2012 Ford Focus Electric To Do Cross-Country Road Trip

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Men's Health 2012 Ford Focus Electric, to be driven from New York to Los Angeles, April 2012

Men's Health 2012 Ford Focus Electric, to be driven from New York to Los Angeles, April 2012

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The big worry for battery electric cars is range anxiety, so what better way to shake up that thinking than by driving one cross-country?

That's the idea behind a growing list of long-distance electric-car publicity stunts, and the latest car to join the parade is a 2012 Ford Focus Electric.

Under the aegis of Men's Health magazine, a team of drivers will take the electric Focus from the New York Auto Show to Los Angeles, recharging 40 to 55 times along the way.

Their route will pass through Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, mostly along secondary roads to make best use of battery energy.

While the drivers will use public and commercial charging stations, they'll also crowd-source the reinvented road trip, asking readers and supporters to offer 240-Volt, 40-amp outlets at which they can spend two to four hours recharging the car's 23-kilowatt-hour battery pack.

Because the 2012 Focus Electric has a 6.6-kilowatt onboard charger--double the capacity of those in the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt--it only takes about half as long to charge the battery with a given amount of energy.

Men's Health 2012 Ford Focus Electric & Ford F-150 support vehicle for NY-LA drive, April 2012

Men's Health 2012 Ford Focus Electric & Ford F-150 support vehicle for NY-LA drive, April 2012

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Being Men's Health, the team will also participate in "engaged adventures, exercise and fitness challenges, culinary pursuits, environmental missions, and more" while the car is charging.

(Sounds exhausting; we like to read while recharging. But that's just us.)

Drivers will include senior editor Eric Adams, X-Games winner Tanner Foust, IndyCar and American LeMans racer Martin Plowman, and retired Navy Seal commander Coleman Ruiz.

The 2012 Electric Car Challenge raises money for Carry the Load, a foundation that supports the families of U.S. soldiers who’ve been killed in combat.

At various points along the route, other drivers will include Men’s Health columnist Naomi Piercey, Miss Indiana 2009 Nicole Pollard, and Katie Cwynar, a spokesmodel for Carry The Load.

2012 Ford Focus Electric launch, New York City, January 2011 - charging point

2012 Ford Focus Electric launch, New York City, January 2011 - charging point

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The Focus Electric will leave Manhattan on April 11, and the team hopes to arrive in LA on Earth Day, April 22.

It will be followed by a Ford F-150 pickup truck support vehicle, but the team assures us that its carbon emissions will be offset.

Among other tasks, it will transport drivers ahead of the Focus Electric to ensure that all drivers are properly rested before they take their turn at the wheel.

You can follow the team's progress on Twitter and on the Men's Health website.


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Comments (8)
  1. Interesting excerise (pun intended). I suspect that the real reason for selecting secondary roads is to maximize public exposure in a more EV friendly environment. Who is going to notice them buzzing along I40 other then a few cows.

  2. I'm not so sure that "40 to 55 recharges" will invoke the proper
    response from an unknowing public. Ford might want to rethink the "coast-to-coast" business. I can hear the jokes now....

  3. Why wouldn't they pre-install chargers at Ford dealers along the route and use the charge time to showcase the car there?

  4. Because that would make too much sense; Ford, just like GM, has no intentions of providing you with an affordable functioning electric car. I was holding out for the Focus Electric, but I don't think so now. It is even more ugly than the Leaf. It looks like it may be the VW eBeetle that gets my money.

  5. This road trip is a precursor to a future cross country EV road race. While taking a leisurely week and a half to drive from NY to LA may seem odd to some people, it will undoubtably be a lot more fun than toiling along quickly on an interstate highway. I've made a cross country drive several times and every time took about ten days to enjoy excursions such as national and state parks along the way. I see this as exactly the same thing, with some extra stops for charging.

  6. i take it the F 150 will be carrying the charger then?

  7. If you want to minimize the perception of "range anxiety", you don't go coast-to-coast in an electric car and take 2 weeks to do it. You simply interview the 15K+ owners of EVs that successfully get to and from work every day, and recharge at night No panoramic shots of sweeping vistas in the background on my commute, but I also don't have an F-150 with a diesel generator following me around.

  8. This PR stunt is not bad but I still think Ford is not doing enough to market their Ford Focus electric. Why else have the sales but so horrible. That is just my thought.

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