Park next to a gas-powered Focus hatch, though, and you may notice the hatchback-only Focus Electric is 1.1 inches taller. Even without another Focus around for comparison, you'll notice a few other external changes. The Focus Electric gets unique 17-inch wheels and a new front fascia similar to the high-performance Focus ST concept that recently debuted, complete with Aston Martin-like chrome grille with horizontal slats. There's a few "electric" badges scattered about and there's no tailpipe, of course.
Like the Volt, the Focus Electric has a charging port mounted on its fender between the front wheel and the driver's door. The port is surrounded by a light-up blue ring that relays information about the charging system. When you plug the car in, the blue light races around the ring twice to let you know everything's fine. If there's a problem, the whole ring will flash. During charging, the ring is divided into four quadrants representing states of charge -- 25 percent, 50 percent and so on. Solidly lit quadrants indicate the battery is charged to that level, while blinking quadrants show the approximate current charge level. At face value, it sounds like a more intuitive design than the multi-colored flashing light up on the dash of the Chevy Volt. Charging a dead battery is expected to take 18 to 20 hours on a household 120-volt outlet, but install a 240-volt charger in your home and it will get the job done in three to four hours, half the time it takes a Nissan Leaf on the same voltage.
While the 120-volt charger comes with the car, the 240-volt charger you'll buy from Best Buy. Huh? That's right, when you buy your Focus Electric, you can set up an appointment with consumer electronics retailer Best Buy through your dealer. Not only will Best Buy sell you the charger, but its Geek Squad unit will deliver and install it for you, including any contracting needed to install a 240-volt outlet for the charger to plug into, all of which Best Buy will warranty. The expected price, including installation, is $1499.