Ford unveils the all-electric Focus

Ford launches the Focus Electric at CES 2011.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
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 Focus Electric
Alan Mulally shows enthusiasm for the Focus Electric by kissing the hood. James Martin/CNET

Ford Focus Electric (photos)

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LAS VEGAS--Ford chose CES 2011 as the venue to introduce its all-electric Focus. The car, based on the 2012 Focus model being introduced this year, is actually Ford's second electric vehicle, as it has already begun delivering electric versions of its Transit Connect utility vehicle.

Ford has been reluctant to state a range figure for the electric Focus, as it is still undergoing EPA testing, but a spokesman told us it would go up to 100 miles. The car uses a 23 kilowatt-hour liquid cooled lithium-ion battery pack and has a top speed of 84 mph.

What differentiates it from other electric cars on or coming to market is that recharge time from empty to full should take from 3 to 4 hours when plugged into a 240 volt source, half the charge time of the Nissan Leaf. Ford achieved this figure by including a more robust onboard charger.

Ford will also make available a 240 volt charging station, with installation through Best Buy. This station is designed with two components, one hard-wired bracket and the charging unit, which plugs into the bracket. This arrangement allows flexibility, letting the Focus Electric owner take the charging unit to a new garage, only needing to purchase a new bracket.

Along with a version of Ford's MyFord Touch dashboard interface designed specifically for electric vehicles, there is also an app called MyFord Mobile that lets owners set charging times and remotely unlock the doors, among other functions. The dashboard includes a screen that shows an increasing amount of butterflies as the car is driven more efficiently, much like the tree display in the Nissan Leaf.

The Ford Focus Electric becomes available in November of 2011, where it will compete with the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi iMiev.