Automotive

Test drive: Ford Focus Electric

Test drive: Ford Focus Electri...
Ford Focus Electric in New York's Chelsea neighborhood
Ford Focus Electric in New York's Chelsea neighborhood
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The Ford Focus Electric charges in half the time of the Nissan Leaf
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The Ford Focus Electric charges in half the time of the Nissan Leaf
The Focus Electric is part of Ford's expanding lineup of EVs
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The Focus Electric is part of Ford's expanding lineup of EVs
The Focus Electric is part of Ford's expanding lineup of EVs
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The Focus Electric is part of Ford's expanding lineup of EVs
The Focus Electric is part of Ford's expanding lineup of EVs
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The Focus Electric is part of Ford's expanding lineup of EVs
The Focus Electric is part of Ford's expanding lineup of EVs
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The Focus Electric is part of Ford's expanding lineup of EVs
The dash features brake coaching to boost surplus range, represented by butterflies
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The dash features brake coaching to boost surplus range, represented by butterflies
MyFord Mobile makes it easy to keep track of your Ford Focus Electric and its battery
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MyFord Mobile makes it easy to keep track of your Ford Focus Electric and its battery
Manage charging via Ford's smartphone app
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Manage charging via Ford's smartphone app
MyFord Mobile also locates nearby charging stations
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MyFord Mobile also locates nearby charging stations
The app tracks your impact on the environment and your wallet
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The app tracks your impact on the environment and your wallet
The app can warm up the car to prep it for a drive and maximize range
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The app can warm up the car to prep it for a drive and maximize range
Schedule drive times to make sure the cabin is always just right
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Schedule drive times to make sure the cabin is always just right
Of course, your drives can also be shared to social media
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Of course, your drives can also be shared to social media
If you're prone to losing your vehicle, Ford's app can help with that too
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If you're prone to losing your vehicle, Ford's app can help with that too
Ford Focus Electric in New York's Chelsea neighborhood
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Ford Focus Electric in New York's Chelsea neighborhood
I took the Ford Focus Electric for a spin around New York's Chelsea neighborhood
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I took the Ford Focus Electric for a spin around New York's Chelsea neighborhood
Ford Focus Electric in New York's Chelsea neighborhood
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Ford Focus Electric in New York's Chelsea neighborhood
Ford Focus Electric in New York's Chelsea neighborhood
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Ford Focus Electric in New York's Chelsea neighborhood
I took the Ford Focus Electric for a spin around New York's Chelsea neighborhood
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I took the Ford Focus Electric for a spin around New York's Chelsea neighborhood
Ford Focus Electric in New York's Chelsea neighborhood
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Ford Focus Electric in New York's Chelsea neighborhood
Eric Kuehn, Chief Nameplate Engineer for the Focus Electric gave us the low-down on what's new in this EV
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Eric Kuehn, Chief Nameplate Engineer for the Focus Electric gave us the low-down on what's new in this EV
Eric Kuehn, Chief Nameplate Engineer for the Focus Electric gave us the low-down on what's new in this EV
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Eric Kuehn, Chief Nameplate Engineer for the Focus Electric gave us the low-down on what's new in this EV
Ford says the Focus Electric charges in half the time of the Nissan Leaf with the additional charging station
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Ford says the Focus Electric charges in half the time of the Nissan Leaf with the additional charging station
Ford says the Focus Electric charges in half the time of the Nissan Leaf with the additional charging station
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Ford says the Focus Electric charges in half the time of the Nissan Leaf with the additional charging station
A hatchback provides a little extra cargo
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A hatchback provides a little extra cargo
Inside the Ford Focus Electric
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Inside the Ford Focus Electric
Inside the Ford Focus Electric
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Inside the Ford Focus Electric
Inside the Ford Focus Electric
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Inside the Ford Focus Electric
Inside the Ford Focus Electric
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Inside the Ford Focus Electric
Inside the Ford Focus Electric
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Inside the Ford Focus Electric
Inside the Ford Focus Electric
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Inside the Ford Focus Electric
Inside the Ford Focus Electric
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Inside the Ford Focus Electric
The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
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The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
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The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
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The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
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The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
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The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
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The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
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The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
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The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
Inside the Ford Focus Electric
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Inside the Ford Focus Electric
Inside the Ford Focus Electric
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Inside the Ford Focus Electric
The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
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The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
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The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
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The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
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The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
Ford says the Focus Electric charges in half the time of the Nissan Leaf with the additional charging station
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Ford says the Focus Electric charges in half the time of the Nissan Leaf with the additional charging station
Ford says the Focus Electric charges in half the time of the Nissan Leaf with the additional charging station
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Ford says the Focus Electric charges in half the time of the Nissan Leaf with the additional charging station
The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
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The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
Ford says the Focus Electric charges in half the time of the Nissan Leaf with the additional charging station
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Ford says the Focus Electric charges in half the time of the Nissan Leaf with the additional charging station
Ford says the Focus Electric charges in half the time of the Nissan Leaf with the additional charging station
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Ford says the Focus Electric charges in half the time of the Nissan Leaf with the additional charging station
Ford says the Focus Electric charges in half the time of the Nissan Leaf with the additional charging station
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Ford says the Focus Electric charges in half the time of the Nissan Leaf with the additional charging station
The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
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The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
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The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
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The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City
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The Ford Focus Electric on display in New York City

Recently in New York City, Ford invited a handful of journalists to take a brand new Ford Focus Electric for a spin around the west side of Manhattan. But before we got behind the wheel, Eric Kuehn, Chief Nameplate Engineer for the Focus Electric gave us the low-down on what's new in this EV.

Kuehn made it pretty clear that Ford is looking to compete more aggressively with the Nissan Leaf with this iteration, which the automaker claims can go from no juice to fully charged in half the time (around 4 hours) - using of Ford's 240-volt charging station that costs an additional US$1,500 - while also getting a better single-charge range of about 76 miles (122 km).

At the core of the electric Focus, is a pair of 600 pound (272 kg) liquid-cooled lithium-ion 23 kilowatt hour batteries. Fortunately, there's an app for managing them.

MyFord Mobile features prominently in Ford's pitch for its electric vehicle with an app to help plan trips, manage charging and locate charging stations along the way. Another cool new digital bonus is a feature Ford calls "butterflies," a fun little gimmick that pops up butterflies on the dashboard display to indicate surplus range is available.

Kuehn explained that learning to brake early and easily and taking advantage of the Focus Electric's regenerative braking is the best way to boost your butterfly count. It's a technique that takes a little getting used to, as you'll see in the video of my test drive below.

When I did get behind the wheel, it was a little shocking how much the Focus Electric drives like a regular Focus. The suspension was a little tight, probably something to do with all the extra weight in those batteries, and it's not the roomiest compact around, but it sure had more pickup than other electric vehicles.

Is it worth the US$39,200 sticker price, though? See if my video test drive helps you decide if it's worth testing out yourself.

Test drive: Ford Focus Electric car

18 comments
Mark A
$2ok can buy a lot of gas
Caimbeul
Even with cumulative savings for folks like my wife and me - who usually keep a vehicle 10 years or more - we can't afford the upfront cost of the Ford Focus EV. A shame because it's exactly what we'd like, what we need for our daily drive.
Alien
The article's interesting but skip the video. Speeded up video of travel around New York with more time stationary than moving really adds nothing to the reader's appreciation.
VoiceofReason
For $39K, I'd rather have a Jetta TDI diesel for the long haul trips and a Brammo electric motorcycle for around town.
BZD
Not sure about the electric thing but I am sure that new direction Ford is taking with their design is terrible. Them copying Aston Martin is so lame! We saw it first with the new Mondeo and now with this Focus, even the colour is more Aston Martin than Ford and it fools no one. Potential Ford customers won't think they're getting an Aston and the Aston buyers will see this as hurting the Aston Martin brand - just imagine parking you're DBS and then someone parks a Focus next to it with a front mimicking your Aston!
RaVOLT
Curious their claim is twice as fast as a LEAF. Nissan clearly state the longer time on the regular 110V in USA. With the 220V via an optional charger. Here in Oz the 240V is the standard so Nissan recharges well enough. Then, Nissan have their fast charge of 80% within 25mins. The electric is great for the second car. In my case it is possible to do 95% of my demands, with the 5% only for country trips. The price is a worry, early adopters usually pay. A DIY, 4 year old, Focus will set you back $30k for similar range, so, when mass production gets there it will lower the price. Good competition but Ford have been late starters. pity.
Grainpaw
BZD, in most of America, the only Aston Martin anybody has seen is in the James Bond films. They have never and will never see one in person, and if they did, they would think it was imitating the Focus, if they had any idea what it was. The problem you describe is only a problem in areas where some people have more money than they know what to do with. Go nurse your hurt feelings with a shaken not stirred martini, then get over it.
BZD
@Grainpaw: Point taken only the world is bigger than America. Also with the copy crap Chinese automakers are pulling all the time then I think it's stupid that Ford now does the same and, sort off, says it's okay to copy (and I do know Ford owns 12% of Aston Martin).
Eduardo RG
39,200 !!! Besides all the costs of the car and the battery, I suspect the final price is too high due to the very high net earnings placed for EV´s, again due to the small quantity of EV cars finally sold. Think that between these small quantity of EV´s being bought the company has to pay not only for the construction of the car but for the construction of a whole new kind of car and all the new science that comes with it. What will bring the price down ??? New, less expensive batteries and more people buying EV´s. What will make more people buy EV´s ??? getting away from the "range anxiety" by realizing what they REALLY drive and how long every day. Its incredible people pick a regular gas, high mileage range car just because they make this high mileage range journeys just twice a year. Come on people don´t be so lazy !!! People are so scare of planing their trips, check on their mileage range, check where they can recharge and adjust they driving to it. Many people are also afraid of just forgetting charging their electrics cars at night and not being able to drive at the next day. All this things are made of laziness, irresponsibility and wanting to have a completely worry free car that they just to put their feet on the gas pedal and roll. They have to check all the advantages of an electric car, GET ONE and stop being, afraid of the disadvantages but just start being responsible with their lives, their routines, the environment and our future. Ok it cost way more, it come with more responsibilities, but all in all EV´s are great cars.
JeffAWI
There is a lot of misinformation and old thinking displayed in this article and comments. A Nissan Leaf takes about 8 hours to charge because it has a 3.3kW charger (16A @ 220V). The Focus has a 6.57kW charger (32A @ 220V) and can therefore charge twice as fast as the Leaf. These chargers are built-in to the cars. Nissan has announced that the 2013 Leaf will get a higher wattage charger to remedy this difference. As a Leaf owner, I know first hand that charging time is a BIG DEAL. Also, Ford actively controls the battery temperature, which allows them to get more range out of them as they're always operating at optimum temperature. The high price here in the US is offset by many early-adopter incentives. You can knock $10-$12.5k off the price of that car here in California right away ($7.5-$10k in other states), and you get to use carpool lanes as a solo driver (this is also a BIG DEAL). Also, one can get a 220V home charger and installation at no cost via programs aimed at promoting EV adoption.