This year for the first time ever, NASCAR will feature electric vehicles as pace cars in a Sprint Cup Event. Ford Motor Co. has announced that Virginia’s Richmond International Raceway will have two of their 2012 Focus electric vehicles at the event, and they’ll also be seen at the Capital City 400 race. Earlier this month, Ford had stated that they would have an electric car at NASCAR this year, but only now has the model been revealed.
Big Step for EVs
This is a big step for electric vehicles, indicating that the future for them is bright. Ford often uses its NASCAR sponsorship as a way of advertising up-and-coming models that are likely to be very popular in the mass market, and this shows that they are confident that the electric Focus model will sell. It also gives Ford a chance to prove that electric cars can offer the same high performance as traditional cars while being efficient and eco-friendly. This strategy was previously used with the Taurus Sedan and the Fusion Hybrid.
Fuel Economy and Efficiency as Important
The first entirely electric pace car in NASCAR is a sign of a turn in the market, showing that fuel economy and efficiency are becoming increasingly more important in the motor industry, whereas horsepower and speed were previously among the most desired features.
Ford have Seven EcoBoost Engines
In 2011, Ford had seven fuel-saving EcoBoost engines on the market, but has promised to increase that to eleven this year. The Focus Electric is currently only available in North America, but Bob Graziano has confirmed plans for electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid models to be available in Australia in 2015. The Ford Australia boss also confirmed the importance of fuel efficiency by saying they wanted people to buy Ford because they were fuel-efficient.
Ford Focus Electric performance
The Focus Electric is powered by an electric motor that produces 91kW and 245Nm of torque, giving it a 43Nm advantage on the current Focus 2.0 litre petrol engine. According to Ford, a single charge will take you approximately 160Kms (100 miles), which makes it equal to Nissan’s electric Leaf model.
Ford’s Hybrid Range
Recent additions to Ford’s hybrid range include the C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi. Both of these models feature an Atkinson cycle 2.0 litre petrol engine with a lithium-ion battery, which are usually used in pure electric vehicles.
Use of the hybrid system allows the electric motor to drive the car on its own at low speeds and work with the petrol engine at high speeds. While the electric motor works, the petrol engine can provide power to the wheels when required, or charge the batteries.
Hybrid and Plug-Ins technology used across range
Sinead Phipps, spokesperson of Ford, recently stated that their hybrid and hybrid plug-in technology will soon be used in other models across the range. Ford’s increasing use of electric technology shows its commitment to a future of pure electric vehicles, and suggests that we should look forward to seeing more models like the Focus Electric on the market soon.