Ford has identified the markets it will target with its debut fleet of Focus Electrics, which is slated for release in just over a year. The chosen few are a variety of cities from coast to coast.
Ford used a number of criteria to determine where best to launch its first electric vehicle, including sustained hybrid purchase trends and local utilities’ commitment to an electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure. The decision wasn’t taken lightly; Ford has been working diligently to ensure grid readiness and build public awareness of EVs for years. In March 2008, Ford and the Electric Power Research Institute partnered to develop ways to integrate EVs into the grid, and that partnership that has since expanded to include Johnson-Controls, Hydro-Quebec, Eaton and others.
The automaker’s utility partners received Ford Escape plug-in hybrids for real-world testing of their battery technology, vehicle systems, customer usage, and grid infrastructure. The utilities also explored the SUVs’ stationary energy storage potential. Meanwhile, to build customer enthusiasm, Ford has conducted a 14-city tour showing drivers just what they should expect from electrified automobiles and outlining the utility cooperation and government support necessary to move the U.S. away from a petroleum-based transportation system. In October, Ford also launched a new website to help consumers understand and differentiate the technologies inside the first crop of EVs.
And just what is Ford promising in terms of performance from the Focus Electric? Nothing less than “the same fun and exciting driving experience as the gasoline powered version.” In fact, the 2012 Focus Electric will be produced on the same line at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne as its gasoline-powered counterpart, but powered instead by a 23 kwh lithium-ion battery produced by LG Chem.
The cities selected are Atlanta, Austin and Houston, Texas; Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Orlando, Fla., Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh Durham, N.C.; Richmond, Va., Seattle, and Washington, D.C.