2012 Ford Focus Electric: 105 MPGe, 76-Mile Range...10 Sales

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2012 Ford Focus Electric

2012 Ford Focus Electric

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It's the first battery-electric car from a global automaker, a compact hatchback eagerly awaited for years and touted by some as a revolutionary vehicle that will change the way we drive forever.

It's not the Nissan Leaf.

It is, instead, the 2012 Ford Focus Electric, which earned a higher efficiency rating (105 MPGe combined) and a longer electric range (76 miles) from the EPA than the 2012 Leaf.

It went on sale three months ago, and given its ratings, you might expect them to be flying out of the dealerships--or at least selling a fraction of what the Leaf does.

No such luck.

Instead, despite its class-topping ratings, a total of precisely 10 Focus Electrics were sold in December, January, and February: 7 of the cars squeaked into December sales, then 3 in January, but none at all were delivered last month.

By comparison, after the first three months of sales, buyers had snapped up 173 Nissan Leaf battery electric cars--and a relatively whopping 928 Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric cars.

Lithium-ion battery pack installation in 2012 Ford Focus Electric at Wayne Assembly Plant

Lithium-ion battery pack installation in 2012 Ford Focus Electric at Wayne Assembly Plant

Enlarge Photo

Worse yet, three weeks ago, the retail launch of the car--first scheduled for March, then for sometime in April or May--was pushed back to September, except for deliveries in California and New York.

So while the Focus Electric website still offers buyers the opportunity to place a reservation for the $39,995 car, it doesn't appear that most buyers will take delivery any time soon.

In December, Ford did a PR tour of the Wayne Assembly Plant where the Focus Electric is built on the same line as every other Ford Focus model. Regrettably, the company wasn't actually building Focus Electrics the day journalists visited.

And Ford has declined to say exactly how many Focus Electrics it has built since the start of production.

The latest company release, dated March 2, says only: Ford will ramp up Focus Electric retail production in the first half of 2012 for dealership availability in California, New York and New Jersey. By the end of 2012, Focus Electric will be available in 19 markets across the U.S.

So what's going on here?

We reached out to Ford for comment but, at the time this article was published, we had not received responses to several messages and e-mails. We'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, we're beginning to wonder if the 2012 Ford Focus Electric should be considered the best production electric car that no one can buy.

If you've seen a Focus Electric at your Ford dealer, please leave us a note in the Comments below.


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Comments (43)
  1. Might also be the best looking electric car that no one can buy.

  2. From the wild speculation department: Either Ford has some issue they have hit and are working through, or they are rethinking whether a BEV is a path they want to committ to. Why else would you push your launch back one year? To give Nissan et al more time to establish themselves in the BEV segment? Like Madonna... I am wanting, needing, waiting for Ford to justify my love.

    So what say you John... is Ford working through an issue?

  3. I really wanted a Focus electric back when they were announced. Unfortunately, they now cost $40K, instead of the $30K that Ford originally projected. If Ford wants to get into the EV business, they are going to have to get real with the price and compete with the Leaf. If they wait until the BMW i3 comes out next year for $35K, they will be toast. Audi, Hyundai and Volkswagen won't be far behind.

    There is a reason why millions of Focus and Cruz models are selling, while the Volt and Focus EVs aren't. The EV version costs twice as much as the similar combustion version. Until this price gap shrinks considerably, EVs are going to be a tough sell.

  4. I'll believe a $35K BMW EV when I see it.

  5. So, we are going to be going through the same old stupid crap with Ford that we went through with GM; how pathetic. I don't know which one is the most disappointing, Ford or GM.

  6. Look, it's thousands more than the Leaf -- a car that is not at all cheap to begin with.

    Why >would< anyone buy it? I mean, it's good looking, it charges a bit faster (irrelevant to most people) and it's "American". None of that justifies paying thousands more.

  7. The two Ford Fusion Hybrids that I had (both bought back by Ford as lemons) had issues with the programming in electronic control modules. Maybe the new Focus is suffering from something similar?

  8. My speculation.

    They got very few orders. This forced an executive review who ordered some design changes to make FFE saleable.

    Or may be I'm just day dreaming.

  9. the bottom line is that we continue to have more car companies presenting their ev. this is only good news.

    prices will adjust just as with any other commodity.

  10. It's a wonderful car to drive. It's loaded. It's darn good looking. I'm in for one, even though it's not the best deal. I wish it were sooner, but it will be worth the wait. I'm OK with the range. The 6 kW charger is a big advantage over the Leaf. Most places I go already have charging stations installed, so every time I get into the car it will have a full charge.

  11. I think Ford really screwed the pooch on the Focus Electric based on pricing. As others have noted, it's nearly twice the price of a comparable Focus with pretty good gas mileage AND features. Add to it, probably production issues (the Ford Sync electronics, which is a BIG part of the Focus Electric, has been buggy for REGULAR Fords) which delayed delivery to barely a handful of cars so far. And by missing the delivery in New York for the winter months, Ford's LOSING the opportunity to learn how the Ford EV will perform in cold weather. Meanwhile competitors such as Nissan (and possibly GM) will have version 2 (or at least 1.5) of their EV out by September, while Ford has only version 1 of the Focus EV.

  12. Ford is making the same mistake as many other OEM's: They are building an expensive conversion.
    I expect more from a real EV like the Renault Zoe.

  13. the biggest deterrent is price. it more than likely helps them keep the price down. so they can put the most dollars possible into the utility of the ev.

  14. It is not a mistake, Ford has no intention of spending $B on EVs, they are just doing the minimal, by marketing conversions by Azure and Magna to get some green credit. Their strategy is to wait until the market matures and take advantage of other companies expertise/research. They are happy to sell only enough to keep CARB happy in California while appearing to be promoting EVs themselves.

  15. Then pebatterirhaps you'd better look at the details for the Zoe, which at almost $30k (USD) doesn't include the battery, which costs $110/month more, or $6,600 for five years. And that is for only 6k miles annually, which is a joke in N. America.

    Building on an EV-specific platform will cost far more, not less. That's whyy OEM's badge engineer. taking huge volumes out of production is a cost-increasing scenario, usually.

    I like the Zoe, but it's no cheaper in the end.

  16. So Nissan and Mitsubishi are not global car manufacturers???
    Well, compared to what Nissan and Chevrolet did, Ford is mute. No communication, no sales. And 40.000 USD is very heavy.

  17. Where in the article does it say they are not? All it says is that Ford is a global car manufacturer. See my post about Ford's non-commitment.

  18. Ford is supposed to have a better Idea, but how can taking out all those moving parts double the price. If you figure $1200 a year for gas, 10 years of gasoline driving isn't even going to come close to the price differential. REALLY FORD? Quit being a Nimrod and start being American. People need to get too work, Literally

  19. I am surprised that Ford didn't provide you any explanation for the current level of sales. I thought they were the gurus of American automotive marketing. I really, really hope they are just production limited, as the Chevy Volt was, but even Chevy kicked out more in the first month, than Ford has overall.

    Could it be that there is a very strong correlation between those who want to drive purely green, and those who want to be SEEN driving purely green, and that the Focus EV looks too typical of ICE vehicles to garner the attention they crave? Chevy Volts both look and function pragmatically, so there is better alignment of utility and looks, so perhaps that has broader market appeal than environmental statement / styling?

  20. How could they sell even 10 prior to the EPA "certification" that just came out a couple of weeks ago?

  21. I've been giving a lot of thought to whether current Focus/Leaf range is adequate for me. Here's why I'm afraid it isn't. An EPA rating in the mid-70s is really about 50 when you consider you should only charge to 80% and you're not going to drain it to the last electron as you roll into the garage (for battery health or mental health) -- and that's when it's new. Adjust down for climate control and age and it's just not adequate for a big metro area like Atlanta.
    I think my EV will need: an EPA rating of at least 125; wireless charging at the faster level 2 rate; level 3 capability; heated steering wheel; unobstructed hatch

  22. And with the Fed $7500 credit and the Georgia $5000 credit, a $40,000 MSRP for a BEV with those specs would work for me.

  23. You need a heated steeling wheel in ATLANTA?

  24. "Steeling wheel" ? Well maybe if it was "stealing wheel" it would automatically be "hot" :)

  25. There is real winter in ATL -- teens!

  26. I agree with your points. Except I would not pay the extra $thousands for wireless charging, I have no problem with a few seconds with an extension cord.

  27. My idea is that it wouldn't cost a lot more ;-) One of my concerns is getting yuck on my work clothes. I have a carport, so the cable will probably get a little dirty.

  28. There are more comments in this thread
  29. There are a number of companies that have so far invested a bit of design work and a lot of press releases in their electric car line. Of course, that is a prelude to a few BILLION more in investment.

    Along the way, do you believe that the sales numbers of the early to market pioneers, Volt and Leaf, will entirely escape them?

    Might they then employ a bit of a cautious hedge? Hmmm... maybe ours will be more available LAAAATTTTEEEERRRR in the year....or......next.....or.......

    Or should they prance right in to plunk down THEIR Billion dollar bet to be sure and not miss the bloodbath?

  30. Quit making sense here, Jack. Every OEM should lose billions by building far more EVs than the current market will allow to be sold. But people prefer to whine endlessly about how GM/Ford (never Toyota or Honda, nor Daimler or BMW) should make more and more EVs, even when they're not selling now. And they should sell at $25k-$30k because, well, just because "I think they should" seems to lead the reasons.

    Learn from low volumes, let the market develop and stop expecting OEMs to do the impossible and sell for $30k or less today what costs far more than that today to make.

    Thanks for the not-so-common sense, Jack.

  31. I too was excited about the Focus EV until the price was set @ $40,000 Yes, first generation products are very expesive. It was not so many years ago that flat screen TV's sold for close to $10,000! I frankly do not understand how an EV with very few mechanical parts costs more than an ICE version of the same car which has hundreds of mechanical parts requiring frequent maintenance. With the price of gasoline reaching $5/gallon-this will reverse this trend. Soon EV's will be the economy car and the ICE version will be more expensive. I see the next generation EV's with greater range and less expensive to produce/purchase. All it takes is demand from the consumer....Ford, create this demand by pricing the car so that anyone can afFORD one

  32. One word: battery.

  33. Battery, Battery, Battery. And the development of entirely new components (motor, etc) which are not yet high volume.

  34. Don, since you've asked the exact same question repeatedly here and clearly don't understand the answer, I'll try.

    There is zero reason to believe an EV will be cheaper than an ICE any time soon. Saving a little on a few pumps and oil changes doesn't even come close to replacing the extra cost for the batteries alone. Add in the fact that in many cases, components used on the EVs are sold to the OEM in very small quantities, driving up the average cost of even basic components.

    The extra cost associated with EVs far outweighs the minor savings elsewhere, which every single release then confirms.

    Simply pretending that EVs should cost less than vehicles with ICEs won't make it so. We're still far from that point.

  35. $5000 more than it's competition, no fast charging, not available at any dealership today -not even for a test drive.

    Is this any real wonder why the Focus EV hasn't sold more cars?

    If anything the Focus and the Prius PHEV are testaments to Nissan's work. Only the Mits i has managed to beat the Leaf's price, but had to shave 10 miles off the range.

  36. Ford is just not serious about EVs. They have signed several agreements with outside companies for conversions. It has been Azure and Magna who have put all the research, development and dollars into the Ford EVs and Ford has been smart enough to take advantage of that. But Ford hasn't taken any real risk, and simply passes on the extra expense to the customer.

    Besides price, the other main drawback is the near non-existent trunk space. People who buy hatchbacks also want utility.

  37. I'd like to say one positive think for Ford, their Focus EV is quite efficient which speaks well of their technical ability. At 105 MPGe they are better than the LEAF and much better than the Volt.

    As for most of the other negative comments, I agree with a lot of it.

  38. I was at the Quebec City Auto show today. I went to Ford's stand. I found one Focus EV «hidden» behind 3 or 4 ICE Focus. The doors of the Focus EV were LOCKED! I asked a Ford rep how come it was locked ... she said that it was a hand made prototype!!

    She told me that the Focus EV will be available in Canada by June at 42 000$. I think that I'm skeptical ...


  39. Is this the same car that was on the JAY LENO show, racing around a track with movie stars behind the wheel?

  40. @Joe: Was that was the orange one, as shown in this article?

    If so, then no--this is the production version using the new Focus built in the U.S. That orange prototype used the previous European Focus, which we never got in the States.

    Hope this helps.

  41. Ford's website says it's coming Spring of 2012. It is still labeled as a "future" vehicle.

    This may be why no one can get it yet.

  42. HIgh cost is the holdup. It's a nice looking car and has a performance advantage over others. But the US is slowly coming out of a depression and the common folk are tapped out of savings. Ford has to keep plugging away as electric cars are not going away and given the record heat wave this winter we may be having to get rid of oil burners sooner than we think.

  43. I'd love to test drive one and see how it feels. It'd work for me but I already drive a Volt. Range will be an issue in getting these to sell, but it's truly a few steps forward and a hell of a great looking car. Personally, if they put a generator in it, I think I'd convince my wife to swap her TDI.

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