The Ford Focus Electric made waves during the first week of March as it was named the most fuel efficient 5 passenger car in the entire country. Until now, the Nissan Leaf was supposed to be the picture of the future in terms of electric powered vehicles, but Ford has become major competition, at least from a numbers standpoint. The EPA certified the Focus Electric with 110 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) in the city and a combined 105 MPGe.
In terms of performance metrics, the Focus Electric wins is pretty much every category. First, the MPGe is 6 better than the Leaf. Additionally, it has more power, space, and better standard features. One overlooked bonus is that the Focus Electric can be fully charged 50% faster than the Nissan Leaf, which means a recharge time of about 3 to 4 hours. This is even more impressive because of the more powerful 92 kilowatt electric drive motor and 23kWh lithium-ion battery pack. As an added bonus, Ford has developed an app which will allow you to remotely monitor the charging functions. Plus, Ford is currently partnering with Best Buy to provide an easy to use home charging station.
Another improvement that the Ford Focus Electric offers is superior range. It has a range of about 76 miles per charge for the average driver, but this can be extended to 100 miles with optimal driving practices. This may not sound like much, but keep in mind that they average person will drive less than 30 miles during their daily commute. As long as you charge your car every night (or every other night depending on your driving habits) then you should rarely, if ever, have a problem.
Is the Ford Focus Electric worth the Investment?
The big question that many people have been asking is whether or not this car is really worth the investment. These types of technologies have become notorious for high prices and questionable long term savings. The Ford Focus Electric is sporting a price tag of $39,995 and will likely qualify for the government rebate of more than $7,000. Additionally, at current prices, it will save drivers nearly $10,000 in fuel costs over the first five years of ownership. Keep in mind that this assuming that there will not be any spikes in gas prices, which is always looking unlikely as the gas market remains volatile. As a result, these savings could easily be much greater.
Are People Buying In?
With all of these advantages, you might be wondering whether or not the Ford Focus Electric has caught on. Surprisingly, the answer is a resounding NO. It was first introduced in December of 2011 and it sold only 7 units nationwide. Over the next 2 months, only 3 additional units were sold. During the first 3 months of the Nissan Leaf, they sold nearly 175 units. To make matters worse, the retail launch has been pushed back from March to September, aside from scheduled deliveries to New York and California. Once it is released, it will likely only hit 19 markets across the country.
With so many advantages over the Nissan Leaf, why aren't people buying in? That is question that may not be answered until well down the line. There is also a high likelihood that the release of the highly touted 2013 Ford Fusion hybrid will likely help establish the Ford brand in the car market, where it has historically struggled in the smaller car segments.