Friday, May 18, 2012

Ford Focus Electric test drive.

I must say this was a moment I will remember for a long time.
My first time behind the wheel of a fully electric car.
It felt kind of like watching color TV for the 1st time. It's new and exciting, and you know it will be everywhere in few years.

The design itself is familiar, almost too much so. (But the color TVs also looked like regular ones)
The main changes are up front.

And there is, of course, no tail pipes in the back.

The interior is also the same as most other Focus models. Except the SE. It shares its dashboard with the better SES or Titanium models.
Gone is the Klingon console from the base model.

The trunk is also much smaller. Filled with batteries.
But it's still not that bad.
With a range of around 80 to 100 miles, this is not a car you will be taking on a long trip anyway.

The most amazing thing about the Electric Focus is that it drives just like a regular one.

It also feels a bit heavier, which is a actually a good thing.
The steering is fine, so is the transmission.
And it does have really good power. It feels about the same as the regular 2.0 model
The ride is not too soft, a little bit firm and very smooth .
The same can be said about the steering.

It all feels very substantial and not gimmicky at all.

And of course, what feels the most amazing is the near silence while you drive. At any speed.

The Electric Focus is quite an amazing car.

In my opinion, its main drawback is its look.
It just doesn't say "I bought an electric car". It might be a stupid thing, but a real one.
The Leaf stands out. And the very popular Prius is immediately recognizable as a Hybrid.

Most people who buy such new and expensive technology want to show off a bit. That's just the way it is.
It looks like within a couple of years, most Fords will adopt the Electric Focus front end design too. Including the regular Focus.
Making this very special model even harder to stand out.

Sure, it is also expensive. But so was the 1st iPod. With 5 gigs for $500.
Or the first 42inch Plasma TVs for $15 000.
It all sounds ridiculous now. And so will a $20 000 premium for an electric car in a few years.

The Electric Focus, like the Leaf, isn't a good "main" car.
It is the perfect car to go to work. If that is within the range.
It is a perfect second or third car.

It is not the last electric car I will be driving. I will be getting a Volt in a bout a week, a Leaf soon.
Then more and more will come to the market.

But I will never forget my 1st electric drive. And the Electric Focus will always be very special to me.


Anonymous said...

You didn't do a very good review on this. From your pictures there is almost no back seat room, almost no trunk room, and the emergency brake is a stick that seems to be in the way (why not use a pedal). Not great for $40K. Also, I don't see anything about how long the battery actually lasted or how long it too to charge. Did you just drive this around the block or something?

Vince Burlapp said...

Unfortunately I was not able to keep the car for a week as I usually do.
So couldn't measure the actual range.
The emergency brake was on, which should be obvious on the picture. So it doesn't stick out when not in use.

No room in the back seat is the same as the other Focus models, as I mentioned.
And any electric car would have a smaller trunk.

Anonymous said...


Sorry guess I let my dislike of electric cars get to me. I just don't see the value at all in these...$40K+ for a very small car that can only go 90 miles before you have to put it on a charger for a couple of hours. Plus, not many people I know can afford $40K+ for a second or third car, especially one that can't be driven to another town. And as far as environmental benefits go, I don't think our manufacturing processes have advanced to the point to say there are what's the point!

Anonymous said...

When a battery with 300 mile range is a reality I will tune in. Until then gasoline or hybrid.

Anonymous said...

"...and you know it will be everywhere in few years."

wanna bet?

although most "journalist" types who "make" the news populate in urban centers, there are the rest of us that the limitation of range requires a more portable, potent fuel source (i.e. clean-burning, highly-efficient gasoline)

Anonymous said...

I can imagine interesting experience. Love to drive EV first time myself.

We got to the point finally where you get halfway decent range and slightly affordable. Sure we have ways to go for larger market appeal but EV's in consumer market only just started.

For now plug-in hybrids are still way to go until range and price becomes better of EV.

Anonymous said...

The fact that it looks like a (rather good looking) standard Focus is a positive thing. That also means that it's quite a bit more substantial than the Leaf, which is completely junk when compared to conventional cars.

But I have the same complaint with this as I do with the Leaf. Drive it in the winter, lose 5-10% of the driving range. Run the windshield wipers, lose 1-2%. Run the lights, run the A/C, run the heater, blast the stereo, and you're not getting anywhere near the range published. Then go five miles out of your way, you're stuck on the side of the road just like Leaf owners. Electric cars are not "there yet." That's why hybrids and the Volt (whatever it's system is called) are the only non-conventional drivetrains that have proven to actually work.

Anonymous said...

Hard to make a logical case for buying one of these. The Focus starts around $15k and gets 40MPG. So for the extra $25k I could have paid for all my gas for over a decade. Figure in the time cost of money and this never makes any sense at all. And that's not even taking into account that in 5 years you'll be buying new batteries--for $5,000 to $7500. Why is the Federal Government wasting so so much tax money to promote these things???

Anonymous said...

Saw yesterday Tesla Model S in mall. That one has 300 mi range. Cost about $70K. So we're getting there slowly.

Anonymous said...

A 1972 Chrysler Imperial with 440 V8 (6 or 7 litres?) makes more sense than this. And thats 40-year old technology built with no tax money whatsoever!!!!

Anonymous said...

You guys seem to miss the point. ANY new technology is outrageously expensive when it first comes out. Early adopters pay through the nose.

Have you forgotten what flat screens cost just 10 short years ago?