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#13

in Upscale Small Cars

MSRP: $29,170 - $29,170
Invoice: $27,202 - $27,202
MPG: N/A
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Ford Focus Electric Performance

Test drivers say that the 2014 Ford Focus Electric is an efficient electric vehicle that is also fun to drive. Most agree that the Focus Electric has powerful off-the-line acceleration, and many say it feels more powerful than the gasoline Focus. Reviewers also write that the Focus Electric has good handling for an EV, with nimble cornering, accurate steering and strong brakes.

  • "A green car can be a fun car, and the Focus Electric is just that. Immediate throttle response imparts the car with a surprisingly sporty character, and, despite the added weight of the battery, this electric Focus handles much like the conventional Focus--which is to say, pretty well." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "So, it looks like a Focus, is as nicely refined inside as a Focus, and - surprise, surprise - it drives like a Focus, too. That is to say, it's smooth, predictable and easy to manage, while offering a surprising amount of driver engagement." -- Autoblog (2012)
  • "While the dynamic performance of Ford's first-ever electric car can best be described as adequate, Ford has done a superior job of integrating electric propulsion into a normal package." -- Automobile Magazine (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The Ford Focus Electric has a 143-horsepower electric motor and a single-speed transmission. The EPA says the Focus Electric gets 110/99 mpg-e (miles per gallon-equivalent) city/highway, which is less than what electric vehicles such as the Chevrolet Spark EV or the Nissan Leaf get, but better than what most plug-in hybrids get. On a fully-charged battery, the Focus Electric can travel 76 miles.

Reviewers say the Focus Electric’s acceleration is quite smooth and very quick from a stop, which helps the Focus Electric zip through heavy traffic. Some critics think it feels more powerful than the gasoline Focus, though one reviewer remarks that acceleration is noticeably weaker at higher speeds.

  • "Its electric motor and direct-drive transmission result in silky smooth power delivery. Acceleration is impressive at low speeds, but tapers off considerably as speeds rise." -- Edmunds
  • "Off the line acceleration was also impressive, and it was too easy to squeal the tires, being used to four-cylinder gas engines without a lot of down-low torque. Though this isn't the car's mission; instead, it's a by-product of the electric motor's might." -- Left Lane News (2013)
  • "Throttle response is immediate and acceleration strong from any speed. Instant power from a stop helps make easy work of negotiating your way through heavy traffic." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "With the equivalent of 141 horsepower, this is a very nicely powered compact car. And, perhaps, it might even be better than its gasoline brother." -- Chicago Tribune (2013)

Alternative Fuels/Charging

The Ford Focus Electric can be charged from a typical 120-volt home outlet or an optional 240-volt quick-charging station. With a 120-volt outlet, Ford says it takes about 20 hours to charge the Focus Electric. Charging time decreases to about four hours with the 240-volt charging station.

  • "When the time comes to recharge, the battery pack can be replenished in four hours with a 240-volt charging station. With a standard 120V wall outlet, however, Ford estimates charge time at a rather lengthy 18-20 hours.” -- Left Lane News

Handling and Braking

Critics say that the Focus Electric’s additional weight makes it less nimble than the gas-powered Focus. However, many critics say that the Focus Electric still handles well, with accurate steering, strong brakes and a suspension that delivers good cornering and a comfortable ride.

  • "Handling is noticeably dulled compared to a non-electric Focus, but compared to other EVs, the Focus Electric makes a good showing." -- Edmunds
  • "Though 600-plus pounds heavier than the convention Focus, the Electric feels very much the same from behind the wheel. Steering is accurate and direct, and cornering is drama free, though the Electric seems to lean a little more that the convention Focus during more aggressive maneuvers." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "The brakes aren't as grabby as we expected, but they do take some getting used to. They produce a quiet thrum from under the hood, a sign that the regenerative system is working." -- Left Lane News (2013)
  • "We like the quite ride and nimble handling." -- Chicago Tribune (2013)
Review Last Updated: 5/13/14

Next Steps: Ford Focus Electric