It’s been nearly a year since Ford announced official class-leading EPA certification for the Focus Electric, and last month while visiting the automaker I found myself getting a few moments behind the wheel of the EV at the Dearborn, Michigan test facility.
Zipping around the track on a frozen morning just outside Detroit, I found the Focus Electric to exhibit surprisingly good acceleration with driving characteristics remaining close to my impressions in a comparable gas model a while back. Acceleration is instant thanks to the qualities of the electric motors, while braking takes a little getting used to as the regenerative characteristics cause quicker and more forceful application of the stopping power in hybrids and electrics.
What is quite different is that thanks to the silent operation of the EV powertrain, one gets to notice any little rattles or squeaks from the vehicle, although the only ones I discovered in my test model were coming from my smartphone banging around in the cupholder.
The official EPA rating for the new Focus Electric boasts a 110 miles per gallon equivalent in the city with a 99 MPGe on the highway for a combined rating of 105, pinning Ford’s EV at the top of the list last year. This year however Focus Electric falls to No. 6 ahead of the Tesla sedan but behind newcomers from Scion, Honda, Fiat, Mitsubishi and smart. Nonetheless, the Ford offers some of the best interior space and driving comfort of the group (with only the Honda Fit EV giving it a run for its money out of this batch of top contenders), and the Focus offering seating for up to five.
The Ford Focus Electric is rated for 76 miles on a single charge with a total recharge time of only four hours using a 240-volt charger; utilizing the value charging function in the MyFord Mobile app, owners can opt to charge their vehicles during times when utility rates are at their cheapest. On the road, drivers can find charging stations via the PlugShare.com
The Focus Electric was Ford’s first fully electric passenger car, and product information online at the automaker’s website does not list a 2013 model, just the 2012. Pricing was listed as starting at $39,200 with significant rebates and incentives offered to buyers of electrified vehicles.
The Ford Focus Electric is nearly identical to its gas siblings, save for the “fuel” door being moved to the front left fender and replacing the filler neck with a charge port. Opening the hood reveals an electric motor that is rated at 143hp and 184 lb. ft. of torque and capable of a top speed of 84 mph. The Lithium-Ion battery pack is mounted beneath the rear cargo floor. It can be recharged using both 120V and 240V power sources.