DEARBORN, MI - Ford Motor Co. unveiled its all-new Focus Electric -- the company's first all-electric passenger car -- at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas 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."
The Focus Electric, set to launch in late 2011, is designed to offer enough range to cover the majority of daily driving habits of Americans. A full recharge is expected to take three to four hours at home with the 240-volt charge station.
Focus Electric introduces new features and technologies, including a version of the MyFord Touch driver connect system designed for electric vehicles, a new charging feature powered by Microsoft, and a smartphone app called MyFord Mobile that helps plug-in owners control their vehicles remotely.
The five-door 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.
Focus Electric is one of five new electrified vehicles included in Ford's electrification strategy. The car offers a host of standard safety and security features including six airbags and electronic traction control, along with hands-free SYNC telephone connectivity and MyKey for North America. Extensive eco-friendly materials, such as bio-foam seat cushions and recycled fabrics, also are featured in the vehicle.
Future owners of the Focus Electric will likely recharge the car's 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 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.
"We're 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, we're 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.
Focus Electric owners will be provided with a suite of driver information systems -- on-board and off-board -- designed to help them manage the recharge process, manage the most eco-friendly route on-board, monitor battery state of charge and maximize energy efficiency to optimize their driving range, according to Ford.
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, Ford said.
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.
"Focus Electric is the culmination of years of research and development," said Kuzak. "More importantly, it's the start of an exciting new era for Ford and our customers."
Originally posted on Green Fleet Magazine