The zero-emissions, gasoline-free version of Ford’s popular small car is the flagship of the company’s growing fleet of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles coming to North America and Europe by 2013. The Focus Electric will launch in late 2011 and is designed to offer enough range to cover the majority of daily driving habits of Americans. It will offer a mile-per-gallon equivalent better than Chevrolet Volt and be competitive with other battery electric vehicles. A full recharge is expected to take 3-4 hours at home with the 240-volt charge station – half the time of the Nissan Leaf.
Focus Electric introduces new features and technologies – including a unique version of the MyFord Touch driver connect system for electric vehicles, a new value charging feature powered by Microsoft, and a smartphone app called MyFord Mobile that helps plug-in owners control their vehicle remotely.The stylish five-door hatchback leverages Ford’s global C-car platform shared by the gasoline and diesel-powered Focus models, which debuted at the 2010 North American International Auto Show and were launched at the Paris Motor Show in September.
Both the Focus gasoline and electric variants sold in North America will be built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI with production powered in part by one of the largest solar energy generator systems in the state. For European markets, a decision on where the Focus Electric will be built is currently being finalized.
Focus Electric is one of five new electrified vehicles included in Ford’s electrification strategy. Initial deliveries of Transit Connect Electric began in North America at the end of last year and the vehicle will be launched in Europe later in 2011.
Not only is Focus Electric designed to provide outstanding energy efficiency and reliable operation, it also delivers driving enjoyment. The all-electric powertrain and single-speed transmission provide immediate response and smooth acceleration when the driver pushes the accelerator, up to a top speed of 84mph. Focus Electric offers a host of standard safety and security features including six airbags and electronic traction control, along with hands-free SYNC telephone connectivity and MyKey. Extensive eco-friendly materials, such as bio-foam seat cushions and recycled fabrics also are featured in the vehicle.
Other standard features include a unique execution of MyFord Touch driver connect technology, 15-spoke 17-inch wheels, a 60/40 split rear bench seat, push button start, AM/FM/CD/MP3 Sony Audio with nine speakers, Sirius Satellite Radio with Travel Link, HD Radio and voice-activated Navigation System.
Future owners of the Focus Electric will likely recharge the car’s advanced, Ford-engineered lithium-ion battery pack at home on a daily basis, using the recommended 240-volt wall-mounted charge station (that will be sold separately at Best Buy – see our separate story at eurotuner.com) or the 120-volt convenience cord that comes with the vehicle.
When plugged in, the Focus Electric onboard charger converts AC power from the electric grid to DC power to charge the liquid-cooled battery pack.
Focus Electric owners will be provided with a suite of driver information systems – on-board and off-board – designed to help manage the recharge process, manage the most eco-friendly route, monitor battery charge and maximize energy efficiency to optimize driving range.
This set of tools is designed to give Focus Electric the edge over competitive products, providing new electric vehicle owners the information they need to enjoy all the freedom gas-free driving has to offer.
Among these tools is a unique execution of MyFord Touch driver connect technology. Thoughtfully developed for electric vehicle owners, it offers innovative presentation of vehicle information, such as battery state of charge, distance to charge point, the corresponding range budget and expected range margin. The system’s MyView feature allows drivers to access even more vehicle data including the electrical demands of accessories such as air conditioning, which can impact driving range.
Similar to the leafed vine first-generation SmartGauge represents fuel efficiency in the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the cluster display in Focus Electric uses blue butterflies to represent the surplus range beyond one’s charge point destination – the more butterflies there are, the greater the range.
Ford designers were inspired by the phenomenon known as “the butterfly effect,” in which a small change, like choosing to drive an electric vehicle, can have an enormous impact. To reinforce the message, at the end of each trip a display provides distance driven, miles gained through regenerative braking, energy consumed and a comparative gasoline savings achieved by driving electric.
The cluster is also integrated with the MyFord Touch map-based Navigation System using the vehicle’s center stack 8-inch touchscreen. After adding their driving destinations, including their next charge point, into the vehicle’s Navigation System, the vehicle will coach drivers on how to achieve the desired range – or if travel plans need to be adjusted. The on-board Navigation System provides an EcoRoute option based on characteristics of efficient EV driving.
Off-board, Focus Electric owners in North America will be able to maintain constant contact with the car anywhere they have mobile phone access using the Ford-developed MyFord Mobile app (see our separate story at eurotuner.com).
MyFord Mobile is an app that enables access via a smartphone or web-based interface to receive vehicle status information, perform key functions remotely, monitor the car’s state of charge, etc. Working with MapQuest, MyFord Mobile can communicate charge station and other points of interest to Focus Electric using SYNC’s Traffic, Directions and Information (TDI). Turn-by-turn guidance is provided by the in-car map-based Navigation System. Drivers can also get up-to-date charging station information in their vehicle directly through SYNC TDI simply by connecting to SYNC Services. The new Focus Electric offers a unique value charging feature, powered by Microsoft, to help owners charge their vehicles at the cheapest utility rates, lowering the cost of ownership.
The tool is designed to help customers avoid unnecessary expense by providing an optimized charge. In the future, these smart charging habits will help utility companies understand and manage the demands placed upon the electric grid because of electrified vehicles. Focus Electric owners are likely to handle one of the vehicle’s charge cord connectors two or more times each day. That’s why Ford worked with supplier Yazaki to provide an industry-standard five-point plug that is distinctively designed.
The plug handle uses a matte-finished black rubber that allows for a comfortable, non-slip grip. The plug head is shielded with a protective glossy white plastic.
When the cord is plugged into the vehicle’s charge port, which is located between the driver’s door and front wheel well, it activates a light ring that loops around the port twice in acknowledgement of connection. The light ring then illuminates in quadrants as the vehicle charges. Flashing quadrants represent charge in progress and solid-lit quadrants show stages of charge completion. In the unlikely event of a fault, the entire ring will flash. When the entire ring is solidly lit, the vehicle is fully charged.
Focus Electric will be powered by an advanced lithium-ion battery system engineered by Ford in cooperation with supplier LG Chem. The battery system utilizes heated and cooled liquid to help maximize battery life and fuel-free driving range.
Thermal management of lithium-ion battery systems is critical to the success of pure electric vehicles. Focus Electric uses an advanced active liquid cooling and heating system to precondition and regulate the temperature in its larger, more complex lithium-ion battery system. The active liquid system heats or chills a coolant before pumping it through the battery cooling system. This loop regulates temperature throughout the system against external conditions. On hot days, chilled liquid absorbs heat from the batteries, dispersing it through a radiator before pumping it through the chiller again. On cold days, heated liquid warms the batteries, gradually bringing the system’s temperature to a level that allows it to efficiently accept charge energy and provide enough discharge power for expected vehicle performance.