Richard Bremner
20 September 2012

What is it?

Ford’s first mainstream all-electric car comes with many of the usual compromises that buyers of purely electric models face: it’s expensive, it doesn’t go very far on a charge and, in the case of this Focus Electric, its boot has been part-annexed by the large, carpeted box that is the battery pack. But this Ford does advance the electric car in some important ways.

For instance, its on-board 6.6kW battery charger revives a depleted battery at twice the speed of the on-board 3.3kW charger in a Nissan Leaf, which allows you to fully recharge the Focus in about four hours rather than seven. And it also means that a quick burst of charging is more productive.

It’s useful, too, that its regenerative braking capacity is greater than the Leaf’s. Brake with a light right foot so that you don’t engage the hydraulic braking and you’ll maximise your energy regeneration at a more substantial rate than the Leaf can manage. So there’s a better chance of enjoying the 100 nominal miles that this car is capable of covering without seeing a socket.

Your efforts on this crucial front are monitored by the usual range meter in a bespoke – and pleasingly styled – instrument pack, and the trip computer also reveals the energy used, the energy you’ve regenerated and your savings compared with a petrol-powered car. All of which adds to the pleasure of use.

What is it like?

The Focus’s electric motor provides 143bhp and 184lb ft of instant pull. That makes for an easy and effortless advance, the more so because there’s only a single gear. So the ebb and flow progress of a multiple-geared manual car is absent, as is the sound of an internal combustion engine.

This makes travel a particularly restful experience – if ultimately duller for the keen driver – and surprisingly brisk with it. From rest and at middling speeds, the Focus borders on the sporty, even if its top speed is limited to a prehistoric 84mph. The sporting impression is reinforced by swift and incisive steering and the handling balance that comes from a 51/49 per cent weight distribution. In fact, there’s enough thrust to provoke a trace of torque steer on an undulating road, and more intrusive than that is a curious directional squirm over camber changes that sometimes demands correction, a quirk absent from conventionally propelled Focuses.

Should I buy one?

There are a few issues to weigh before taking the electric plunge. The £25,000 price – with government subsidy deducted – is one of them, and the compatibility of this Focus’s range with your life patterns is another. It’s why Ford doesn’t predict huge sales for this car. But the good news is that the Focus Electric moves the game on in a couple of areas, and for the most part it makes for an agreeable drive.

Ford Focus Electric

Price £25,000 (est); 0-62mph na; Top speed 84mph; Economy na; CO2 Nil (at tailpipe); Kerb weight 1647kg; Engine type Electric, permanent magnet; Power 143bhp; Torque 184lb ft; Gearbox Single speed

Join the debate

Comments
24

New Focus face?

1 year 44 weeks ago

Is this what the facelifted Focus will look like? Revolting.

GasolineAlley wrote:Is this

1 year 44 weeks ago

GasolineAlley wrote:

Is this what the facelifted Focus will look like? Revolting.

No, I think that's just a very smoothed of front end to help aerodynamically optimise range.

Stop gap

1 year 44 weeks ago

For an electric car to work at it's best it needs to be designed as one rather than adapted a petrol car.

On the plus side £25,000 might seem like alot but a 2 litre diesel 140hp powershift titanium is over £22,300 so the gap seems to be getting smaller and you won't be producing Cancer causing chemicals or have that annoying disel clatter all the time. 

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

GasolineAlley

1 year 44 weeks ago

GasolineAlley wrote:

Revolting.

Nice pun.....

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

Orangewheels

1 year 44 weeks ago

Orangewheels wrote:

GasolineAlley wrote:

Is this what the facelifted Focus will look like? Revolting.

No, I think that's just a very smoothed of front end to help aerodynamically optimise range.

Really? Does an electric car need such a prominent chrome grille?

You can tell that this car is

1 year 44 weeks ago

You can tell that this car is not remotely sporty as it doesn't have front foglights or privacy glass.

GasolineAlley

1 year 44 weeks ago

GasolineAlley wrote:

Orangewheels wrote:

GasolineAlley wrote:

Is this what the facelifted Focus will look like? Revolting.

No, I think that's just a very smoothed of front end to help aerodynamically optimise range.

Really? Does an electric car need such a prominent chrome grille?

I think if you look really closely the grille is actually blanked off behind the chrome with black plastic, I dont think there's an opening there at all - the chrome is just there for effect to make it seem like the rest of the range, as it would look weird with no opening at all.

:-)

1 year 44 weeks ago

xxxx wrote:

 and you won't be producing Cancer causing chemicals or have that annoying disel clatter all the time. 

You'll still be producing cancer causing chemicals, they'll just be coming out of a power station chimney not your tailpipe.

Have to agree on price though, 25k for a family hatchback with an 84mph top speed and a maximimun range of 100 miles is excellent value.

 

 

 

there are so many companies

1 year 44 weeks ago

there are so many companies showing electic cars these days, if they all sold their prototypes to the public i think it would satisfy the entire electric car demand out there. 

I cant think of anything less relavent to todays motoring needs than an electric car

Instead of this

1 year 44 weeks ago

Wouldnt it have been better if Ford had made it look like a clean sheet design, even if it was basically a Focus underneath, they could have avoided the chrome (blanked  off) grill and called it something different, that way it would have looked like they made a new vehicle just like the Honda Insight, the Toyota Prius and the GM Ampera/Volt.. 

On another note, IMO both the interior and exterior are far more resolved than the current conventional Focus, lets hope some of it make it across the rest of the range..

 

 

Please register or login to post a comment.

Our Verdict

Can the Ford Focus capture the hearts and minds of hatchback buyers?

Driven this week