Ford Plugs Focus Electric in SD Stop of Fuel-Efficiency Road Trip
There are about 25 million cars registered in California, and probably about 2 million of those are motoring around the roads of San Diego County. So it was statistically insignificant when I stepped out of the San Diego Automotive Museum today and counted at least six all-electric vehicles bathed in Southern California sunshine at the Pan American Plaza of Balboa Park.
It still seemed like a wondrous moment—think of your grandfather watching his first biplane. And the numbers are slowly improving, so perhaps some day, you too will see one of these zero-emission, gasoline-free autos with your own eyes.
Nissan began selling its all-electric Leaf in San Diego almost exactly a year ago. There were a couple of those in the parking lot. Last month, Texas-based Car2Go introduced 300 electric versions of the smart micro car in San Diego—and there were several of those in the lot too.
Now the Ford Motor Co. is coming to town with its new 2012 Focus Electric—a standard Focus body and frame that has been refitted with a lithium-ion battery pack and all-electric drive. Ford bills the Focus Electric as the first five-passenger electric vehicle (which is true if one of your passengers is a dog) that is expected to achieve a 100 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) fuel-efficiency rating.
Ford announced yesterday that its Michigan Assembly Plant began production of the 2012 Focus Electric. And today Dan Kapp, Ford’s director of power train research and advanced engineering, came to the automotive museum to tell the media that the first Focus Electrics are expected to arrive in California by March. In San Diego, the first Focus Electric is expected to plug-in by mid-February.
The price? If you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it. Kapp says the sticker price for the Focus Electric will be $39,200, although a federal tax rebate could reduce that by as much as $7,500. Buyers will have to pay an additional $1,500, however, for the 240-volt Ford/Leviton EV charger—which is supposed to charge the Focus Electric in half the time it takes to fully charge a Nissan Leaf.
As we reported in May, Ford has long viewed California and the West Coast as a key market for its all-electric innovations. Early adoption could be problematic, though, when a Focus costs as much as an entry-level BMW 3-Series or Audi A4.
Kapp is a headliner on Ford’s “Power of Choice” fuel-efficiency road tour. He was here to highlight Ford’s latest selling point—that several vehicles in its new product lineup are fuel-efficient. So consumers have the choice of driving a monster Ford Explorer with an “EcoBoost” engine, a 40 mpg-rated Ford Fiesta, a Fusion hybrid electric vehicle, and the all-electric Transit Connect delivery vehicle.
Ford says, “nearly one-third of Ford’s vehicle lines will feature a model with 40 mpg or more in 2012.” That doesn’t seem like a tidal wave of change, but hey, the odds are improving.