Unless you have been keeping close tabs on Ford, you might have missed their recent flood of frugal vehicles – there are five variations now.
In the last few weeks, we’ve had a chance to drive the C-Max Hybrid SEL, C-Max Energi (a plug-in hybrid), Focus Electric and Bill even spent a few minutes behind the wheel of the Fusion Energi at a recent Ford program did in Dearborn.
Ford Focus Electric
Ford took a different path to build its first pure electric car. It converted one of its best-selling sedans, the Focus, to electric. The result is no need for fuel, no emissions, impressive torque, and all the comfort and convenience of a Ford Focus.
By the numbers, the 2012 Ford Focus Electric has a single 143 hp electric motor driving the front wheels through a single-speed transmission. The Focus has a top speed of 84 mph and accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 10.3 seconds. The 23 kWh Lithium-ion battery is liquid cooled and heated with an approximate range of 76 miles. A full charge takes about four hours at 240 volts and about 20 hours with a 120 volt charger hookup.
Other than extreme quiet and a solid almost heavy feeling, the Focus drives pretty much like a gas Focus. (The Electric focus weighs just over 3,600 pounds or about 700 pounds more than a gasoline-powered model. Stepping down on the accelerator produces quick acceleration and decent passing power, up to a point – remember, the top speed is only 84 mph.
Like the hybrids, regenerative braking recovers 90 percent of the energy normally lost through braking and stores it in the battery.
Because there are no drive belts like those on a gasoline engine, the Focus Electric uses the battery to powers equipment like power steering, vacuum pump, heater, water pump, etc.
The Focus Electric is not a car we’d feel comfortable in on a Sunday drive to the coast, it’s better suited for running errands, chauffeuring the kids or commuting to work. There is a definite range anxiety; just as we’ve had in any other electric only vehicles we’ve driven. Unlike a gas gauge, which we check occasionally, the range indicator is part of most of our instrument cluster scans – we always wanted to be sure we that could make it home. The other option was to find a charger along the route, which seems to be more viable every day. We’ve noticed electric vehicle chargers have been added in the parking lots of many of our favorite stores.
The Ford Focus Electric is priced at $39,995, including the destination charge. The car qualifies for the $7,500 federal tax credit and maybe other state and local incentives. Nearly everything on the Focus Electric is standard including Sony audio with SYNC and MyFord Touch, HID headlights, alarm system and rear sensing system. Other than few aftermarket accessories, leather seating ($995) is the only available option.
We like the idea of the 2012 Ford Focus Electric, but it would have to be a second or third car in the family. It’s comfortable, fun to drive and certainly economical to operate.