Ford released more details about its upcoming line of electrified vehicles this week, including its C-Max Hybrid, C-Max Energi, and Focus Electric. One thing is clear, too: it’s aiming to make each of the three fierce competitors in the growing EV market.
For starters, Ford boasts that the Focus Electric will be the first car available with both more than 100 MPGe and five seats. It’s important to consider the five seats, of course, because the Mitsubishi i electric vehicle technically seats four and returns about 112 MPGe on the EPA combined cycle. The Nissan Leaf, the Focus Electric’s chief competitor, delivers a combined 99 MPGe. Chevrolet’s Volt, when running on electricity alone, returns 94 MPGe, but seats only four. One small downside to going electric: the Focus's battery pack partially intrudes into the cargo area, raising the floor a few inches.
Ford also reports that thanks to new battery charging technology -- a 6.6-kilowatt on-board charger, as opposed to the 3.3-kW one used by competitors -- it now takes three to four hours to charge the car on a 240-volt outlet, as opposed to the eight hours needed to recharge the Leaf. That battery pack is made of lithium-ion cells supplied by LG Chem and, unlike that found in the Leaf, is liquid-cooled and warmed. To take advantage of the faster charging time, Focus EV owners will need to buy a special 32-amp home charger built by Leviton, which Ford says costs about $1499 including installation.
Ford also dished about the hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants of its upcoming C-Max people mover. Ford shies away from providing any MPG estimates, but promises it will travel further on a gallon of gasoline than its closest competitor, the Toyota Prius v. The automaker also proclaims the C-Max Energi plug-in will deliver a better MPGe than the Prius PHEV model, and travel a full 500 miles on a single tank of fuel. If so, that eclipses the Volt’s 310-mile estimated range. The C-Max battery pack will be assembled at Ford's Rawsonville plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, while the cars themselves will be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan.
The cars’ party piece, however, is an updated version of MyFord Touch that provides detailed information about electric driving. One screen displays virtual butterflies to remind drivers how much range remains -- each butterfly represents one mile of driving. Information includes an eco guide that prompts its drivers to conserve fuel during braking and acceleration, and along with a function that allows Focus Electric and C-Max Energi owners find charging points or schedule home charging to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates.
The Focus Electric was opened to orders from customers in California, New York, and New Jersey last month, and orders will open to 15 other markets next year. The C-Max line will arrive at showrooms in the third quarter of next year.