Is the world finally ready to embrace the electric car? Well Ford is certainly betting on it with their all new Ford Focus Electric. This isn’t some toy electric car that will just barely make it around the corner. Ford has designed the 2012 Ford Focus Electric to bid adieu to gasoline and hello to 73 miles on a single charge. The Ford Focus Electric takes the meaning of ‘green’ to a whole new level.
We got a chance to take the Focus Electric for a spin and if we weren’t told this was a completely electric car, we would have never guessed it. The exteriors and interiors of the Focus Electric give no impression that this automobile lacks in gas. As with most cars these days, there are no physical keys to start the car, just a Key Fob and a push of an ignition button is all that is required to get started on the road. As a matter of fact, the car was so silent when I started it up, that I kept shutting it off and on when I pressed the ignition button because I couldn’t hear the engine revving up.
Once the Focus Electric started up, it was time to see if this car could truly stack up against its fuel guzzling counterparts. The SmartGauge with EcoGuide provides drivers with real-time information as you make your way around town. It also keeps you in check when you decide to raise the heat or turn the radio up, giving you a whole new perspective on conserving energy. Because you have to keep in mind that with every little thing you do in your car, it is draining the charge in some way, even if it it seems minimal. We were told that heat actually does eat up a big amount of your electric charge while cool air doesn’t drain the battery as much. Braking does charge the battery if you go past 10mph and then come to a complete stop. So you can expect to see your SmartGauge change to show that the battery is being charged briefly while at a red light perhaps.
The interior of the car features a lit visor with mirror for the ladies to check their makeup and hair, Microsoft SYNC, HD Radio with a resistive touchscreen, a voice-activated Navigation system, and built in USB ports and a 12 volt charger for your gadgets. The seats are comfortable and should conform to all body types. And lets not forget the upcoming MyFord Mobile app which will sync with the car to give you updates on its battery life, let you know of nearby charging stations, and more.
Driving the Focus Electric is so smooth, and silent, that it almost seems almost surreal. There is no choking when it comes to quick turns or lack of pick-up when the light turns from red to green. It operates as any other car on any given day. However, one issue I have are the regenerative brakes, it takes some getting used to because if you press on them too hard, you’ll be making repeated short stops much to the dismay of your passengers. You also become completely engaged with looking at how many more miles you have left to go before needing a new charge. For me, it became some weird adrenaline rush knowing that I only had a certain number of miles to go before the car became completely drained of power.
Sadly, I was not at all that impressed with the audio system in the Ford Focus Electric either. While the HD Radio offers a lot of options to drivers and passengers for channels etc… it is surely lost on the quality of speakers that are in the car. Obviously this flaw is due in part to the need to conserve energy, but still, why have a sleek interface without the speakers to back it up.
All in all, the Ford Focus Electric will get you to the store and then some. It handles beautifully as if you are floating on air. It tops out at 84 mph, just enough speed to show those gas guzzling chumps your electric chops, and at a horsepower of 141 hp/105 kw and a torque of 188 ib.-ft/255 Nm this isn’t some shabby wannabe. Unfortunately, the Ford Focus Electric may only get you about 70 miles before needing another charge, but with more charging stations popping up around the country, you’ll be contributing to the health of the earth for future generations to come. The Ford Focus Electric starts at a MSRP of $39,200.