Ford debuts all-electric car

For the first time outside of a major auto show, Ford has introduced a new car, the Focus Electric

Ford Motor Company debuted its first all-electric vehicle, the Focus Electric, at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show Friday. It is one of five new electrified vehicles that will be available in North America and Europe by 2013.

To see a video report of the Ford Focus Electric, visit YouTube.

The announcement is particularly significant because it's the first time that the company has announced a car outside of a major auto show.

Ford was vague on the Focus' performance specifications. "It's a bit early to talk about the powertrain, but certainly the range will be competitive with other battery electric vehicles," said Derrick Kuzak, vice president of product development at Ford.

To benchmark, the Nissan Leaf, also an electric vehicle, has a range of 100 miles and top speed of about 90 miles per hour. The Focus' top speed is 84 miles per hour.

Kuzak said that the Focus electric will recharge in about three to four hours, which according to him is about half the time of competitors.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally said that some challenges to overcome in the future will be cost and charging infrastructure.

"The cost of batteries for the all electrics and the size and the charging requirements are going to be relatively limited for the near term until we get the infrastructure in place and we get more capable and more cost effective batteries.

To help with the charging infrastructure, Ford has partnered with Best Buy and Leviton to install home charging stations, costing about US$1,500 each.

"The home charging station will be 220 volts and allows the three- to four-hour charge time and also provides value charging," Kuzak said. Value charging means that the unit will charge the car when energy prices are the lowest. Kuzak said its designed to provide the best cost of ownership for customers.

The car is powered by a lithium-ion battery system made by Ford and LG Chem. The system uses heated and cooled liquid to maximize battery life. For example, on cold days, a heated liquid will warm the batteries and bring them to a temperature that can efficiently accept a charge and provide enough power for expected vehicle performance.

Ford wouldn't say how much the Focus Electric would cost, but for comparison the Nissan Leaf costs about $32,000.

Mulally thinks that electric is only the beginning for alternatively fueled cars saying, "I think overtime we'll even see more hydrogen vehicles."

Ford admits that electric cars aren't for everyone though.

"Customers who choose an electric vehicle at this point are really making a statement," Kuzak said. "They're making a statement about their environmental sensitivity, their energy independence and we'd like to support them."

The Ford Focus Electric will be available in late 2011.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at Nick_Barber@idg.com and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags green ITgreenindustry verticalsCESAutomotiveCES 2011Ford Motor Company

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nick Barber

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?