For 2014, Ford’s electric version of the Focus remains the sole pure electric vehicle of the brand.
Launched late 2011 as a 2013 model, the Focus Electric is Ford’s answer both to the Nissan Leaf and to government regulations.
While Nissan chose to design a complete car from the ground up with the Leaf, Ford opted to adapt an existing vehicle to be powered by electricity.
Ford’s solution has benefits. The whole vehicle structure, suspension, body and most of the interior are shared with regular production Focus, contributing to offset the cost of developing a complete vehicle. This choice also offers benefits to owners of the vehicle: many parts are commonly shared and are sourced easily in case of an unfortunate accident.
On the downside, adapting an existing vehicle can cause packaging issues and, if image is important for the buyer, does not provide the owner that immediate “green cred” a totally unique vehicle like the Leaf or Tesla’s Model S does.
2014 prices for the Focus Electric start at $35,170 plus $795 destination and delivery charge and is a one trim level vehicle. Leather is a stand-alone $995 option and is essentially the only option aside from color. Yes, Ford charges extra for some colors: $395 for Blue Candy and $595 for White Platinum. The four other color choices are no charge.
Ford did cut the price for 2014 as the 2013 model came with an MSRP of $39,200.
The sole 2014 model comes well equipped with 17 inches aluminum rims and low resistance 225/50R17 tires; MyFord Touch driver connect technology; HID headlights; a 60/40 split rear bench seat; push button start; AM/FM/CD/MP3 Sony Audio with nine speakers; Sirius Satellite Radio with Travel Link; HD Radio; and voice-activated Navigation System.
Ford’s Focus Electric is powered by a 107 kilowatt (143 horsepower) permanent magnetic electric motor transferring power to the front wheels through a single-speed transmission. This electric motor receives electricity from a 23 kilowatt-hours liquid cooled Lithium-ion battery provided by LG Chem Ltd.
This powertrain allows the Focus Elelctric to carry an EPA-estimated rating of 110 MPGe city, 99 MPGe highway and 105 MPGe combined. This allows the Focus electric the capability of traveling up to 76 miles on a single charge and delivering a top speed of up to 84 mph. The 0 to 60 mph acceleration is estimated at 9.5 seconds, a very realistic estimate when compared to the results we had when we drove the car.
A full recharge of the battery pack takes four hours with a 240-volt charge station. Ford states that over 95 percent of the energy normally lost is stored in the batteries through regenerative braking and we believe that claim as we found the regenerative braking feature to be very efficient.
On the practical side, the battery pack takes up more space than what is dedicated to the gas tank on gasoline models, which led Ford’s engineers to use part of the trunk. This does mean the trunk space is reduced when compared to a gasoline powered Focus hatchback and also explains why the Focus Electric is only offered in hatchback form.
On The Road
The Focus Electric benefits from the nice handling of the regular Focus versions and adds to this spirited acceleration from the start, thanks to the instant delivery of the electric motor’s 184 pound-feet of torque.
The handling of the vehicle is well balanced and benefits from the added weight in the back from the batteries. The Focus Electric will never be confused with a sports car, but will be happy to follow the driver on occasional spirited drives.
Like any electric vehicle, powertrain noise is very limited, highlighting at highway speeds the good aerodynamics of the Focus body as driver and passengers don’t hear much wind noise. They will hear more tire noise than usual though, partly because there is no engine to cover it up, partly because of the low resistance tires, and partly because it is a weak point of the whole Focus range.
For a far more detailed look at the Focus Electric, please also consult our earlier feature on the car posted here when the Focus Electric was launched.