Sun, Jan 09, 2011 - Page 11 News List

Electric version of Ford Focus to hit the streets

AP, DETROIT

Ford Motor Co said on Friday that an electric version of its Ford Focus sedan will go on sale in North America by the end of this year.

Ford introduced the electric Focus at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The car is expected to go up to 160km on an electric charge.

The automaker says the Focus can be fully charged in three to four hours using a 240-volt outlet. That’s half the time it takes to charge the Nissan Leaf, a competitor that went on sale last month.

Ford also said its fuel efficiency numbers will be competitive with the Leaf.

Late last year, the US Environmental Protection Agency estimated the Leaf would get the equivalent of 45km per liter in city driving and 39km per liter on the highway. The EPA determined the figures by estimating it will cost US$561 per year in electricity to charge the car.

Ford said the Focus will have a unique, Microsoft-designed powering feature that will charge the vehicle during off-peak hours, when utility rates are cheapest, to save on electric bills. It also has a touchscreen with information such as the amount of charge left, the distance to the next charging station and the amount of gasoline saved.

Pricing wasn’t announced. The Leaf starts at US$32,780, but it is eligible for a US$7,500 federal tax credit that drops the price to US$25,780.

The electric Focus will be Ford’s first electric car on the market. The Chevrolet Volt, an electric car with a small gas engine that takes over if the charge runs out, is the only other electric car on sale in the US right now, but other firms are planning to introduce electrics soon.

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