2012 Ford Focus Electric launch, New York City, January 2011 - Nancy Gioia
At the start of the month, we examined just how much of the 2012 Tesla Model S sticker price was made up by battery pack costs.
In order to make electric cars more accessible to the mainstream car buying public, Renault plans to sell consumers their electric car but lease them the battery pack.
But as Ford readies its 2012 Focus Electric for a fall 2011 launch it has made one thing abundantly clear: anyone wanting to drive its electric hatchback will be paying for the battery up front.
Talking to Edmunds GreenCarAdvisor a spokesman for Ford said that the five door, 100 mile car will be sold in a conventional way. In other words, the car will be sold with the battery.
What does this mean?
Higher purchase costs, with the owner taking responsibility for the battery pack along with any risk that the battery may not hold its capacity beyond the end of the warranty period
While this model places more risk on the owner it also greatly simplifies the purchase process.
With a rented battery pack as in ownership models developed by Renault, questions arise over who is responsible for the battery pack in the case of insurance claims or ownership disputes.
For example, if a car with a rented battery pack is involved in an insurance claim, just who pays who? Is the driver’s insurance responsible for the replacement battery pack, or does the automaker insure against such losses internally?
Compare this with a conventional gasoline powered car, where drivers either rent or own the entire car, and its clear to see why Ford has made this decision.
For Ford, there’s an added bonus. By selling the car outright with batteries included, it frees itself from the trails and tribulations of maintaining and financing a whole battery swap or replacement service outside of traditional warranty claims.
More importantly, with Ford, Nissan and GM not offering battery leasing as a purchase option we have to wonder how long it will be before we see the ubiquitous sign on electric cars everywhere.