Three Years with a Ford Focus Electric - Review | Inside EVs

Ford Focus Electric Vehicle

Vehicles / July 28, 2017

Such is the reality of driving an EV in a world with an infrastructural focus—no pun intended—on hydrocarbons. Aerodynamic drag grows exponentially, so as soon as any electric vehicle hits freeway speed the driver can watch the projected range drop faster than the miles pass by. Likewise, a few bursts of maximum acceleration will put an outsize dent in the remaining distance available to travel. All electrics—all cars, actually—are like this; Ford’s isn’t unique. The only difference with this Focus is that the conventional version’s 12-gallon gas tank stores more than 17 times the energy that can be packed into the Focus Electric’s 23.0-kWh lithium-ion battery. Feather-foot the accelerator and cap your speed at 55 mph, and the full EPA range might be within reach. Ford says a fully drained battery can be recharged in 3.6 hours at 240 volts, or 20 hours using common household 120-volt circuitry.

If you have charging available near your work or school, however, the financial windfall of no longer being shackled to a gas pump is enviable. This is especially so when there’s no fee for plugging in away from home. Our 300 miles in the Focus cost us less than $15 worth of electricity. You’d have to average 40 mpg—not just while cruising on the highway, but overall—using $2-per-gallon gas to come close to the same cost-per-mile. (We averaged 33 mpg in a 1.0-liter Focus sedan we tested last May.) While it may not seem like a lot, the savings eventually add up, and they’ll add up faster if the cost of a gallon of gasoline rises over the ownership period. Set aside any concerns about carbon footprint and think about convenience. Never having to visit a gas station? Always leaving the house with a full “tank, ” assuming you install a 240-volt connection, saves hours of your life every year. What’s that worth?

As it is today, Ford says the Focus Electric is worth $30, 045, in MSRP terms. There are very few options: Buyers can throw another $995 into it to get leather upholstery and $60 for a plug-shaped charge-port graphic decal. An Exterior Protection package (splash guards and a rear-bumper protector) will ding you another $245; fancy paint can add $395 or $595. The price squares up against that of the 24.0-kWh Nissan Leaf S, before any tax credits. (The pricier 30-kWh Leaf SV claims 107 miles of range, longer than Ford’s target for the upgraded 2017 Focus Electric.)