Ford has announced that it will start building an all-electric version of the Focus hatchback from this month.
Dubbed the Focus Electric, the battery-powered Focus will supposedly travel up to 150 km on a single charge, and uses technology that allows it to be recharged in three hours using a conventional 240-volt power socket. That compares favourably with cars like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi iMiEV, which both require up to eight hours on a conventional 240-volt charger to reach full battery capacity.
An innovative remote control system allows the owner to connect to the Focus via the MyFord smartphone app. The user can check the status of the Focus’s battery levels without being near the vehicle. A solar panel recharge system is also available.
The Focus Electric is powered by an electric motor that produces 91 kW and 245 Nm of torque – 43 Nm more torque than the current Focus 2.0 litre petrol engine. A 23 kWh lithium-ion battery supplies power, allowing Focus Electric to run silently up to a maximum speed of 136 km/h.
The new Ford Focus Electric is expected to become the first electric vehicle to crack the 100 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) barrier, or 2.35 L/100km. Two of its main rivals in the US, the Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt, come close, achieving 2.37 L/100km (99 MPGe) and 2.5 L/100km (93 MPGe), respectively.
The catch? Production is confined to North America for now, with the first batch of Focus Electrics earmarked for California and New York/New Jersey. Ford will roll out the Focus Electric to other states in the USA later in 2012. Some European markets will eventually get their hands on the all-electric Focus, with sales expected to begin in late 2012.