2012 Ford Focus Electric Review

4 Май 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи 2012 Ford Focus Electric Review отключены
Ford Electric Cars

2012 Ford Focus Electric

Early testers find a lot to like about the new-for-2012 Ford Focus Electric (Base MSRP: $39,200). Compared with its arch-rival, the 2012 Nissan Leaf (Base MSRP: $35,200 to $37,250). the Focus Electric charges nearly twice as fast — and most experts say it drives more like a normal car than the Leaf. So far, they like the Focus Electric better than the other electric car on the market, the smaller, cheaper-feeling Mitsubishi i-MiEV (Base MSRP: $29,125 to $31,125) .

But the Focus Electric costs $2,000 to $4,000 more than the Leaf (all three electric cars qualify for the same $7,500 maximum federal tax credit, plus additional tax credits in some states). The launch markets for the Focus Electric are California, New York and New Jersey. Fifteen more are due by the end of the year.

Like every other pure electric car to date, the Focus Electric comes with a whole host of compromises, says Andrew Frankel at Edmunds Inside Line. Two biggies: It costs twice as much as the cheapest gas-powered Focus, and you can only drive it an EPA-estimated 76 miles before you have to plug it in to recharge.

But that’s the price you pay with any electric car, Frankel says. To those willing to pay it, the 2012 Ford Focus Electric is another solid choice in a very limited segment.

If electric cars’ limited range makes you nervous, plug-in hybrid cars like the 2012 Chevrolet Volt (Base MSRP: $39,145) erase that drawback: They carry a gas backup engine, so you won’t get stranded if your battery runs dry. The Volt qualifies for the same tax credits, too.

‘Handsome’ — just like a regular Focus

No stares, no pointing. Unlike the stick-out-in-a-crowd Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Ford Focus Electric gets the same acclaimed styling as the regular Focus four-door hatchback, except for a different grille and a little Electric badge.

Autoblog.com’s Steven J. Ewing, for one, is grateful. We can’t tell you how often we were stared and pointed at while driving the Nissan and Mitsubishi, and being the center of attention gets old. Fast.

In my week with the Focus, I was E.V.-incognito, says Bradley Berman at The New York Times. Not once did I receive a curious glance from a pedestrian or fellow roadway denizen. Berman prefers the handsome Focus Electric to his own Nissan Leaf, which he says looks like a Japanese gizmo.

Edmunds.com says, While the handsome exterior of this new Focus might be what initially sets the hook, it’s the total transformation of the passenger cabin that will reel you in. The interior is attractive and quiet, and the materials are best-in-class. The Focus Electric gets the same treatment.

Sit in the low-slung, well-conforming seats and you feel oh-so normal, Berman says. There are no circuit-board motifs, techno start-up sounds, weird shifter knobs or special Eco modes. The driver chooses among standard gear selections: park, reverse, neutral, drive and low.

Of course, you do get some different gauge readouts — including one with fluttering butterflies to show you how eco-friendly you’re driving.

Loaded with features and quality, but small backseat and trunk

The Focus Electric seats five — but backseat legroom is tight, just like in the regular Focus. The electric’s battery gobbles a lot of trunk space, though. Ford doesn’t say how much, but Car and Driver’s Tony Quiroga says there’s barely enough room back there for a set of golf clubs. Edmunds.com warns, Don’t expect to fit much more than a duffel bag or two, and The New York Times’ Berman finds room for a few bags of groceries but nothing more.

The Focus Electric does include a built-in two-tier cargo organizer to make the most of the trunk space.

Otherwise, testers find the Focus Electric comfortable — and quiet. Battery-powered cars are intrinsically quiet, the motor sound falling between a whir and a whisper, Berman says. But the Focus is deep-space silent, the quietest of the many electric cars I’ve driven.

The engineers told me they used extra insulation and sound damping.

The Focus Electric comes in a single trim level, nearly fully loaded. The only options are Blue Candy ($395) or White Platinum ($495) paint and leather seats ($995). Eco-friendly cloth comes standard.

Ford adds some electric-specific tech goodies, too. The standard navigation system will double-check your route to make sure you’ve got enough power. Using your Apple iOS or Android device, you can remotely preheat or pre-cool the Focus Electric while you’re still plugged in (so your climate control will gobble less power on the road), program charge times and monitor how much charge it has accumulated so far.

Punchy and fun by some critics’ standards — but not others

Most testers say the Focus Electric drives a lot like a regular Focus — and that’s a good thing.

You get the regular car’s solid chassis, refined manners, precise steering and playful character, says Quiroga at Car and Driver. Autoblog.com’s Ewing says that — like the regular Focus — the Focus Electric is smooth, predictable and easy to manage, while offering a surprising amount of driver engagement.

Contrast that with the Nissan Leaf, which Quiroga says drives like a fridge. The Leaf is a lot less involving and gratifying to drive; it’s more simulation than stimulation. Another prominent source likewise finds the Focus Electric nicer to drive than a Leaf.

Edmunds Inside Line’s Frankel disagrees. He says the Focus Electric seems heavy and slow-witted compared with the regular Focus. He blames the heavy lithium-ion battery and electric motor.

Because it’s an adaptation of an existing car, Ford had to put the heavy stuff where it fit. all where you don’t want it, at the far ends of the car. The Leaf carries its weight in the middle. But Ewing says the heavy battery in the rear actually improves the Focus, which is nose-heavy otherwise.

Is it punchy? Early testers can’t agree. Ewing and Berman, who drove the car for a week, say yes. The Focus Electric’s 107-kW motor generates 143 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, instantly available through the single-speed direct-drive transmission. We found it immensely fun to mash the throttle off the line, delivering the full wallop of torque to the front wheels right from 0 RPM, Ewing says.

Berman reports great acceleration at freeway speeds, too, with rapid bursts of acceleration from 30 to 50 mph, and from 55 to 75, with oomph left in reserve.

But Quiroga says the Focus Electric is no stoplight king. acceleration has the slow grace of a Lincoln Town Car. He says it feels about as fast as the Leaf, which takes about 10 seconds to reach 60 mph.

Frankel finds it slow, too. Like all electric cars it promises much between zero and 20 mph, but it’s given its best by 40 mph and is starting to flag at 60 mph. Ford says it tops out at 84 mph and it sensibly declines to post any official acceleration claims.

Still, thanks to impressive refinement and all that instant torque on tap, the Focus Electric can offer at least a genuinely enjoyable way of passing the time.

The problem is that however you drive it, you won’t be enjoying it for long. The EPA estimates you’ll get 76 miles before you have to park the Focus Electric and plug it in.

Charges faster than the Nissan Leaf

Fuel economy and range are very similar to the Nissan Leaf. The Ford Focus Electric gets the equivalent of 105 mpg (99 mpge for the Leaf) and can run 76 miles on a charge (73 for the Leaf), according to the EPA. In Berman’s week-long test for The New York Times, he found that 76-mile range estimate spot-on. (Ford and Nissan both say you can get 100 miles or more per charge, but that depends on a lot of things — weather, traffic, hills, driving style and the weight of people and stuff in the car).

But the Focus Electric charges much faster on a 240-volt home charging station — about four hours, versus seven hours for the Leaf. Ford will sell you a charging station for $1,500 installed. You’ll probably want one, as the Focus (like the Leaf) can take 20 hours to charge on a regular 120-volt outlet.

Unlike the Leaf, Ford doesn’t offer an optional plug for 30-minute charging at public quick-charge stations.

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EPA Fuel Economy Estimates

City: 110 mpge

Highway: 99 mpge

Combined: 105 mpge

Note that mpge stands for miles-per-gallon equivalent.

Good crash scores, but no reliability data yet

Because they share the same body, the regular Ford Focus’s crash ratings also apply to the Focus Electric. All Focuses carry the usual standard safety features — antilock brakes, traction and stability control and front, front-side and curtain airbags.

We found no reliability predictions for this new model. The Ford Focus Electric carries three-year/36,000-mile basic and five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranties, plus eight years/100,000 miles for the electric component.

NHTSA Safety Ratings (based on 2012 Ford Focus hatchback)

Front Impact: 4 stars

Side Impact: 5 stars

Rollover Resistance: 4 stars

Overall: 4 stars

IIHS Safety Ratings (based on 2012 Ford Focus hatchback)

Front Offset Impact: Good

Side Impact: Good

Rear Impact: Good

Roof Strength: Good

Named 2012 Top Safety Pick

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