Consumer news
2:22 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

Ford unveiling all-new Focus electric car in Seattle

Seattle's Century Link Field is again the location for the unveiling of a new all-electric car. 

The Nissan Leaf debuted here nearly a year ago. Tomorrow morning there will be a demonstration of the plug-in technology at the charging stations near the stadium – to mark the opening of order banks for owning the new Ford electric vehicle. 

As soon as that site goes live, customers can get in line to get one, with delivery taking a few months.

Mike Tinskey, Ford's Director of Global Electrification and Infrastructure, says they view their strategy as "more of a marathon than a sprint." 

The Ford Focus all-electric has the same look as its gas-burning twin – but just like the Leaf, it plugs in and burns no fossil fuels. Speaking on a cell phone on his way to Seattle from the factory in Detroit, Ford’s Mike Tinsky says the reason it looks so similar is because its frame is the same. It’s just the engine that’s different. So once the orders start coming in, customer demand can determine exactly how many they make.

“And we’re gonna maintain our flexibility and let the customers choose what they want.”

It might be more expensive to own a new Ford electric than a LEAF, because it’s not part of the same public-private partnership that’s been building nearly a thousand charging stations around the northwest and subsidizing them in people’s homes.

But Ecoltality’s Rich Feldman says the public chargers can be used by all the new e-cars out there – including the Chevy Volt, the Nissan Leaf, and the new Ford Focus EV.

‘Any of the cars that are being produced are all being built to the same standard that those charging stations are built to.”

And local technology companies have put in embedded software to help drivers navigate the fastest way through traffic and find locations of charging stations. High tech firms involved include Airbiquity and INRIX.

How to responsibly dispose of electric car batteries is an ongoing challenge, but Ford says with demand growing, the revenue to research that will be there – the company says they think they can solve that problem in the 8 to 10 years they expect the first generation batteries to last.