Ford officially announce the Ford Focus Electric

Today at CES 2011, Ford officially announced they will shipping a fully electric version of their popular Focus mode. In an environmentally focused world, more and more manufacturers are...

Today at CES 2011, Ford officially announced they will shipping a fully electric version of their popular Focus mode. In an environmentally focused world, more and more manufacturers are entering the EV market, the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt and Tesla Roadster for example. With the car giant Ford getting into the game, its a really exciting time for EV.

The 2012 Ford Focus Electric is a 5 door hatchback loaded with technology. Before we get to that, lets look at the typical vehicle stats.

Engine: 100 kW AC (Permanent magnetic electric traction)
Horsepower: 92 kW (123 hp)
Torque: 181 lb.-ft./246 Nm
Top speed: 135km/h (84 mph)
Battery: 23 kwh
Drivetrain: Front Wheel Drive
Wheels: 17×7”
Weight: 1674kg (3,691 pounds)

With that out of the way, lets get down to the tech.

Mobile
Mobile applications are affecting almost every aspect of everyday life. Now cars can’t escape either – the MyFord Mobile is a smartphone app that allows users to receive vehicle status information, unlock your car, monitor battery charge level and get charging alerts when complete. Even more impressive than that list is the ability to locate your car via GPS, right from your phone! If your not yet in the smartphone market, there’s also a web interface to access most of this data.
 
Internals
Inside the Ford Focus Electric looks like a futuristic cockpit.

Looking at the center console you’ll see an 8 inch touch screen. This runs Ford’s successful MyFord Touch Navigation System. This allows drivers to get information and entertainment either by touching the screen or controlling the system by voice. Bluetooth compatibility with your phone means MyFord touch can read text messages, play music, voice dial contacts all at the push of a button located conveniently on the steering wheel. This allows the driver to keep their eyes on the road and avoid distractions. Use the touch screen when parked and voice controls on the go, it’s a nice option to have both and you can switch between the two seamlessly.


Focus Electric MyFord Touch instrument cluster

The Focus Electric MyFord Touch also features two 4.2 inch LCD screens adjacent to your standard speedometer. These screens can be customised to suit each individual driver. Choices range from trip info, range data, brake coaching, sorry no Facebook. All of these configuration can be controlled via buttons on the steering wheel.


Externals
Outside the styling is very consumer focused. Not something I’d describe as aggressive, but is certainly approachable. One unique element of the Focus Electric is the charge port is in the front fender, rather than the typical rear quarter panel.

Batteries /distance
The 2012 Ford Focus Electric will be powered by an 23 kWh advanced lithium-ion battery system engineered by Ford in cooperation with supplier LG Chem. A very contentious issue with EV is the distance your batteries will last between charges. Ford say you can expect to get up to 128km (80 miles).

To increase distance, Ford, like others, are also using regenerative braking. This sends some of the energy created from the forces applied during braking, back into the battery.

Charging time
The next question after distance, is how long does it take to recharge ? The answer is between 3 and 12 hours. In the US, there’s 2 power options commonly found 240 volts (charge time: 3-4hrs), the same as what Australian’s are used to, or 120 volts (18-20 hrs). With more voltage, recharging takes less time, so the duration will depend on the wiring in US-homes. When and if the Focus Electric comes to Australia, we’re fortunate that we’ve standardised on the higher voltage.

The price of the charging unit is said to be around US$1,500 so that needs to be included in the price of the cars overall cost.

Release date
Set for a release in North America in late 2011 and Europe in 2012. No dates for Australia, but I’ll be asking.

Update
Engadget has photos from the launch at CES.

Gallery
Check out press shots from Ford.

Tomorrow I’ll be flying out to Detroit to get hands-on with the 2012 Ford Focus Electric and other Ford vehicles at the North American International Auto Show. Personally I’m a big electric vehicle fan, so this announcement is a very exciting one. I plan on my next vehicle being electric, so hopefully the Australian government invest in recharging infrastructure.

techAU is attending the North American International Auto Show as a guest of Ford Motor Company, covering flights and accommodation. My opinions posted here are my own.

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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.