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Hosting its annual week-long Test Fest, the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada has announced its picks for Car of the Year in 11 categories with the Cadillac ATS and Ford Focus ST, among others, taking awards.
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 may begin building electric cars in China via joint ventures with Chinese auto makers, replicating the tactics of rivals like General Motors and Daimler AG, parent company of Mercedes-Benz. China is looking to add 1 million EVs by 2015 as part of an effort to curb emissions and the dependence on fossil fuels.
Ford CEO Alan Mulally was in China for the groundbreaking of a new engine assembly plant with local partner Changan Automobile Group, part of a $1.6 billion effort to build four new factories in China. Mulally expects China to play a key part in boosting Ford sales by 50 percent by 2015, and Ford’s Lincoln brand may become part of that strategy, as Chinese demand for luxury cars is rapidly growing.
[Source: The Detroit News]
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.
Ford has released a list of 25 cities in the United States that it labeled “electric vehicle-ready”, with the 20 initial roll-0ut markets for the Ford Focus E.V. listed, as well as 5 other cities, Baltimore, Dallas, Hartford, Honolulu and Charlotte.
Ford declined to rank the cities, instead listing them in alphabetical order, but said that cities on the list were working to help make it easier to install charging systems and offering incentives for charging your car during off-peak hours. Ford expects about 20 plug-in vehicles to be on the market by 2012, and believes it will sell “thousands” of Focus EVs.
The cities listed by Ford include Atlanta; Austin, Dallas and Houston in Texas; Baltimore; Boston; Charlotte and Raleigh in North Carolina; Chicago; Denver; Detroit; Hartford; Honolulu; Indianapolis; Los Angeles, San Diego, the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento in California; New York; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Richmond, Va.; Seattle; and Washington.
[Source: New York Times]
Ford will spend $550 million to transform it’s Michigan truck plant into a facility that bill be used to built the new Ford Focus, including an electric version of that vehicle.
By transforming the Michigan Trunk Plant into a compact car facility as many as 3,200 jobs will be saved as demand for large SUVs declines. The Truck Plant was the location where behemoths such as the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator were manufactured.
The all new Focus will begin production next year with an electric version of the compact car due out in 2011. This zero-emissions Focus is being built in partnership with Magna International and will be powered by an electric motor mated to a Lithium-Ion battery pack and can be charged though a conventional household outlet.
Ford has made a commitment to bring three more EVs to market by 2012.
“The transformation of Michigan Assembly Plant embodies the larger transformation under way at Ford,” said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally. “This is about investing in modern, efficient and flexible American manufacturing. It is about fuel economy and the electrification of vehicles. It is about leveraging our expertise and vehicle platforms around the world and partnering with the UAW to deliver best-in-class global small cars. It is about skilled and motivated teams working together in new ways to create the future of automobile manufacturing in the United States.”
Along with the Michigan plant, Ford will transform its Louisville, KY plant to also produce the new Focus, as well as modify the company’s Cuautitlan Assembly in Mexico, where the new Fiesta is to be produced.
“We’re changing from a company focused mainly on trucks and SUVs to a company with a balanced product lineup that includes even more high-quality, fuel-efficient small cars, hybrids and all-electric vehicles,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas. “As customers move to more fuel-efficient vehicles, we’ll be there with more of the products they really want.”
Official release after the jump: