Electric cars need to be recharged, obviously. How car companies choose to provide the all-new equipment to do that varies significantly among makers.

For its upcoming 2012 Ford Focus Electric, Ford just jumped out ahead of the car to announce that it will provide what it calls a "convenience cord" that will allow the electric Focus to be recharged at any standard (120-Volt) wall plug.

That charging won't be very fast, of course. Using the faster wall-mounted 240-Volt charging station--which Ford calls "optional," meaning they'll charge for it, just as Nissan and Chevrolet do--the Focus Electric's battery pack takes 6 to 8 hours to recharge if it's been fully discharged.

charging cord for 2012 Ford Focus Electric

charging cord for 2012 Ford Focus Electric

Like the 240-Volt station, the convenience cord will will use the industry-standard J-1772 five-point plug, which connects into a socket in the Focus Electric's charge port behind a door very much like a gas door.

Ford has fitted the 25-foot-long cord with a blue rubber "ergonomic ... handle specially designed for comfort and durable daily use." The blue Ford oval features prominently on the charging head. When not in use, the cord can be spooled around a special bracket in the car's truck to keep it tidy and out of the way.

Working for the best and most ergonomic industrial design, Ford and Yazaki "benchmarked Craftsman® tools" and looked for inspiration to products like "Apple mobile electronics and OXO Good Grips kitchen utensils."

Working with supplier Yazaki, Ford says the final design of the cord drew inspiration from "hockey sticks, curling irons, and tennis racket handles."

We're not so sure that curling irons aren't one of those nervous-making electric appliances Ford may want to avoid--kind of like toasters and bathtubs--but that's their call, not ours.

And safety of the cord is not likely to be an issue. Among other endurance tests, Yazaki inserted and removed the cable 10,000 times, dunking it in salt water every thousand times, and also drove over it repeatedly with the car--all to ensure it could stand up to any conceivable accident or misuse.

charging cord for 2012 Ford Focus Electric

charging cord for 2012 Ford Focus Electric

Ford estimates the Focus Electric may be charged as often as two to four times a day, or 1,500 times each year.

The 120-Volt cord is meant for opportunistic charging, whether in a public garage that has wall sockets, a carport or private garage, or even when parked outside near a plug. And its length eliminates the need for extension cords that may be of varying quality, capacity, and age.

One further piece of information: Ford says the 2012 Focus Electric sedan will debut "late in 2011," meaning that it'll be here in 14 months or less, joining the increasing number of electric cars going on sale in the next two years.

The range of the 2011 Ford Focus Electric is up to 100 miles on a single charge, depending on usage, temperature, and other variables.

[Ford Motor Co.]