2014 Ford Focus Electric: No Updates, No Love For Ford's Electric Orphan

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2012 Ford Focus Electric, New York City, April 2012

2012 Ford Focus Electric, New York City, April 2012

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Rarely has any carmaker launched a car as obviously unloved as the Ford Focus Electric, the battery-electric conversion of a five-door Focus compact hatchback.

As a company, Ford does not believe battery-electric cars will have much of a future for many years to come.

Unusually for a new car, it deliberately said that the Focus Electric would not sell well--and, indeed, the company's prophecy appears to have been fulfilled.

So it's hardly surprising to hear that Ford will make no updates at all to the 2014 Focus Electric.

The Detroit News called Ford's lack of changes an "unusual non-move for an automaker that often tinkers with vehicle packages and options on a yearly basis."

It indicates that Ford has little interest in helping the Focus Electric "gain much-needed traction in the marketplace," according to analysts quoted in the report.

Indeed, in the article, Nancy Gioia, Ford's director of electrification, cites numerous reasons why Ford believes the Focus Electric will not succeed.

And, she said, Ford has no intention of cutting the price of the car to compete with less expensive lease rates offered by Chevrolet, Fiat, Nissan, and other electric-car makers.

Advocates can debate whether the Focus Electric is really nothing more than a compliance car to meet California zero-emission sales requirements.

Ford now offers the car across the country, beyond the handful of regions it launched in.

But sales have been fairly pitiful, at 1,316 from December 2011 through May--against more than 27,000 for the competing Nissan Leaf, which now is--like the Focus Electric--built in the U.S.

So while the small number of owners seem to love their Focus Electrics, their number remains quite low.

To be fair, Ford is not entirely bereft of support for plug-in electric vehicles.

The company has sold larger numbers of its Energi plug-in hybrid models, which it feels offer a better mix of capabilities for average U.S. drivers--and no range anxiety.

Through May, it had sold 4,401 C-Max Energi five-door hatchbacks and 1,194 Fusion Energi mid-size sedans.

What do you think? Is Ford focusing its plug-in efforts in the wrong place? Or are plug-in hybrids, as some have proposed, the "gateway drug" to later adoption of full electric cars?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.


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