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Our new Ford Focus Electric exposes a challenge in buying an EV

Consumer Reports News: July 23, 2012 11:08 AM

We just took delivery of our very own Ford Focus Electric, adding another green machine to our test fleet. And as with the other electrified cars, buying the Focus EV required a bit more creativity and effort than purchasing traditional vehicles.

To get our Focus, we had to travel to Westchester County, New York, about 100 miles away from our Connecticut test track, and notably some 25 miles farther than the car's electric range allows in one hop. (Thus far, the Focus Electric is only on sale in California, New Jersey, and New York.)

Having strategically positioned a tow vehicle and trailer at about the half way point, we set off from the Rye, New York dealership with a 64 miles of driving range registering on Focus's onboard computer. (The EPA pegs the Focus's maximum range at 76 miles.)

I tooled north on I-95 at a steady 60 mph. Throughout its maiden voyage, our frost-green Focus Electric served up a taut-yet-supple ride and every prod of the "gas" pedal delivered immediate response. (Read our previous impressions of the Focus Electric.)

Ford-Focus-EV-r-just-in.jpgThe Focus Electric also preserves the agility of the regular Focus and is in all respects a dynamically sophisticated, fully-developed car—unlike some EVs we've tried in the recent past. (Read: "Purpose-built electric cars trump manufacturer-converted models.")

As I approached my destination with 27 miles left on the range meter, I tipped into the throttle a little more and reveled in the car's immediate power delivery and decisive launch. This car, incidentally, is governed to an 84 mph maximum speed. With its 143 horsepower and 184 foot-pounds of torque, the Focus Electric just might be the most fun-to-drive version of the Focus line, yet. (That is until the Focus ST comes out, with 252-hp.)

The initial price of $40,990 may seem like a lot for the Focus EV (including the sole option of leather upholstery), and it is. But that price is not far off from the Nissan Leaf and semi-electric Chevrolet Volt, and it doesn't factor the $7,500 federal tax break.

After its break-in miles, our Focus Electric will enter formal testing to establish its performance, energy consumption, charge times, range limits, and so forth.

Visit our guide to alternative fuels and vehicles.

Gabe Shenhar

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