On most American streets and highways, the Ford Focus Electric is as rare a sight as some exotic sports cars.
And unfortunately, some continued rather dismal sales numbers support that. Focus Electric sales totaled 1,964 in calendar-year 2014, up only slightly from the previous year’s total of 1,738.
While we know of one ad for the Focus Electric internationally (featured at the bottom), there’s been no actual, shot-and-produced ad for this model yet in the U.S.
That's rather shocking, as it’s had expanded U.S. availability (beyond its initial California and New York metro markets) for about three years--though some of that availability may be more theoretical than actual.
And the first few were sold in December 2011, almost four years ago.
Now a new ad (above) has been released, and it might as well be the ad for an exotic. The driver flings the Focus Electric sideways on what might be Bonneville Salt Flats, stopping just a few feet short of a lonely charging station, as the small print says: “Closed course. Professional driver. Do not attempt. ABS disabled. Window tint darkened.”
“Charged-up, by design,” proclaims a voice right out of In A World..., as it ends, remarkably devoid of claims.
There’s no range noted, no boasting of high efficiency or low operating costs. And at 16 seconds, it’s almost farcically quick.
An ad agency or marketing team may have been influenced by the hype surrounding the Tesla Model S—a model that's a indeed a performance car in its top P85D and P90D forms.
Yet it seems an odd direction to paint the Focus Electric as that. In reality, it's a quiet, quite responsive, pleasant, and tailpipe-emissions-free way to make the daily commute.
While we’re not yet sure where this ad will air, it leads to some familiar questions: In a completely different way than GM's Chevy Volt ads, on the attack, from last week, will this get more people interested in the Focus Electric?
Or will it merely bring more people into the dealership to sell the high-performance Focus ST and Focus RS models?
What we’re wondering now is, how did the car (and the charger) get out to those salt plains? And then, what does the driver do in the desert for the next few hours? (The Focus Electric has no DC fast-charging ability.)
Or perhaps we’re overthinking this.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The lead video on an earlier version of this story was for the Ford Focus RS hot hatch, not the Focus Electric. We've corrected the video link, and apologize for the error.]