Word has it that this weekend the first shipments of around 350 Ford Focus Electrics got underway to 67 dealers in California, New Jersey and New York.

The decision was reportedly made Friday, and the deliveries will take place over the next two weeks with each dealer getting half a dozen cars, out of which, one will be a demo model.

This news came via insiders who spoke on condition of anonymity to Reuters, but Ford has nothing official to say about it except a general statement that, “We are still on track to begin shipping the Focus Electric this spring.”

The Focus EV has been called a mere “compliance car” to help reduce the company’s fleet economy average, and Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally said last month that if they only sell 5,000 units this year, it won’t be considered a failure.

In contrast, for their first year’s sales, GM sold 7,671 Chevy Volts, and Nissan sold 9,674 all-electric Leafs. GM had set a goal of 10,000 and it was seen as falling short. The Leaf nearly did sell 10,000, and it is presently considered the closest competitor to the Focus EV.

Ford has also let slip the propulsion battery in the approximately $40,000 electric version of the Ford Focus costs about one-third its total, at somewhere between $12,000-$15,000; its global vice president of marketing has said Ford is not attempting an assertive ad campaign to sell the car to anyone other than those who are already EV fans.

Instead, more emphasis is on hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Ford expects these types will comprise the majority of a 25-percent share of its total sales of hybrids and EVs it foresees by 2020.

Mulally has said the Focus Electric earns the company “reasonable margins” but Ford’s approach thus far has been less committed, as shown also by its having converted an existing model, rather than developing a new platform for it, as Chevrolet did for the Volt, and Nissan did for the Leaf.

Automotive News