Ford’s getting ready for its all-new Focus Electric

2 Sep 2011 | 1,985 views | No Comment
Ford, on the verge of introducing its long-awaited Focus Electric, is taking to the streets to test consumer knowledge of the fuel-saving choices that are now available to them. And if the results are anything like what's happening in Pittsburgh, one of the stops on the tour, Ford and other companies have their work cut out for them in making consumers well-informed about all the attractive choices now or soon to be available them--including the Focus Electric, the company's first zero emission, all electric passenger car to be introduced late this year. It will have a range of around 75 to 100 miles on a single charge. For Ford in particular, getting the word out is especially important because of the dramatic investment that the company is making in hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles, according to Gil Portalatin, Ford's Hybrid and Battery Vehicle Systems Application Manager. "By 2020, anywhere from ten percent  to 25 percent of our fleet will in one way or another consist of hybrids, full electrics, plug-in hybrids" and simiilar products, he said. Ford plans to launch five electrified vehicles in North America by 2012, and in Europe by 2013. In 2012, that will include  Ford's introduction of  the new C-Max hybrid, a second generation lithium ion battery hybrid and the new C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid. More than 60 percent of Pittsburghers want to buy a hybrid or electreic vehicle, and that's higher than the national average of 55 percent. But Pittsburgh--and Pennsyolvania residents as a whole--aren't well-informed about the differences between the various options, such as what makes a plug-in ihybrid unique from a traditional hybrid--or from a full electric vehicle for that matter. Over 50 percent of those questioned say they don't have any idea of those differences. That's especially telling when one considers that residents of cities like Pittsburgh who have lots of convenient, close-by shops and services close by their urban neighborhoods could take advantage of plug-ins and electric vehicles, and conceivably not need aniy gasoline at all to do their errands or take advantage of urban amenities nearby.        About 69 percent of Pittsburgh residents drive to work, and 51 percent of them have a daily commute of less than 30 minutes. Some 88 percent of them say that an electric vehicle could serve their family needs well, but over half say they are uneasy about having a car that only has a limited driving range as their primary mode of transportation. To help such families feel more comfortable, Ford's launching a partnership with Best Buy to help consumers acquire charging equip-ment and help make their use of electric vehicles much easier and convenient.       Another step the company has taken will be apparent when the public sees the new Focus Electric. It is little different from a conventional Focus, with almost the same attractive, easy to use dashboard, and an attractive, comfortable interior. In other words, its appearance and demeanor should not put off anyone considering  an all-electric vehicle. Ford says that the The Focus Electric will launch in late 2011 and is designed to offer enough range to cover the majority of daily driving habits of Americans. It will offer a mile-per-gallon equivalent better than Chevrolet Volt and competitive with other battery electric vehicles. A full recharge is expected to take three to four hours at home with the 240-volt charge station –half the charge time of the Nissan Leaf. Focus Electric introduces new features and technologies – including a unique version of the MyFord Touch driver connect system especially for electric vehicles, a new value charging feature powered by Microsoft and a smartphone app called MyFord Mobile that helps plug-in owners control their vehicles remotely. Both Focus gasoline and electric variants to be sold in North America will be built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., with production powered in part by one of the largest solar energy generator systems in the state.

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