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2012 Ford Focus Electric (pictures)

Ford's new electric car comes with a bevy of telematics and instrumentation features to help drivers, but also with the usual limited range of these types of cars.

Wayne Cunningham
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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Ford used its Focus model as the basis for its first pure-electric car. Using the existing platform makes for more-efficient production.
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The Focus can be had in sedan and hatchback forms, but the Focus Electric only comes in the hatchback style. Ford's latest design language is apparent in the grille and sides of the car.
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The electric drive motor uses up very little space in the Focus. Most of the drive system is the battery pack and this power control unit.
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The Focus Electric has the same amount of passenger room as the gasoline version.
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The charging port for the car is on the left front fender, making it accessible when pulling into a parking space with a charging station.
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The Focus Electric is 700 pounds heavier than its gasoline counterpart, so Ford had to tune the suspension for the extra weight.
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As it's an electric car, there are no tailpipes on the Focus Electric.
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The cargo area is compromised by the size of the battery pack, but the rear seats still fold down.
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Ford places a three-compartment hatch behind the battery pack, making for hidden stowage space.
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The adapter cable for the charging port sits under the rear cargo area.
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The cabin of the Focus Electric is little changed from the gasoline version. Most of the cabin tech features come standard in the Focus Electric.
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The car includes MyFord Touch, an interface that puts two LCDs in the instrument cluster showing a variety of useful information.
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Ford stacks up the buttons between the steering-wheel spokes.
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This shifter is really a drive selector, as there is no multigear transmission in the Focus Electric.
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The touch screen shows the MyFord Touch interface, which has been newly refined with more-usable graphics.
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The navigation system uses maps stored on an SD card, and shows traffic information.
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Ford includes a convenient list of charging stations in the navigation system's points-of-interest database.
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The Bluetooth phone system is one of the better cabin tech features in the Focus Electric, with a very easy-to-use interface and good voice control.
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The Focus Electric accepts a good number of modern audio sources, such as iPod, Bluetooth streaming, and USB.
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The music library screen offers categories for album, artist, and genre, but you have to drill down to find it.
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The Bluetooth streaming screen doesn't show track information.
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The Focus Electric offers a Wi-Fi hot-spot capability, which works when you plug a cellular data dongle into the car's USB port.
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Traffic, movie listings, and weather come in through a satellite radio feed. Drivers of the Focus Electric can ignore the fuel prices screen.
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24 of 25 Screenshot by Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The associated smartphone app lets drivers schedule recharging and shows the charge status.
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25 of 25 Screenshot by Wayne Cunningham/CNET
The app also includes a map of nearby charging stations.

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