by the ID Agency, sporting a custom BASF green paint job with a Wraptivo roof wrap. Ford also leant a helping hand with their official Ford Licensed Accessories bike rack by Thule, adding to the versatility of the new Focus SE 5-Door. The Downforce carbon fiber lip kit was a nice and subtle touch, while we just loved the choice of bolting on 19×8.5-inch HRE Performance C90 wheels. Under the hood, the ID Agency outfitted the 2.0L Ti-VCT four-cylinder with an AEM cold air intake and MagnaFlow cat-back exhaust. A Brembo big brake kit was paired with KW Variant 3 coilovers to give this Focus plenty of braking and handling improvements – not to mention how great it looks. On the inside, Recaro Sportster seats can be found along with custom interior by Top Stitch and a Kicker car audio system by BP Auto Sound.
With so many Focuses to focus on, we decided to make a life easier to taking a photo of each of the information plaques by each car. Feast your eyes on the creations from Bojix Design, ID Agency, 3dCarbon, Capaldi Racing, ROUSH Performance, Steeda, Hot Wheels, Metal Mulish/Rockstar, and M&J Enterprises and let Autoguide know which was your favorite.
GALLERY: Bojix Design Ford Focus
GALLERY: ID Agency Ford Focus
GALLERY: 3dCarbon Ford Focus
GALLERY: Capaldi Racing Ford Focus
GALLERY: ROUSH Performance Ford Focus
GALLERY: Steeda Ford Focus
GALLERY: Hot Wheels Ford Focus
GALLERY: Metal Mulisha/Rockstar Ford Focus
GALLERY: M&J Enterprises Ford Focus
Ford is giving racing enthusiasts a new Focus race car option with their ST-R that debuted at Frankfurt Motor Show. The Focus ST-R race car will feature a powerful 2.0L EcoBoost engine, FIA regulation roll cage, upgraded brakes and track-tuned suspension.
The race-tweaked, production-based ST-R was crafted by the engineers at Ford Racing and will be allowed to compete in a variety of racing series including Grand-Am ST, World Challenge TC and Canadian Touring Car Series. Ford also hopes that teams will pick up the ST-R and use it at notable race events such as the 24 Hours of Nurburgring.
Initially created for American and Canadian touring car racing, the ST-R is available for order from Ford dealers in North America for all race car enthusiasts from seasoned veterans to weekend amateurs.
Because the Focus ST-R is a production-based road race car, it features stock body panels and production parts where possible,” added Allison. “People who buy one will get will get a fully prepared race car that will only need communications equipment and the customer’s decals to go racing. We’ve already had significant interest in this vehicle from numerous established race teams.”
No pricing was announced from Ford’s official press release.
GALLERY: Ford Focus ST-R Race Car
It’s difficult to remember when Ford last had as strong a line-up as it does today, but don’t believe for a second that the Blue Oval team are foolish enough to take a moment to relax. Rather, Ford is set to reveal the most efficient non-hybrid family vehicles, the Focus ECOnetic Technology and the Fiesta ECOnetic Technology, both of which are set for their debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show.
How efficient are they? The Focus ECOnetic Technology boasts an 1.6 liter TDCi diesel engine capable of an incredible 83.1 mpg, while CO2 seeps out a mere 89 g/km. The Fiesta ECOnetic Technology is an even more frugal 85.6 mpg, exhaling a negligible 87 g/km CO2. Certainly a bit far fetched, but Ford says these fuel economy figures are measured upon the European cycle and not the EPA rating – which would be somewhat irrelevant anyway as we’re not scheduled to get them here.
A slew of innovations are responsible for the ECOnetic Technology’s success, including engine and transmission components that are not only lighter, but cause less friction. The ECOnetic’s 1.6 liter TDCi diesel will come equipped with NOx absorbing technology to reduce CO2 coming out the exhaust. The 1.3 liter EcoBoost engine receives direct fuel injection and benefits from recent advances made in turbocharging. Finally, both the Fiesta and Focus will have a new generation of regenerative charging; an alternator that increases output during vehicle braking or deceleration, converting kinetic energy to electricity without use of additional fuel.
Moreover, Ford adopted innovations such as the active grille shutter previously found in the Chevrolet Cruze to improve frontal aerodynamics. Shift light indicators found in Formula 1 will now be used to alert eco minded drivers when shifting a gear up will continue to optimize their fuel economy.
Expect half of all Ford cars sold in Europe to carry the ECOnetic Technology badge by late next year.
GALLERY: 2012 Ford ECOnetic
Ford is delaying the full launch of the 2012 electric Focus. Initially, the Focus EV was to be launched in 19 markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and Seattle. However, plans have changed and the primary launch will be concentrated in California and New York.
Ford’s electrified-vehicles marketing manager David Finnegan said, ”For the first few months of production, we will be concentrating on California and New York,” he said. “Our dealers in those areas will be the first to have their retail orders scheduled and receive the Focus electric. We will be rolling out to the remainder of our initial markets starting in spring 2012.” Ford has yet to set a date for the Focus EV launch in the remaining markets.
[Source: Automotive News]
With 305 turbocharged horsepower the Focus RS might just have been the ultimate hot-hatch. Now, for the first time, Ford has confirmed it will have a successor, arriving in late 2013 or early 2014 with at least 350-hp while sticking to its front-wheel-drive strategy.
Gunnar Hermann, Ford’s global chief of small cars, has gone on the record stating that the new Focus RS could create more power than even the limited edition RS500 model, which produced 350-hp from the turbocharged 5-cylinder engine borrowed from Volvo. It’s unlikely Ford will continue to use the Volvo-sourced engine and according to Herrmann engineers are working on extracting more power from the turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that will power the Focus ST, which is set to make 247-hp.
According to Herrmann the new Focus RS will continue to be a front-drive model and will use a similar suspension setup to the previous model, which allowed for such a high amount of power to be effectively transmitted through the front wheels.
Now only one question remains: will this Focus RS finally make it to our shores?
[Source: Sydney Morning Herald]
All four sound clips are hosted on YouTube and feedback on their comments page will be used by Ford to help choose a sound. If you want to voice your opinion on what obnoxious sound you’ll be hearing from Ford’s Ford electric vehicle – as mandated by law – head on over to their page and put in your vote.
American consumers are buying more four-cylinder vehicles than ever before. According to research by IHS Automotive, 43 percent of all new cars delivered in the U.S in the first half of 2011, were powered by four-cylinders. In 2005, 43 percent of all new cars in the U.S were powered by sixes. The remaining 57 percent of cars sold in the US this year were six, eight and twelve cylinder engines.
Just a few years ago when gas was cheaper, four cylinders were destined the domain of economy cars. By contrast, one of every three new cars was powered by a V8 in 2005, but in 2011, that figure fell to one of every six vehicles.
While fuel efficiency is a top priority when consumers buy new cars, that’s only part of the story. As technology improves, four cylinder engines are cheaper, more reliable, and more powerful then ever before. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder in a compact Ford Contour in 1999 produced 120-hp getting 19/28 city/highway mpg. By contrast, the 2011 Ford Focus 160-hp and gets as much as 40 mpg on the highway.
German tuner MR Car Design has transformed Ford‘s Focus RS into a viable contender to Audi‘s RS3 and BMW‘s 1-Series M. Taking one of Europe’s most popular hot hatches, MR Car Design pushes out 355-hp out of the turbocharged 5-cylinder engine, a 54-hp increase from the factory 301-hp. The enhanced performance comes courtesy of an ECU reflash, MR Car Design downpipe and exhaust, high-flow catalytic converter and a K&N air filter.
In addition, MR Car Design combines its horsepower increase with a slight diet for the Focus RS. No details on the weight loss were specified but MR Car Design claims its Focus RS will blitz to 62-mph in 5.9 seconds. Other upgrades include r a set of KW V1 coilovers.
No pricing was announced, but does it really matter… the closest we get to the RS on this side of the Atlantic is the new Focus ST.
GALLERY: MR Car Design Ford Focus RS
The success of the Ford Fiesta brings with it another trend—the revival of the hatchback, long-derided in America as being cheap without the cheerfulness.
The Fiesta has dominated the small car segment below the Focus. Consumers are trading in their larger vehicles, even including the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, in response to increased gas prices. Ford claimed 19 percent of the C-class segment in December; January sales have put it in second place with Hyundai, against Nissan’s Versa.
And at the core of this success is the Fiesta 5-door, which is riding the surge of popularity in hatchbacks reports Ward’s Auto. “We’re now selling 5-door (SE trim levels) in volume now,” said Jim Farley, vice president of global marketing. “The price is more in the low end of the C-segment.”
Hatchbacks have traditionally been shunned in America because of their perceived cheapness and lack of security compared to a trunk; perhaps too many bad memories of tinny Hyundai Excels and blue-smoking Ford Aspires from high school are fueling the prejudice. Even Volkswagen, whose Jetta consistently outpaces sales of the Golf in America (and nowhere else) could have told Ford that.
Likewise, Ford had initially predicted that the Fiesta sedan would be the volume seller; yet demand was 50/50 once production started. And as of this week, sales of the hatchback trumped those of the sedan, at 55%. “The research didn’t tell us that,” said Farley.
If sales of the hatchback continue outperforming those of the sedan, this will give Ford valuable insight into consumer preferences in the small car segment—just in time for the new Focus to roll out, later this season.
[Source: Wards Auto]