Styling

The electric Ford Focus has the same handsome appearance as the gas-powered version of the car. Auto critics have nearly unanimously rated the Focus as one of the most refined and best looking small cars on the road.

Unlike some competing electric car models, when you sit in the low-slung comfortable seats of the battery-powered Focus, you feel completely normal. From the outside, and inside the cabin, there are no EV motifs, sci-fi start-up sounds, Prius-like shifter knobs or special Eco modes. The driver chooses among standard gear selections: park, reverse, neutral, drive and low.

A small “Electric” badge is the only indication that this vehicle doesn't have a gasoline engine on board, but is purely powered by an electric motor. You will also see a charge port, with a circle of lights that illuminate when the car is plugged in. (It's a great feature: showing charging progress at a glance from a distance by lighting up successive sections of what serves as a glowing state-of-charge pie chart.)

Standard features include Xenon headlights and LED taillights, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, rearview camera, push-button start, and a perimeter alarm system. Also standard is a nine-speaker Sony stereo system, satellite HD radio, navigation and the MyFord Touch infotainment system, which allows you to connect your smartphone via USB or Bluetooth and control it using voice commands, as well as add WiFi connectivity.

Performance

All electric cars earn points for high torque at zero rpm. In our week with the Focus Electric, the powertrain felt as if it had been configured for highway driving, offering rapid bursts of acceleration from 30 to 50 mph, and from 55 to 75, with oomph left in reserve. The Focus employs a 107-kilowatt (143 horsepower) motor, compared to the LEAF’s 80-kilowatt (107 horsepower) motor. Top speed for the Focus electric is governed to 84 mph.

Ford engineers managed to deliver its wallop of power while keeping the cabin extremely quiet by using extra insulation and sound damping. The single-speed transmission produces direct linear velocity. In city driving, the Focus is well planted, and controlled by taut steering. With its 650-pound battery pack, the car is relatively heavy, at 3,642 pounds. Engineers compensated by adjusting springs and shocks to handle the extra weight in the rear. The car feels substantial.

Efficiency/Range

The 2018 Ford Focus Electric provides 115 miles of range—a big jump from the previous model’s 76 miles. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rates the Focus Electric's efficiency at combined 107 MPGe, with an estimated 118 MPGe in the city and 96 miles per gallon equivalent on the highway.

Charging

The Focus Electric uses a 6.6-kilowatt onboard charger capable of adding about 20 to 25 miles of driving range in an hour when pulling 240 volts. Essentially, this is the state-of-the-art in terms of charging speed, and most drivers will find this rate quite adequate (especially considering that the vast majority of charging takes place overnight).

Since the 2017 model, Ford added an optional quick-charging port that can bring the battery from empty to about 80 percent in less than 30 minutes.

Passenger/Cargo Room

The five-seat Ford Focus Electric is well regarded for its nicely designed interior—with materials of a higher quality than found in many affordable small cars. The EV's front seats—which come heated as a standard feature—are comfortable, with decent head- and legroom. Leather upholstery is optional. Seating in the back is adequate, although not as spacious as some of its competitors.

The big drawback with the Ford Focus Electric is the cargo space or lack thereof. By converting an existing model to an electric car, rather than building an EV from the ground up, Ford had to get creative with the packaging of batteries, using spaces originally designed for the gas-powered version of the car. As a result, some of the batteries are placed where the regular Focus’s gas tank would be, but the main battery pack is under the liftgate, reducing hatch cargo space by 39 percent, to just 14.5 cubic feet. Don’t expect to fit more than few bags of groceries.

Safety

The Focus Electric performed well in safety and crash tests from both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That means “Good” and “5-star” ratings—the highest possible scores—across the board except for Small Overlap Front test, which is a relatively new measure. Carmakers have thus far struggled to achieve top marks in this test, but the Focus’s “Acceptable” rating means it still earns the IHA’s “Top Safety Pick” designation.

Safety features on the vehicle include the full array of airbags, as well as 4-wheel ABS, 4-wheel disc brakes, brake assist, electronic stability control, integrated turn signal mirrors, and traction control.

Price

The MSRP starting price for the 2018 Ford Focus Electric is $29,120 before federal and state incentives are considered. (Destination fee is $825.) This price makes the Focus Electric an enticing proposition: a net purchase price after incentives of less than $22,000; or a monthly lease of about $200 per month. Better lease exist depending on your timing and location.

Purchase Process

According to company press releases, more than 900 Ford dealers have been certified to sell electric cars. But we've heard stories about sales staff having no information about the vehicle—and in fact, discouraging people from buying one. In Los Angeles—a red-hot hotspot for EV adoption—one shopper told us that he couldn’t get any information from the dealership about buying a Ford Focus Electric, despite making it crystal clear that he was a customer with cash in hand and ready to buy.

Click on links for searching local inventory or requesting a price quote, on Ford's webpage dedicated to the Focus Electric:
http://www.ford.com/cars/focus/trim/electric/

Ford Focus Electric specifications

Availability: Now
Base MSRP: $29200
Est. tax credit: $7500
Technology: Electric Vehicle
Body type: Sedan
Seats: 5
EPA Range: 115 miles pure electric
Battery size: 23 kWh
Charging rate: 6.6 kW

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