Well, now the news is out: The 2012 Ford Focus Electric, the company's first-ever mass-market battery electric vehicle, will be priced at $39,995.

Perhaps not coincidentally, that's exactly the price of the 2012 Chevrolet Volt, crosstown rival GM's extended-range electric vehicle (achieved by some specific feature reductions).

Both are compact five-door hatchbacks whose front wheels are powered solely by electric traction motors using electricity supplied from a lithium-ion battery pack that plugs into the electricity grid to recharge.

But that's where the similarities end.

  • The Chevy has a range-extending internal combustion engine and a gasoline tank; the Ford has neither.
  • The Focus Electric has a range of up to 100 miles, followed by a recharging period of several hours; the 2012 Volt can go as far as needed using gasoline once the battery is depleted.
  • The 2012 Ford Focus Electric seats five; the Chevy Volt seats four.
  • The Volt has a 3.3-kilowatt internal charger; the Ford's is 6.6 kilowatts, helping to close the gap in charging time for its larger battery pack.
  • The Ford has a blue oval badge; the Chevy has a gold bowtie.

2011 Chevrolet Volt test drive, Michigan, October 2010

2011 Chevrolet Volt test drive, Michigan, October 2010

So leaving out the 2012 Nissan Leaf--which is both cheaper and imported--if you want to buy an American-built electric car, which one would you choose?

And why?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.


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