The Ford Focus Electric cars shares its engine related underpinnings with the conventional gas-powered Focus but that is pretty much where the story ends- as the Focus uses no gas at all! And don’t even bother looking for a gas filler cap as this is an all-electric powered car.
Unlike the Prius Hybrid or Nissan Leaf this Focus looks just like its non-electric siblings with a spec akin to a fully loaded Titanium version of the Ford Focus. It is a rather attractive car with a daring mix of crisp creases and rounded curves.
I think Ford made the right decision in choosing the Focus Electric as it has all the right credentials of size, platform, and good design and is a tried and trusted family car. However note that the five-door Focus EV as tested comes at a higher price than the non-electric Focus. For instance our version had a sticker price of $41,199, but you can deduct $5,000-$8,000-plus in subsidies for this environmentally friendly car if you live in British Columbia, Ontario or Quebec.
And now to the meat of the matter. The All Electric Focus is powered by a 107-kW electric motor which produces an output an equivalent to 143 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. A large battery stores the power and regenerative brakes also produce power for the battery.
You charge the Focus by via household electrical outlet; plugging in a power cord into a receptacle in the front fender from either 110 or 240 volt outlet. The charging cord is kept in the trunk.
With electric cars, range is the all important factor and the Focus can travel up to 160 km on a fully charged charge battery, so any potential buyer should be aware of this limitation if planning a longer trip. The Focus can be recharged in four hours if you have a 240-volt charging station. If you using a 110-volt outlet, for example at home you’ll need seven hours to charge the battery fully- something else to factor in.
Interior wise the only difference from the non-electric Focus is the higher rear trunk floor and hump behind the rear seats for the electric battery and different gauges to monitor the electric drivetrain. Otherwise the same neat, well-designed, but adventurous cabin is kept with its futuristic looking dash design and high tech looks.
The trim is solid- feeling and high quality and there is level of design fit and finish and cabin ambience more in line with European compact cars. It is a distinctive and refreshing design ethos Ford has been doing so well lately.
With options, destination and delivery our tester came in at $43,149. Meanwhile a normal, gas- engined fully loaded Focus Titanium hatchback comes in at $25,099 in comparison.
Equipment levels are also high with: six airbags, hands-free Sync telephone connectivity, a MyFord Mobile phone app for remotely controlling the car and a “suite” of information systems designed to help the owner learn to drive the focus as efficiently as possible.
Safety-wise, the Focus is very impressive with a US five-star NCAP Overall Score and IIHS Top Safety Pick status.
On the road the Focus is very impressive. One of its advantages being an electric car is the instant torque available that allows for seamless rapid acceleration at full throttle from standing starts. The 107-kW electric motor has that eerie whine and no exhaust or engine noise to contend with and so makes for smooth, serene driving experience. Unlike a normal car there is no change or increase in engine, transmission or exhaust noise as you accelerate or decelerate. The power delivery also has none of the fuss and drama of a gasoline car and remains fluid and constant.
Good compliant handling and precise steering also make the Focus a pleasure to drive. Ford claim a top speed of a not unreasonable 146 km/h.
The brakes take some getting used to as they do on most all-electric and hybrid gas electric cars. The regenerative brakes use technology to generate power that goes back to the battery and motor and seem to “drag” and not have as much response or feel as normal brakes. It is something drivers get used to.
Whether in the urban grind or the highway the Ford Focus Electric feels as normal as any other kind of car and blends in with its neat, attractive shape. It does not shout your green credentials to all and sundry with some off-beat design and that is an attractive plus.
With its limited 160 km range I see the Ford Focus Electric as an ideal short range car for city and urban dwellers who do not stray far from home on a regular basis.
Hopefully future technology can see an increase in the range to a more reasonable 300-500 km on a single charge that would make this car unbeatable very tempting to most buyers.
However if you do not mind the charge time or have access to a home or apartment complex with a fast charger this car is ideal. It is particularly good for the urban dweller that won’t exceed the range in a day.
Want to be free of filling station price anxiety and gas gouging forever? This is the car for you! Auto review by Veeno Dewan
2013 Ford Focus Electric Hatchback priced from $41,599 Price as tested $43,149