Ford will price its new Focus Electric five-door hatch from £33,500, a hefty premium over its nearest rivals.

The 143bhp Focus Electric will cost nearly twice as much as the cheapest £15k Nissan Leaf and £17k Renault Fluence ZE, although the running costs of the Renault are higher because the battery must be leased.

Ford it predicts UK 30 sales in its first year. The car is on sale now, and first deliveries are expected in the last quarter of the year.

Its main target will be corporate customers, where an electric car is of growing importance, sometimes as part of a comprehensive fleet deal.

‘We are responding to interest from fleet customers and in support of Ford’s market-leading business sales,’ says the company.

Part of the justification for the launch is a Europe-wide survey sponsored by Ford that reported 72 per cent of Europeans believe electric cars are better for the environment, while 28 per cent said they would consider buying an electric vehicle.

The Focus Electric is at the heart of a sales strategy, under the ‘Power of Choice’ banner, that will roll-out across Europe this year and next.

Also coming are a Mondeo Hybrid, based on the US market Fusion, although that won’t be on sale until late 2014/early 2015 when the much-delayed Mondeo finally hits UK shores two years later than planned.

However, a third electrified Ford model, the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid isn’t coming to the UK.