Amid photos of Ford's flashy new debuts and concept cars from the Detroit auto show, the company has also released images of a light blue Ford Focus concept. The car doesn't wear 22 inch wheels or a dramatic new design. So why is this car important for Ford? It represents part of an aggressive new electric vehicle plan that the company is rushing to bring to market over the next four years.
Although Ford is calling its plan "new," there is little here that we haven't heard before. The first vehicle in the plan is a battery electric commercial van that Ford promised by 2010 as part of the plan it presented to Congress late last year. While Ford hasn't officially said so, the van is likely to be based on the Transit Connect commercial van that goes on sale this summer.
The light blue Focus is an example of what could be Ford's electric small car. The big news here is some of the electrical components in the car come from a new partnership with Canadian auto supplier Magna International. Magna will supply the electric motor, transmission, motor controller, energy storage system, and battery charger for the future EV. The new small car will use a lithium ion battery and will have a range of up to 100 miles.
The company is also working towards launching a plug-in hybrid by 2012. In collaboration with its high-tech partners, Ford hopes to bring its electric-powered vehicles to market quickly and affordably.