Thursday, March 15, 2012

All-New Focus Electric Rakes In Leaf’s Mileage Title

Ford recently gained new momentum in the fuel-efficiency race, as its Focus Electric earned the highest EPA mileage rating of any five-passenger vehicle in the United States. Currently arriving at select Ford dealerships, Ford’s new electric vehicle nets an impressive 110 MPGe in the city and 99 MPGe on the highway, shooting past most of the electric and hybrid vehicles on the market.

The Ford Focus Electric boasts a combined rating of 105 MPGe, which bests the Nissan Leaf by 6 MPGe. Ford’s electric compact surpasses the Leaf when it comes to charging and stamina as well, fully recharging in nearly half the time, about four hours, and featuring an EPA-estimated range of 76 miles. Depending on factors like traffic, weather and driving practices, Ford reports the Focus Electric can travel up to 100 miles on a single charge.

“The Focus Electric’s efficiency numbers are staggering, but the more impressive thing is that it gets there using the existing body of the gas-powered Focus,” said Alan Melkonian, owner and general manager of Massachusetts Ford dealership Stoneham Ford. “The current gas-only Focus can already get up to 40 mpg, and now Ford has introduced an electric vehicle that has a more comfortable interior and more passenger room than the Leaf. A great car like the Focus meant Ford didn’t have to go back to the drawing board like other automakers.”

Ford’s strategy of electrifying its existing models is intended to improve cost effectiveness and productivity in a market where manufacturers like Nissan and Chevy have thus far suffered as a result of creating electric vehicles from scratch. The Focus Electric is built on the same production line as the gas-powered Focus, giving Ford the flexibility to deal with varying customer demand. The automaker is continuing that approach later this year with the launch of the revamped 2013 Fusion Hybrid and all-new Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid.

Both 2013 Fusion hybrid models are projected by Ford to get the best mileage in their class according to their respective powertrain categories. The plug-in Energi aims to be the most fuel-efficient midsize sedan on the market, with Ford predicting it to get more than 100 MPGe in electric-only mode. Meanwhile, the Fusion Hybrid is expected to take the fuel-economy crown in its non-rechargeable midsize class, featuring a 47-mpg predicted rating.

For all its attention on the hybrid models, Ford is by no means neglecting gas-only versions of the all-new Fusion. The automaker will be offering both a 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine on the 2013 Fusion, giving owners a solid balance of power and fuel efficiency. While Ford expects the 1.6-liter EcoBoost to return a best-in-class 37 mpg on the highway, the 2.0-liter Fusion EcoBoost will provide customers the option of a fuel-efficient performance model.

“Ford is hitting fuel efficiency from all angles in a smart, practical way,” Melkonian added. “Its customers get a great selection of models and a choice of how they are powered, while it reaps the benefits of streamlined production and better quality control. The new Fusion will be a prime example of that when it arrives at our dealership later this year.”