Being a Ford fan and someone who’s daily driver is a Ford I decided to check out Ford’s offerings for an all-electric vehicle. The 2016 Ford Focus is the fifth model year of the vehicle and is still Ford’s only all-electric vehicle. Nevertheless, it is Ford’s most energy-efficient vehicle, getting an EPA MPG equivalent of 110 city and 99 highway. It boasts a 23-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that feeds a 143 horsepower electric motor that drives the front wheels. The battery cells are provided by Korean maker LG Chem which also provides cells for the Chevrolet Volt. The battery pack of the Focus is liquid-cooled unlike that of the Nissan Leaf (the world’s most produced all-electric car) which is only air-cooled thus making it more resistant to temperature extremes. The motor has enough horsepower to spin the inside front wheel when accelerating out of turns and despite a heavier overall weight, drivers report handling and acceleration similar to that of the gasoline-powered Focus. Best acceleration occurs during city driving as is the case with nearly all electric cars.
Interestingly, over the five model years, the all-electric Focus has changed very little. Early models had a unique front grille design that set it apart from the gasoline-powered models. However, in 2015 there was a restyle of the gasoline-powered Focus that gave it the same look. Now the only way to tell that it is an electric car is by a few chrome “Electric” door badges and the charging port on the left front fender. Regular car looks may be welcomed by some drivers who want to get the benefits of driving an electric car without appearing flashy or alien. The only change for the 2016 model year is the addition of Ford’s latest infotainment system that promises to be easier to use than that of previous generations.
The all-electric Focus offers a 76 mile range with a fully charged battery which is unfortunately slightly lower than most all-electric cars in its class (the Nissan Leaf has a range of 84 miles and the VW e-Golf has a range of 83 miles). Its range seems even more mediocre when one considers the fact that the 2016 Nissan Leaf is expected to have a 100 mile range. When using a 240-volt Level 2 charging station, the Focus can recharge in no more than four hours. The Focus offers no arrangement for DC quick charging (the Nissan Leaf and VW e-Golf do).
Overall, the 2016 Ford Focus electric car appears to be a good car to get into the all-electric scene, but there are perhaps better options. However, if you are a diehard Ford fan like me, I would wait, I am sure Ford has some upgrades in the works.