Joining the Nissan LEAF and Chevy VoltFord has announced that production has begun on the 2012 Focus Electric (follow the link for a lot more photos and technical details). It will be assembled at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant, and while at first it will only be available in California and the New York/New Jersey, as production ramps up to full speed, it will become available in the following markets: Atlanta, Austin and Houston, Texas; Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Orlando, Fla., Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh Durham, N.C.; Richmond, Va., Seattle, and Washington, DC.
One of the big selling points for Ford is the fast-charging ability that, for now, beats the competition:
Focus Electric is designed to offer enough range to cover the majority of daily driving habits of Americans. Its expected 100 MPGe is better than Chevrolet Volt and all electric vehicles with seating for five.
It 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.
But will Nissan trump that with wireless charging in the second version of the LEAF?
Electric cars are not quite evolving at the same rate as electronic devices, but it's certainly exciting to see that each new model and version will claim significant improvements in range, price, charging time, etc. We've gotten used to gasoline and diesel cars getting a little bit better with each new generation, but rarely do we see massive improvements. EV are different because we haven't been working on them as long; there are more low-hanging fruits left to harvest. In my opinion, an important tipping point will be reached in a few years when 1) people have gotten used to the idea of EVs, just like they did with hybrids such as the Prius and 2) when it's possible to buy an electric car that gets around 200 miles per charge for around $25k after rebates. At that point I think the floodgates will open and adoption rates will increase significantly.
Photo: Michael Graham Richard
More on 2012 Ford Focus Electric
2012 Ford Focus Electric: A Closer Look (2011 Detroit Auto Show)
2012 Ford Focus Electric Pricing to Start at $39,995
Ford Announces Markets Where Focus Electric Will be Available in Late 2011