2010 Detroit Auto Show: Ford Introduces New Focus, Electric Version Production Starts in 2011

Other fuel-saving features include various design tricks to reduce friction in the engine and the use of lightweight aluminum. "Electric Power Assist Steering eliminates the drag of an engine-driven power steering pump, while the use of so-called stretchy belt technology removes friction in the form of a belt tensioner on the air-conditioning compressor drive system."

VP of product development Derrick Kuzak has also confirmed that the new Focus will later get a 1.6 liter ECOboost engine, which could further improve fuel economy.

I'm hoping for 40+ MPG on the highway, and a respectable figure in the low 30s in the city (especially if there's stop-start), but we'll have to wait for the official MPG numbers to know for sure. I might be too optimistic...


Photo: Michael Graham Richard

The transmission is also very good compared to the competition (come on Toyota, a 4-speed torque converter automatic transmission in the new Corolla?). The Focus will be offered with either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed dual-clutch PowerShift (aka automated manual), which brings most of the fuel economy of a traditional manual to the automatic world and is 9% more fuel efficient than a standard 4-speed automatic.


Photo: Michael Graham Richard
Electric Version of the New Ford Focus?
Production of the battery electric version of the new Focus is scheduled to begin at the Michigan Assembly Plant in 2011.

Based on the fact that both the 5-door hatchback and 4-door sedan use the exact same platform, it is possible that the Focus electric will be available in both body-styles (maybe this would encourage Nissan to make a sedan version of the LEAF?).


Photo: Michael Graham Richard
Plug-in Hybrid? Next Generation Hybrid?
Not many details are known yet, but Ford has also mentioned that a plug-in hybrid and a new "next generation" hybrid are coming in 2012 (maybe based on the Focus, maybe on another model).

I'd be interested in seeing a gasoline-electric hybrid based on the new Focus, maybe using some of the technology from the Fusion hybrid. If done right, maybe it could finally surpass the Toyota Prius and heat up competition in that segment. Things will improve faster if the Prius isn't unchallenged (and the Honda Insight V2 apparently failed at that task)...


Photo: Ford
When Will it Be Available?
According to the press release:

Production of the next-generation Ford Focus will begin simultaneously in Europe and North America in late 2010, with individual market launches starting early in 2011. Launches in Asia, Africa and South America will follow. Initial production will be concentrated at the Saarlouis (Germany), Michigan (United States) and Chongqing (China) Assembly Plants.


Photo: Ford
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Tags: Detroit Auto Show | Electric Cars | Electric Vehicles | Transportation

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