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Ford taking orders for Focus Electric priced near $40K

The all-electric version of its Focus sedan will be available in California and the New York City area next year and spread to other regions as production ramps up.

Ford today started taking orders for the 2012 Focus Electric, a battery-electric sedan with a retail price just under $40,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit and state incentives.

With the launch of Ford's first full-production, all-electric passenger car, the Focus Electric will join plug-in electric cars Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt, which debuted earlier this year. People can preorder online the Focus Electric, which has a base price of $39,995 including destination fees or will be available through a lease of $713 a month for five years.

For comparison, Nissan's Leaf has a price tag starting at $35,2000, the Chevy Volt is just under $40,000, and the price for the low-end version of Toyota's 2012 Plug-in Prius is $32,000.

Ford's approach is different from its competitors in that the Focus Electric is an electric version of an existing passenger car. That means Ford factories can turn out the both gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in vehicles on the same assembly lines and adjust according to demand.

The Focus Electric will first be available next year in California and the New York/New Jersey area, regions chosen for the historical pattern of hybrid sales and driving patterns.

As production ramps up, Ford will expand sales to all 19 launch markets: Atlanta; Austin and Houston; 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 D.C.

The car will be powered by a 92-kilowatt motor and a liquid-cooled lithium ion battery pack which will allow for a range between 85 miles and 100 miles. It can charge in three hours from a 240-volt outlet and includes a charger for plugging into a regular 120-volt outlet.

Ford is aiming this car at fleet operators or consumers who want to cut their gasoline consumption. It has other green features, such as using recycled material for the interior. Ford designed the electric Focus to have the same high-tech touches of comparable sedans and EV-specific features, such as a way to remotely monitor and schedule car charging through a smartphone.

In 2012, the company is readying a C-Max hybrid sedan, which uses lithium ion batteries, and a C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid.