The new Ford Focus Electric- the company's first-ever all-electric passenger car-- debuted on Jan. 7. "Focus Electric is the flagship of our new family of electrified vehicles, showcasing our commitment to offer consumers choice when it comes to fuel-efficient or fuel-free vehicles," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president for Global Product Development.
"Its advanced powertrain will deliver significant energy efficiency advantages and zero CO2 emissions without compromising driving enjoyment. And its suite of smart driver information technologies will transform the way customers think about energy usage and their transportation needs,"Kuzak explained.
Both Focus gasoline and electric variants to be sold in North America in late 2011 and 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.
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 that helps plug-in owners control their vehicles remotely.
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 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/heated battery pack.
A full recharge is expected to take three to four hours at home with the 240-volt charge station half the charge time of the Nissan Leaf.
Were very excited about the potential of Focus Electric in the marketplace. With so many of us accustomed to recharging mobile electronics on a daily basis, were confident our customers will take to the vehicle recharging process just as easily, because that's exactly what it is easy," said Nancy Gioia, Ford director of Global Electrification.
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.
The app can:
• Monitor the car's state of charge and current range
• Get alerts when it requires charging or has finished charging
The feature also allows the owner to program the vehicle to use electricity from the grid to heat or cool the battery and cabin while plugged in called preconditioning. For example, during hot summer months, owners can preprogram the car the evening before to be fully charged - and fully cooled to a particular temperature by a certain time the following morning.
The new Focus Electric also offers a unique value charging feature, powered by Microsoft, to help owners in the U.S. charge their vehicles at the cheapest utility rates, lowering the cost of ownership.
"Value charging allows our customers to reduce their electricity costs by taking advantage of off-peak or other reduced rates from their utility without a complicated set-up process," said Ed Pleet, manager, Ford Connected Services Organization. "This is a 'set it and forget it' approach for the customer to reduce energy cost.
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 systems temperature to a level that allows it to efficiently accept charge energy and provide enough discharge power for expected vehicle performance.