Ford has launched its new Focus Electric, which it says will do 100+ MPGe. The new electric vehicle is also the first all-electric vehicle to offer faster charging technology, allowing it to charge in half the time of a Nissan Leaf using 240-volt outlets, says Ford.
According to a Ford survey of Americans in 36 cities this autumn, even with relatively stable gas prices, fuel economy is the top purchase consideration for new vehicles. Nearly 45 percent of customers say fuel economy is their top consideration.
It therefore comes as no surprise that the automobile manufacturer has focused on this aspect above all else during the launch of its new gasoline-free 2012 Focus Electric. The company says that the new electric vehicle is expected to be the first of five-passenger electric vehicles in the company’s fleet with a 100 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe). Focus Electric is designed to offer enough range to cover the majority of daily driving habits of Americans, and its fuel consumption is expected to better that of the Chevrolet Volt and all electric vehicles with seating for five.
"The Focus Electric is a shining example of the leading fuel economy Ford is offering for each new vehicle," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. "Whether people want a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or full battery-electric vehicle, we have a family of vehicles for them to consider, providing a range of options to best meet their needs and support their driving habits and lifestyles."
Ford also says the Focus Electric will be the “first electrified vehicle to offer faster charging with 240-volt outlets”, which can be installed in customer homes. The battery can be recharged in just more than three hours using a 240-volt charging station, about half the charging time of the 2012 Nissan Leaf. Faster charging with 240 volts also can extend range as drivers can more quickly recharge between stops – up to 30 miles per charge hour – so they can more than double the vehicle's range with multiple charging stops during a busy day of driving.
A unique value charging feature, powered by Microsoft, will also help owners in the US charge their vehicles at the cheapest utility rates, lowering the cost of ownership.
With the new electrified vehicles and the new Focus ST performance model also coming in 2012, Ford's Michigan assembly plant is described by the company as "the first facility in the world capable of building a full array of vehicles – gas-powered, EcoBoost®, electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid – all on the same production line”.
The plant also features one of the largest solar power generation systems in the state as well as several electric vehicle charging stations, allowing the facility to operate on a blend of renewable and conventional electricity. Renewable energy collected by the solar panels directly feeds the energy-efficient microgrid, helping power the plant. When the plant is inactive, such as holidays, the stored solar energy will provide power during periods of insufficient or inconsistent sunlight. Projected energy cost savings are approximately $160,000 per year.
The plant also has 10 electric vehicle charging stations that recharge the electric switcher trucks that transport parts between adjacent facilities – saving an estimated 86,000 gallons of gas a year.