Ford has officially kicked off deliveries for it new, battery-powered Ford Focus Electric to dealers this past weekend, Automotive News reports.
The next two weeks will see roughly 350 electron-powered Fords sent to a total of 67 dealers in California, New Jersey, and New York. According to reports, each dealer is scheduled to receive about six cars, with one example being held on to for demonstration purposes. No doubt consumers will be anxious to get behind the wheel of the $40,000 Focus, so having one on hand will more than likely come in handy.
Of course, Ford won’t have an easy run of things. Not only will the Focus Electric be competing with the Chevy Volt, but the Nissan Leaf as well – which has the distinction of being the first mass marketed electric car on the market and boasts a base MSRP of $35,200.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see how things unfold in terms of sales, but the bar isn’t exactly set high. Just last month, Ford CEO Alan Mullaly stated that he wouldn’t consider the Focus Electric a complete failure if the Blue Oval managed to sell less than 5,000 units in its inaugural year. To throw in a little perspective: since the Leaf’s introduction to U.S. shores in December 2010, the Japanese automaker has managed to sell just below 12,000 Leafs through April of 2012, selling 9,674 units during its first full year. Meanwhile, GM’s plug-in Volt recorded 7,671 units sold in 2011 alone, while a total of 13,374 Volts have been sold in the U.S. through April 2012.
Ford’s conservative targets won’t be made easier — or who knows, maybe they will — given the all-electric’s staggered and limited roll out, but at least Ford will have hedged its bets, so to speak, should initial sales putter along.
With the Focus Electric, Ford has opted to take a different approach than its competitors. Both Nissan and GM developed entirely new platforms for their respective EVs – making it a much costlier endeavor. Instead, Ford has electrified an existing model, which helped reduce overall cost in the long-term. The fact that the Focus Electric and its gasoline counterpart are produced on the same assembly line and share virtually the same platform will help maintain “reasonable margins” on its EVs, Mullaly has said in the past. There’s also the added benefit of the Focus Electric not having that “electric car look.”
Ford plans on expanding Focus Electric availability to other pilot states by the end of the summer.
For info on the Ford Focus Electric and other EVs, check out our electric car roundup.