Ford showed off its all-electric Ford Focus at an event in downtown San Francisco on Thursday, and gave members of the media one of the first opportunities to drive the car and see how it feels. We’ll bring you a test drive video with our impressions early next week — and a video interview with a Ford exec about the car on Friday — but the thing that stands out in my mind about Ford’s electric car ambitions is that it is uniquely pushing a charger that can charge the Focus fully in a little over three hours.
Ford worked with Leviton on the Ford-branded and co-developed charger, which will cost Focus electric owners an extra $1,500 for both the hardware and installation at their homes. Without the extra charger, the Focus EV charges in the more standard 8-hours or more time frame.
I’m curious to see if the 3-hour charge time will be a game changer for Ford. On one hand that amount of time, is small enough that it could significantly help with range anxiety, particularly for people that drive a lot and make sporadic trips from home. The Focus’ 80-mile range isn’t all that large compared to, say, Tesla’s Model S that has between 160-mile and 300-mile ranges, depending on the model (and costs $10,000 to $20,000 more)
On the other hand, if most EV drivers drive within the 80-mile range of the Focus battery, and opt to just charge overnight, then the 3-hour time frame could be just a minor perk. DC chargers, which companies like NRG Energy are building around certain cities, can charge an EV in 15 to 30 minutes, but are pretty expensive (six figures). Tesla is looking to one day build a super charger between LA and SF that can charge electric cars in 30 minutes.
Another unique feature of the Focus electric, Ford says, is the liquid-cooled battery management system for the lithium ion battery pack, made by LG Chem. The range anxiety won’t suffer too much from changes in temperature due to the management system, says Ford.
The rest of the Ford Focus electric features don’t stand out all that much from its competitors like the Nissan LEAF and GM’s Volt. It’s about the same price as the Volt, but doesn’t have the extended range of the Volt, and it’s a bit more expensive than the LEAF (with about the same range).
Here’s a few more photos of the event: