Home2011 Detroit Auto Show
Consumer Reports auto experts report from the 2011 North American Auto Show in Detroit.
Ford Focus Electric
What is it? Ford chose the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to debut the upcoming Ford Focus electric, but the vehicle also made an appearance in Detroit. The car is a five-door hatchback that promises enough range to meet the daily driving needs of most Americans. Of course, the magic number that concerns all potential electric car buyers is how many miles you can get from a fully charged car. Ford has not yet announced that figure. The all-electric powertrain, with its single-speed transmission, provides a claimed 84-mph top speed.

Like Leaf and Volt, the Focus Electric can be charged using a 240-volt Level 2 charge station that is sold separately through Best Buy, or via the 120-volt cord that comes with the vehicle. Charge times on 120-volt power were not released. Ford recommends using the 240-volt charger. The estimated cost to fully charge vehicle: $2 to $3 (based on nationwide average cost on $0.10 per kWh).

In addition to an enhanced MyFord Touch system that displays information such as battery charge state, distance to nearest charge point, and expected range, the system includes a gimmicky SmartGauge that displays surplus range in the form of blue butterflies. The more butterflies that are displayed, the more range available. The navigation system will offer guidance to help drivers achieve their desired range or adjust their travel plans in order to recharge the car.

Ford also developed a new mobile application, called MyFord Mobile, to allow smart phone users to get updates on the vehicle, monitor the state of charge, and get alerts when the car is done charging. (Read: MyFord Mobile eases electric Focus range anxiety, adds conveniences.)

When will it be available? End of 2011.

Consumer Reports New cars: A to Z

Back to main page