My initial reaction wasn't, "Hey! Electric Ford Focus
." My initial reaction was, "Aston Martin wants its grille back." The 2013 FORD FOCUS
Electric looks like a larger, better-designed version of the Aston Martin
Cygnet, the little Toyota-built dinghy for Aston owners who live in or regularly visit London.
Of course, Ford
Motor Company still owned Aston Martin
when Martin Smith's European studio began designing this car. In fact, the wide maw Aston-like grille first appeared on a Ford
when the Verve concept foreshadowed the current FORD FIESTA
subcompact at the 2007 Frankfurt motor show.
It's the kind of design detail the ever more style-conscious Ford
can more easily pull off when the grille doesn't need to suck in any air. The company is making some big claims about the first "fuel-free, rechargeable passenger car from Ford" (the electric FORD TRANSIT
Connect is its first such truck), but isn't revealing much about the nature of the powerpack. It's an all-electric powertrain with a single-speed transmission. Battery system is an advanced lithium-ion unit Ford
has developed with supplier LG Chem that uses heated and cooled liquid to maximize battery life and driving range. Ford
handles thermal management with liquid heating in cold weather, liquid cooling when it's hot.
Ford claims a 100-mile range. It fully recharges in three to four hours at 240 volts, half the charging time of the Nissan
Leaf and with twice the mpg equivalent of the Chevrolet
Volt. Its dedicated charging system will cost consumers $500 to $700 less than Nissan's or Chevy's, Ford
claims. Top speed is 84 mph.
The charge port, between the driver's door and front wheel well, activates a light ring that loops around the port two times to let the owner know the car is connected. There's the usual gee-whiz recharging and battery-draining bar graph drama going on in the instrument panel, as well.
In going with the theory that both the environmentally correct and the anti-import oil crowd also make up the exclusive group of Americans who like hatchbacks (Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius
Leaf), the FORD FOCUS
Electric will be available only in the four-door hatchback bodystyle, not the four-door sedan.