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Ford unveils the Focus Electric

7 January 2011

Focusev
The Ford Focus Electric. Click to enlarge.

Ford Motor Company officially unveiled the Focus Electric—the company’s first all-electric passenger car. (Earlier post.)

The five-door electric hatchback leverages Ford’s global C-car platform shared by the gasoline and diesel-powered Focus models. Both Focus gasoline and electric variants to be sold in North America will be built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., 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.

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” (e.g., up to about 100 miles). (Nissan’s LEAF has a EPA range of 73 miles.) Ford says the Focus battery-electric vehicle will offer a mile-per-gallon equivalent better than Chevrolet Volt (93 mpge all-electric, 60 mpge combined, earlier post) and competitive with other battery electric vehicles (e.g., Nissan LEAF with EPA rating of 99 mpge, earlier post).

Focus Electric will be powered by an advanced lithium-ion battery system engineered by Ford in cooperation with supplier LG Chem. (Earlier post.) The battery system utilizes heated and cooled liquid to help maximize battery life and fuel-free driving range.

Focus Electric uses an advanced active liquid cooling and heating thermal management system to precondition and regulate the temperature in the 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.

A full recharge is expected to take three to four hours at home with a 240V charge station.

Focus Electric introduces new features and technologies—including a unique version of the MyFord Touch driver connect system especially for electric vehicles, a new value charging feature powered by Microsoft and a smartphone app called MyFord Mobile (earlier post) that helps plug-in owners control their vehicles remotely.

The execution of MyFord Touch driver connect technology for the Focus Electric offers an 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 vehicle accessories such as air conditioning, which can impact driving range.

Similar to the growing leafy vine of first-generation SmartGauge with EcoGuide 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 says the designers were inspired by the “butterfly effect”, a phenomenon in which a small change, such as choosing to drive an electric vehicle, can have an enormous impact. To reinforce the message, at the end of each trip a display screen 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 touch screen. After the driver adds destinations, including their next charge point, into the 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.

The new Focus Electric also offers a value charging feature, powered by Microsoft, to help owners in the US charge their vehicles at the cheapest utility rates, lowering the cost of ownership.

January 7, 2011 in Electric (Battery) | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)

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"at the end of each trip a display screen provides distance driven, miles gained through regenerative braking, energy consumed and a comparative gasoline savings achieved by driving electric."

Just excellent. THIS is precisely the kind of information that will drive the green economy further. Because it addresses the issues that people CARE about:
saving money and putting it to use at home. Congratulations to Ford!

"or if Travel Plans need to be adjusted"..

i.e. if you have insufficient range.

If you have an ICEv, use it, else

it should see if there is a Ford garage/rental place on the route and guide you there so you can swap into an ICE for the longer trip,
OR, suggest a charge point where you could have lunch.

The developed world is awash with cars - all you need is to be able to swap to a longer ranged vehicle for a few days. This is just a matter of money - the purchase price could include discounted ICE rental for 5-10 years assuming you could drive the rental using your EV insurance (to keep costs down).
Governments could pass laws mandating this (say a power for power swap) so the insurance companies couldn't cause trouble.

Alternately, they could build a PHEV version and all this would go away.

Also, it would be interesting to compare the Focus EV with the Focus diesel as you would have an Apples to Apples comparison.

Looks like a great city car--I'll be interested in knowing the price point. For a local-only car, the price point needs to be reasonable, but I suppose I may have to wait a model generation or two before that happens.

This car would work for us here in Juneau, AK, as you can't drive very far anyway (no roads out of town). The battery-warming feature would alleviate some of the worry about re-starting a parked car in sub-freezing temps. Also, our electricity is all hydro, so it would be a pretty green choice for us. (Now if someone would just offer an affordable cold-climate heat pump, I could get off of heating oil and reduce my mammoth carbon footprint...)

Sounds like Ford's version of the Leaf:
...available in late 2011, will be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. Production will occur on the same line as the gasoline version of the Focus...
The Focus Electric’s motor will be powered by a 23 kWh lithium-ion battery. Range is targeted to be 100 miles (161 km) on a full charge. The system utilizes a liquid heating and cooling system to maximize battery life and driving range.

I'm surprised they mention Microsoft in the same article as their car. Maybe some people will have to reboot their cars after all, or the blue screen of death will get more literal.

@Nick Lyons:
There are affordable cold-climate air source heat pumps on the market.
They use CO2 as the working fluid, which makes them good down to -30C or so.
Both the US company Hallowell and Fujitsu do them, amongst others.
Service costs are way less than a gas boiler, too.

A hand to Ford for doing the right thing one more time.

Davemart has a very good point. High-Low temps heat pumps with higher efficiency (300% to 400%) can reduce energy consumption for all vehicles, airplanes, residences and commercial/industrial buildings. Those heat pumps exist already and could be further improved. To adapt them for vehicular and airplane use should not be a major challenge. That is one of many ways to reduce energy and crude oil consumption.

Of course, very powerful interested oil/ethanol/corn groups will do there best to block it. That is what has been pushing USA (and other industrial countries) down hill for the last many years. For the good of the country, we have to find ways to get around them.

@Davemart:

Thanks for the tip on Fujitsu, I'll have to investigate. I've read that Hallowell units are very expensive, but perhaps my info is out of date. Also, our heating setup is oil/hydronic, so forced air units are a non-starter, and that's all Hallowell sells so far. I need to heat water. I just paid ~$1300 for a six months heating oil fill up--I don't want to calculate how many tons of CO2 that will produce.

Nick, as far as I know most of the CO2 heat pumps heat water, as using the CO2 they run at much higher temeperatures.

Some versions can even heat water on demand the same way as a gas boiler

This is a good looking car, if they can bring it to market at the right price, it just might sell.

Theses technical specs are lower then i could conceive, ford must work for somebody else then their customer, it's almost as bad as the chevy volt or nissan leaf, LOL. This is costly too, maybe to make appear the idea that electrical cars are complicated so they most charge a lot of money and you will endup with a costly, deceiving car ownership experience and you will have to pay more and more to get something like their actual gasoline only s*&tty cars made for exxon, shell, texaco, chevron, wallstreet traders, epa, doa, saudi bankers that deposit each day money in swiss banks for chevron, texaco shareowners and politicians. LOL.

Don't hold back, a.b.;
. do you like Ford products or not?

Thank you, Ford. Next step is afFordabilty.

a.b. see... D- a failing grade.

This makes the third production E-Vehicle manufactured in the United States. Ford is angling for the 100M AER which will sit well with North American drivers and the EU. People in general feel they rarely drive more than a hundred miles a day unless it is a planned trip. So, the 100M AER is a good number.

AND with the Best Buy supported Level II charger @ 6kWh they will full-charge the Focus in 4 hours - faster than Leaf or Volt charging.

Indeed, it looks very much like the U.S. is leading the way in the first phase of transport electrification. Could this be called the "Revenge of the Red Line?"

I like the idea of showing how much regenerative braking energy has been stored, in an EV this should be a good number. In a Buick with 0.5 kWh of batteries saying 15 kW regenerative braking stretches credibility.

This is the important part:

Ford has 12(!) vehicles planned on this same platform for sale in North America. The C-segment platform underpinning the Focus represents the ultimate hedge against high gas prices, developing EV, PHEV, HEV and high MPG gas powertrains (EcoBoost + dual clutch) which can easily be put into ANY of these C segment vehicles, with the plant having flexible production capabilities too. With 12 vehicles from the same platform built at the same flexible plant, Ford can make EV-PHEV-HEV anything, since the platform will underpin everything from hatchbacks to small SUVs to small vans.

IMO Ford's electrification plan has the best mass-market potential because of this flexibility as to what the powertrain goes in, without soaring engineering costs to do so.

This is great, as more people consider EVs there will be more companies offering more products. No major car maker wants to be caught flat footed if this all takes off.

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