By CHRIS JACKETT
DEARBORN – Environmentally aware drivers soon will have a friendlier vehicle from Ford Motor Co.
The auto giant announced Nov. 15 it would release the Focus Electric late next year. The vehicle – which is Ford’s first all-electric, zero carbon dioxide-emissions passenger car – will be available in 19 select markets, including Detroit. The markets were chosen based on commuting patterns, existing hybrid purchase trends, utility company collaboration and local government commitment to electric vehicles.
On a full charge, the Focus Electric’s 23-kilowatt-per-hour, lithium-ion battery is expected to help the vehicle travel up to 100 miles of gas-free driving. Charging the vehicle will require simply plugging it into a 120-volt or 240-volt outlet.
“There is a great deal of excitement for the Focus Electric across America, and Ford wants to build on this enthusiasm by making our first all-electric passenger vehicle available in as many pilot markets as possible,” said Mark Fields, president of the Americas for Ford Motor Co., in a statement. “This is the first step in rolling out the Focus Electric. As the country continues to build up its electric vehicle infrastructure and demand for the Focus Electric grows, Ford will continue to evaluate additional markets and consider making this vehicle available in more cities across the country.”
The vehicle will be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant in nearby Wayne, alongside the gasoline version of the Focus.
In an effort to educate the public on the upcoming line of electric vehicles, Ford launched www.fordvehicles.com/technology/electric in October. The site is quick to note that the company was the first to introduce a hybrid sport utility vehicle to the auto market, while also providing links to learn more about current 2011 hybrid versions of the Fusion and Escape.
A Transit Connect Electric small commercial van, two next-generation lithium-ion battery hybrids and a plug-in hybrid also are on deck for production in North America and Europe.
The day following the announcement, stocks for Ford Motor Co. hit a 52-week high of $17.42 per share, according to the New York Stock Exchange.
(Contact Chris Jackett at [email protected])