Ford has been producing its Focus model since 1998. During the last two years the company has been showing different model variations to take advantage of power systems that don’t eat gallons of gas at the pumps, especially since the cost doubled recently. Their latest version, the 240 volt electric version, rolled off the production line just in time for Google to receive an early Christmas present: the first model off the line.
The customer demands a car that doesn’t take a week’s pay out of every month to fill the gas tank, but whether Ford (and its competitors) is responding to customer needs or customer wishes, the race is well and truly under way to produce a vehicle that is both low in fuel cost and drives like a superior auto.
The first item on most vehicle owners’ checklist isn’t how green the auto is, although that is the desired discussion after purchase. The running cost is now the main priority for most drivers, but the extra expense to buy a so called green vehicle will keep oil production booming for years to come.
What will it cost?
You will need $39,200 to purchase the vehicle, but you can deduct the $7,500 federal income tax credit. The regular Ford Focus usually arrives at between $16,000 and $22,000. Do the math. Once you know how much each recharge is going to cost you (including adding that 240 volt electric connection to your home) you will find that the extra cost is equal to around 3,000 gallon of gas at the pump.
If you previously managed 35 miles to the gallon, your new Ford Electric will need to run for just over 100,000 miles to reach the breakeven point. Is the standard vehicle owner going to wait that long just to purchase a green alternative? Are you expecting to sell the auto to make a new purchase before you reach 100,000 miles? If so, that negates the financial benefits?
No more gas station visits
If you can afford to buy this green car, you will be entering a world of many advantages. You won’t need to visit a gas station again, unless you run out of charge and electric charging stations increase around the US.
You will avoid buying that extra cola drink and chocolate bar that you can’t help collecting when you thought you were only paying for your gas.
You won’t need to discuss miles per gallon with your friends ever again, although Ford has been quick to bring you a display to show you the equivalent miles per gallon in its range view monitor, showing you how far you can drive on your electric charge.
On the plus side, charging the Ford will take 3-4 hours, less than the Chevrolet Volt. Included in the purchase price you will receive a cord which will plug into your 110 volt supply, but for a longer charging period.
A brake coach display will show you how to use your brakes to recharge your batteries as you drive. That piece of fun should keep your eyes off the road, just as miles per gallon displays do with gas powered autos when you accelerate hard.
For those who long for one of those fun start/stop buttons on the dashboard, this Ford gives you one. As long as you have the key fob in your pocket or close to the vehicle, you can press the start button to start the silent motor.
For those more interested in how the auto drives, you can run 100 miles on a fully charged battery pack reaching a maximum of 84 miles per hour top speed. That should aid a large amount of the population to get to work and back and remain inside the speed limits.
The new lithium-ion battery system is designed to reduce energy loss and heat generation while reducing your carbon footprint substantially. Finally Ford gets to the part we are really all interested in – what part can society play in reducing the high oil element of gas production just to move people and products around the country and how much are you prepared to pay for that privilege to stay within your confines of enjoying your auto drive?
The vehicle will be a real winner for all but the oil companies when the price becomes sensible. Until then, the real world of going green with your auto stays a myth for most Americans unless you are a celebrity and must be seen in your gas/electric Prius.
Olivia Lennox is an eco-conscious freelance writer based in London, UK, where electric cars are just starting to become practical. She travels by G-Wiz and sleeps on a tempurpedic mattress with organic linen – truly