What is it?
This is the latest Ford Focus Econetic, an eco car that doesn’t want to look like it’s trying too hard. Wrapped in the skin of a standard high-spec Focus Focus Zetec, with all the trimmings including sports seats and a spoiler, the new car builds on the current Econetic’s green credentials with a number of new technologies to hammer the emissions down even further to 104g/km for the standard car and 99g/km with stop-start.
Developed with Bosch, this is the first start-stop system to be used by Ford. It is mated to a beefed-up starter motor for reliability and quick ignition, and comes with a small auxillary battery that stabilises the car’s electrics when the engine is switched on and off.
Ford admits its estimate of a 0.5 per cent take up of stop-start from the overall Focus sales (three per cent including non-stop-start) is conservative, but it is being coy about the technology. Ultimately this will be a test bed to gauge public reaction, and if successful it could find its way onto other models across the range.
Also appearing on the Focus Econetic is Smart Regenerative Charging, which increases the alternator output when the vehicle brakes or decelerates, recharging the battery. Low Tension FEAD (Front End Accessory Drive) features a redesigned alternator bracket and a new belt pulley design, helping to reduce tension, and thus friction on the belt, improving fuel consumption.
Improved fuel injectors and an air intake system further enhance efficiency. A lowered ride height (10mm at the front and 8mm at the back) and blanking plates to improve aerodynamics are carried over from the previous Focus Econetic.
With the serious stuff taken care of, Ford has also embarked on a spot of in-car horticulture. Aimed at teaching us the art of green driving, the new Ford Eco Mode system measures driving behaviour in three parameters - gearchange, anticipation and motorway driving - and rewards the driver’s efforts with petals on a digital readout within the instrument panel. The more efficient the driving, the more petals will grow, with a maximum of five possible.