Yesterday, the news came down: The 2012 Ford Focus Electric will be priced at $39,995 before incentives, exactly the same as the 2012 Chevrolet Volt. Much debate ensued over which one might be more desirable.

According to Ford, "A limited number of Focus Electrics will first be available in California and the New York/New Jersey regions" late this year. 

But "limited number" is likely to mean very few. Recall that to make their end-of-2010 deadlines, both Nissan and Chevrolet managed to sell Leafs and Chevrolets last December. The final sales tallies for that month: 326 Volts delivered, and a mere 18 Leafs.

Given that ordering only opened up yesterday for the 2012 Ford Focus Electric on a dedicated website, we'd expect something similar for December sales totals.

When Ford CEO Alan Mulally announced the Focus Electric last January at the Consumer Electronics Show, the company said it would go on sale by the end of 2011. Technically, Ford is likely to make that date.

But we expect Ford to squeak past its year-end commitment rather than roar past it in a rush of silent electric Focuses.

Following California and NY/NJ, Ford will expand availability to 15 additional launch markets next year.

Those are: Atlanta, Austin and Houston, Texas; Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Orlando, Fla., Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh Durham, N.C.; Richmond, Va., Seattle, and Washington, D.C.  

Ford notes that factors affecting which markets were chosen include "commuting patterns, existing hybrid purchase trends, utility company collaboration and local government commitment to electrification."


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