SEARCH

Entries in Electric Focus (1)

Friday
Jan072011

Ford Debuts Electric Focus to Compete Against Chevy Volt, Other Plug-In Cars

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(DEARBORN, Mich.) -- Ford Motor Company made its modern electric debut Friday, unveiling an electric Ford Focus.

Ford introduced the new Focus not at an auto show, but at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a symbolic break in tradition for a car company eager to supercharge a field crowded with plug-in competition.

For Ford, it's a back-to-the-future story. Henry Ford's wife drove an electric car back in 1914, and now their great-grandson Bill Ford will drive an electric vehicle they couldn't have imagined.

Bill Ford, the executive chairman of the Ford Motor Company, told ABC News in an exclusive interview that electric cars are now critical for the auto giant.

"To me, these are very much about signaling where this company is headed and, frankly, where this country ought to be headed," Ford said.

ABC News was given a chance to test-drive the new model at Ford's Dearborn, Mich. headquarters. Nearly identical to Ford's gasoline Focus hatchback, the new electric car accelerates quickly and quietly, going from zero to sixty in less than 10 seconds.

Unlike GM's Chevy Volt, Ford's electric car has no gasoline engine for backup. It can drive from 80 to 100 miles on a full charge. The car even communicates with smart phones, so a driver can call his car remotely and order it to charge immediately, or wait for utility rates to drop at nighttime.

Ford joins GM, Nissan and Toyota in mass-producing plug-in cars.

In San Diego, Tom Hamilton just bought a Nissan Leaf, with big help from the government. He was granted a $7,500 federal tax break, and another $5,000 break from California for buying electric.

"I paid $35,000-ish, and I got $12,500 back," Hamilton said.

Electrics and hybrids are still a tiny sliver of the car market, making up just 2.39 percent of the market in 2010, according to J.D. Power & Associates. But electrics could account for over 8 percent by 2015 and 10 percent by 2020, the firm says.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio