Ford’s New Focus Electric to Compete Head-to-Head with Volt, Leaf

Ford Motor Company has announced that pricing for its electric battery powered Focus Electric has been set at $39,995 – the same price as the Chevrolet Volt and about $4,000 more than the Nissan Leaf. The new all-electric Focus will also qualify for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500. Purchasers of the Leaf and Volt also qualify for tax credits.

The new Focus Electric’s standard features will include a one-speed transmission, 17-inch aluminum wheels, a 92-kilowatt electric motor powered by a lithium ion battery, and MyTouch.

In addition to its regular functionality, MyTouch will also provide drivers of the Focus Electric with information about the vehicles available battery life. Over time, the system will make calculations based, in part, on the information it has “learned” about the individual’s particular driving style.

The Focus Electric is one of five all-electric models the automaker has in development. Ford plans to launch the Focus Electric in the New York / New Jersey area as well as select markets in California this year.

The automaker says the Focus Electric’s lithium battery can be charged using ordinary 120-volt outlets and 240-volt charging stations. Charging time using a 240-volt charging station is approximately three hours.

Although the EPA has not yet certified the battery range for the Focus Electric, Ford spokesman Octavio Navarro said it is expected to get between 70 and 100 miles on a fully charged battery.

According to Nissan, its Leaf all-electric can operate between 62 and 138 miles before needing to be recharged depending on a number of factors, including air conditioning usage, average speed and outside temperature.

The Chevrolet Volt’s electric motor has an operational range of between 25 and 50 miles before switching to its gasoline engine for power. The gas engine operates a generator which, in turn, recharges the electric battery.

Navarro said he is confident the new Focus Electric will be competitive based on “what our engineers have seen.”

Ford has not said how many Focus Electrics will be available in its initial launch markets. Navarro said California and the New York / New Jersey areas are the “most prepared to handle electrics.” He also said, “Building an electric vehicle isn’t like building a regular car. As we’re able to produce more vehicles and market demands, we’ll be growing out to secondary markets.”

Following in Nissan’s footsteps when it launched the Leaf all-electric vehicle, Ford will initially only build enough Focus Electrics to meet demand generated by online orders.

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