What a dramatic change from test mule 3 years ago to production vehicle today. I’ve seriously added it to my short list of want cars. Want? Yup, cars that I truly can justify owning but more about that in a bit.
What do you get with the 2012 Focus Electric? Quite a bit actually. You get a fully equipped Focus with an electric drive train. No gas required. Ever. It meets California’s tough zero emissions standards for point of operation (yeah…never mind its charge comes from a dirty coal plant out in the desert) but even that can be offset if you opt for the solar home charging kit available through select Ford dealers.
Driving This car drives like, well a car, no hesitation, hit the pedal and it moves. Actually it takes off better than the standard Focus with its direct shift automatic if you can believe that as the torque is instantly available. There is no waiting for a “downshift” or build for power either as torque is always there. The electric motor standard in the Focus electric is a silent sweet unit putting out 143hp with 184ft/lbs torque. The key to its performance is that the torque is instantly available across the rpm range not that you have to “build speed” as in a gasser. The end result is performance as good as the gasser .
Handling. What can I say, it reminds me of a slot car. The added weight of the battery pack distributed with a bias to the rear yields a more neutral balance to the car. Though the test route they had us on didn’t really give us the opportunity to test the full capability to the car, the seat of the pants feel is that it is more neutral and less wanting to scrub the front than the traditional focus, which in itself is a pretty neutral front driver.
Interior Room. This is after all a Ford Focus, Ford’s entry in the “C” class and you get a nicely equipped, reasonably roomy and comfy front cabin. The rear does leave a little to be desired in terms of leg room, but that is a problem for the class…keep it to kids or under 6 foot and you won’t have a complaint.
Quiet That is the key to the ride and awesomeness of this car. Not that the regular Focus, especially in its Titanium trim, is noisy, but the removal of the gas engine and subbing in of a silent electric motor makes a world of difference in your driving experience. The chassis is so well isolated you don’t even get tire noise within the cabin under 50 mph. Somewhere around 45 you do get a slight whistle sound of the fan cooling the battery back off, but even that is unnoticed if the radio is on low.
I’ve gushed enough about the car and its goodness. A few niggles if there are really any. The car at this price point deserves to have 6 way power seats as the driving postion is a bit too upright for my tastes. I like a bit more recline and front lift for thigh support. The MyFordTouch was upgraded in this car and it is much faster and intuitive than before, but could we please really have simple climate control and radio buttons for fast on the fly adjustments so one doesn’t have to go through the menus? Could just be me being tired and crotchety but sometimes simple has its place.
Making a case for the Focus Electric. Trust me, I’ve already had the conversation with the lovely Mrs and Advantage Ford will soon enough be visited by me. I’ve done most of the math and visited Fords handy configurator, I’ve checked the EPA’s facts on effeciency and am pretty comfortable with trading in my old Taurus for a Focus EV. The tax credits are huge, 7.5K from the Feds and another 2.5K from the State are enough to almost make it work. Almost, the big problem is finding space for a charger and a car in the garage!
All pics by me at the Ford Go Further Event held in Carson CA this week.