With Chevy and Nissan already vying for electric supremacy with the Volt and Leaf, Ford staked out its own outlet on the power strip Friday with the announcement of an all-electric Ford Focus for 2011. The Focus Electric translates the design of Ford’s popular C-car chassis to a totally electric drivetrain without a drop of gasoline in sight.
For eco-geeks craving numbers, the Focus Electric uses a 23kwh lithium-ion battery from LG to drive a 123-horsepower electric motor that can propel the car to a top speed of 84 miles per hour – and it will charge in only four hours on a 240V charging system.
The missing spec, of course, is range. Ford hasn’t said a word about how far the Focus Electric will carry owners. Instead, Ford claims “Focus Electric will offer a mile-per-gallon equivalent better than Chevrolet Volt and competitive with other battery electric vehicles.” Considering it has a curb weight and battery capacity just about on par with Nissan’s Leaf, which claims up to 100 miles, we wouldn’t be surprised to see numbers in the same neighborhood.
Rather than dwelling on range, Ford is attempting to drill home other aspects of the car that differentiate it from a glorified golf cart. It will include the upscale MyFord Touch entertainment system, for instance, and interface with the just-announced MyFord Mobile app that lets smartphone users interact with their cars remotely: unlocking it, viewing charge status, and more. Ford also coordinated with Microsoft to develop “value charging” that will intelligently let the car soak up watts during off-peak hours for the cheapest rates.
Depending on your tastes, the Focus Electric might also be the most normal-looking and likeable of current options, outside the exotic market. The regular Focus’ swoopy, aerodynamic look remains intact, and a new grille with flat bars could almost pass for something out of Aston Martin – though we’re almost certain the powerplant behind it can’t cash the check it writes.
The Focus Electric will be available in late 2011, but that other all-critical spec – price – remains a mystery for the time being.