The future of electric vehicles is uncertain; however, the current product offerings provide a clear picture of the capabilities of this nascent powertrain.  The Ford Focus Electric vehicle is a definitive example of this.  I was able to drive the Focus last week in Santa Monica, California along with the only other full electric vehicle currently in the market, the Nissan Leaf.  Both vehicles offered the expected capabilities of a daily driver by exhibiting excellent performance in a variety of everyday situations like high speed passing, off the line performance and good maneuverability.  However, unlike the Leaf, the Ford Focus Electric is not a brand in itself, but instead is an extension of the new Focus lineup built on the very capable new C-Car global platform. 

The result is that the styling of the Focus Electric is much more subdued. Unlike the Leaf and the seemingly endless Toyota Priis we saw during our drive in Santa Monica; the Electric Focus sports conservative badging and a unique stylish front fascia instead of having a unique exterior design.  The Focus Electric’s styling supports Ford’s “Power of Choice” strategy, which offers consumers with a choice of powertrains including this all electric model, a future plug-in hybrid, and the impressive EcoBoost engines with the trade off of not having an overtly designed electric and hybrid vehicle offering.  Ford’s strategy of flexible powertrains available across the vehicle lines maximizes flexible production along the C-Car platform.  This strategy alleviates Ford from encountering massive marketing costs to promote the electric vehicle lineups, which in turn enables them to keep volume expectations subdued a problem the Leaf and Volt have already been criticized for, and also allows for driving characteristics that rival normally aspirated competitors. 

The Focus Electric is a great driving car that enhances driving dynamics through immediate power availability and seamless torque performance, but will marvel you with the unobtrusive technology throughout the vehicle.  There are technology cues and features that will keep the forward thinking consumer interested while relieving range anxiety and also providing enough image cues to give these consumers bragging rights.  The features include a variety of ways to monitor performance within the instrument cluster, battery availability including a screen that uses butterflies as an indicator of battery efficiency.  The Focus Electric also features a light ring surrounding the charging port that gives information on the charge status by sending a soothing rhythm of blue pulses to your audience when you walk your dinner guests out to your garage to show off your environmental awareness.  Of course there are apps to load on your Smartphone providing information on your vehicle while also enabling you to brag about your energy efficiency and post your exploits on social media sites. 

The Focus Electric’s range of 76 mile range per charge is well within the range necessary for most commuters, and the 4 hour charge time when using a very cool looking 240 charging station installed by your local Geek Squad should satisfy most driver’s needs.   For the driver looking for an environmentally friendly vehicle packed with technology the Ford Focus Electric is a surefire option.