Jul 042011

Ford recently announced it would be launching an all-electric Focus next year. The Focus EV is due to appear later this year but it won’t be coming to all markets.

According to the US automaker, the Focus Electric is to be made available initially in 19 specially-selected markets. The company said the markets would be selected based on a range of criteria that will include commuting patterns, the level of collaboration available from local utility companies, existing trends in the purchase of hybrid vehicles, and the level of commitment to electrification from local government.

The Focus Electric will be the first all-electric passenger car to appear from Ford. The vehicle’s design is aimed at providing a charge sufficient to provide a range of up to 100 miles, while generating no CO2 emissions and consuming no petrol.

Ford Focus Electric Car 2010

Ford Focus Electric Car 2010

Ford has developed an aggressive strategy intended to deliver a range of electric vehicles in both North American and Europe. These are slated to include a small commercial van, the Transit Connect Electric, as well as a pair of next-gen hybrids running off lithium-ion batteries, and a plug-in hybrid.

Ford says the first markets to see the Focus Electric will be Austin; Houston; Atlanta; Boston; Denver; Detroit; Chicago; San Francisco; Los Angeles; San Diego; Orlando; New York; Tucson; Phoenix; Portland, Oregon; Richmond, Virginia; Raleigh Durham; and Seattle, Washington. The Focus Electric will also be available in Washington D.C.

Ford says it is keen to get the Focus Electric into as many markets as quickly as possible, in a bid to capitalise on the excitement already generated by news of the model’s impending arrival. The company has pledged to continue assessing potential markets as the supporting infrastructure required for electric vehicles continues to expand across the USA.

In addition to evaluating the optimum markets for the Focus Electric’s release, Ford is aiming to roll out programmes designed to support customers. Ford is to work closely with dealers, utility companies and local governments to create customer outreach and education programmes for electric vehicles.

Ford says the programmes are also designed to support the sharing of data on charging needs in order to ensure local electrical grids are able to support customer demand and requirements. The carmaker has already rolled out a new web site that provides educational materials and content on electrical vehicles.

Visitors to the site at Ford.com will find a mix of text, diagrams and video designed to help consumers get to grips with the various differing technologies found in electric vehicles. Despite the revolutionary technologies being used in the Focus Electric, it will be built alongside existing models at the company’s plant in Wayne, Michigan.

The Focus Electric is not all-new from the ground up. Ford has implemented the needed electric power components and management systems into the existing platform, so the car can be built on the same production line as the petrol-powered versions.

Ford does, however, appear to be taking the technological ingenuity an entertaining, if potentially rather gimmicky, step further. If the latest news released by Ford is any indication, people buying the Focus Electric could find themselves choosing what sound they want from their cars.

Ford has apparently begun testing the waters by asking visitors to the Focus Electric Facebook page to respond with their choices from a range of four artificially-generated sounds.

Despite green cars being designed to help the environment, launching an EV with a choice of ‘exhaust’ sounds could kill two birds with one stone. On the one hand, the silence of electric cars is often considered off-putting. People fear they might not hear an EV coming and frankly, most people find it hard to accept the idea of driving something that doesn’t make an engine-type noise. Let’s just hope that Focus Electric sound customising doesn’t end up running riot.

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