EPA rates Ford Focus Electric
We know that this has been out there a couple of days now, but since there is no other news of significance, we will talk a little bit about the Ford Focus Electric. According to Ford, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has rated the 2012 Ford Focus Electric with a combined 105 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe), slightly better than LEAF (99 MPGe) but less than the Mitsubishi i (112 MPGe). We say according to Ford, because as of today, there is still no sign of the Focus Electric showing up on fueleconomy.gov. No matter – we are sure that Ford has their numbers right.
What does this mean? It means that there are now several vehicles to choose from if one wishes to go full electric. Well – almost. The Focus Electric will be available initially only in California or New York. Ford says that the Focus Electric will be available in 19 markets in the U.S. by the end of the year. And in California and New York, they are still just in the reservation stage.
One advantage that the Ford offers over the LEAF is that the onboard charger is a 6.6 kilowatt unit as opposed to the 3.3 kilowatt unit in the LEAF. What that means is that the Ford’s 23 kilowatt hour battery will charge in roughly half the time of the LEAF battery. Nissan is looking to change the LEAF unit to 6.6 kilowatts probably to coincide with the start of production of the 2013 LEAF in Smyrna, Tennessee at the end of the year. Our thought on this is that it is not generally a big deal. If one needs to travel beyond the range of a fully charged battery, taking four hours to charge a fully depleted battery versus eight hours is still impractical. While DC fast charge stations are not yet generally in place, this will allow those longer trips when they do become available. And daily charging takes place at midnight on a charger, so if it takes six hours versus three hours, who cares? The Ford currently offers no DC fast charge port – the LEAF does. In our book, this is a worthwhile option to have.
One relatively significant difference between the Nissan and the Ford though is price. LEAF starts at $35,200. Focus Electric starts at $39,200. What the Ford brings to the table is another alternative. Mitsubishi i offers the lowest price point ($29,125) but seating only for four and fewer accoutrements. Ford offers a bigger on board charger and a sleeker look, but a higher entry price than the LEAF. The way we see it, choice is a good thing.