Ford Boosts EV Marketing with Lincoln Exec

By · October 23, 2012

Focus Electric

The Focus Electric has zero emissions and a driving range of roughly 76 miles between charges.

There's good news for Ford Motor Company’s effort to promote a growing lineup of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. C.J. O’Donnell,
previously the marketing chief of the Lincoln brand, is now tasked with promoting Ford’s range of hybrids and electric vehicles. These include plug-in hybrids, such as the Ford C-Max Energi and upcoming Fusion Energi, along with dedicated EVs like the Focus Electric. Despite a highly anticipated launch, the Focus EV has been a particularly low seller since its limited release earlier this year.

The Forgotten Ford EV

There is much to like about Ford’s foray into the pure electric vehicle market. An overall driving range of 76 miles is more than a match for its more established competition, particularly the Nissan LEAF, which had been on sale for about 18 months before the electric-powered Focus arrived on the scene. The Focus EV’s 6.6 kW on-board charger gives it quicker recharging times than the LEAF, though the Ford’s steep (pre-rebate) price of $39,995 makes it more expensive than the Nissan—and much more expensive than the highest trim level of any gasoline-powered Focus. If Ford makes the effort, sales should improve later this year and into early-2013, if only because the Focus Electric will finally be available in 19 additional metropolitan markets. Sales have originally been limited to only New York, New Jersey, and California.


With a starting price of $29,995 and EV driving range of approximately 20 miles, the C-Max Energi is an easier sell to the majority of car buyers.

The Push for Hybrids and Plug-Ins

Ford’s commitment to hybrids and plug-in hybrids appears stronger, at least during this early stage in the company’s promotion of alternative energy vehicles. The C-Max Energi has an EV-only operating range of approximately 20 miles, which easily bests the EV range of the Prius Plug-In Hybrid. More importantly, the C-Max Energi’s base price is $29,995, making it the cheapest plug-in hybrid vehicle presently on sale in the U.S.—this boast does vary depending on the model and trim level, especially when compared with the Prius Plug-In. No matter how you debate the numbers, the C-Max Energi makes a stronger economic case for itself than the pricier and more limited (in terms of range) Focus EV.

Getting the word out about Ford’s full-electrics, plug-ins, and hybrid models is not going to be an easy task. Speaking with the Detroit Free Press, Ford spokesman Paul Harrison referred to O’Donnell’s move from Lincoln as “good news for the strategic work we need to do” in terms of promoting these eco-themed vehicles. The American auto giant might have products that match competitors from Toyota and Nissan, at least when it comes to driving range and charging times. Yet more work is definitely needed when it comes to pushing the blue oval brand to the forefront of EV awareness.


· · 5 years ago

Interesting news, but a poorly written article. By the end, I completely forgot what it was supposed to be about. What about telling us more about the Lincoln Exec, and less about the cars with which most of us area already familiar?

· · 5 years ago

Ford seems to be doing a great job of marketing these plug-in vehicles, but a poor job of getting them to the dealerships. I called several dealerships in the Portland OR area and they have zero plug-in vehicles available for a test drive. Whereas, I can test drive a Leaf, Volt, and even a Tesla Model S within a few miles from my house.

· Jesse Gurr (not verified) · 5 years ago

It feels like Ford just made O'Donnell in charge of reviving Lincoln and now they moved him? Maybe Ford really doesn't care that much about Lincoln. Hopefully they get someone who is about as skilled as O'Donnell was. Not that I know how skilled he was since these articles really don't say.

Focus Electric is only available in N.Y., N.J., and California so far which is probably why you don't have them in Portland. Also the C-Max Energi is not out yet but will be soon. They have the plug ins, just not widely available yet it seems.

· Richard Camp (not verified) · 5 years ago

@Brian, Are you interested in hearing more about Mr. O'Donnell, or are you mistaking the term "Lincoln Exec" as a car, instead of a person?

@Patrick, I just found a Portland dealership that has a Focus EV in stock (test drives only, not for sale). See Landmark Ford dealership. You're right about the lack of EV's available on Ford lots ... I keep hearing about them, but they are no where to be seen.

· ford_ev (not verified) · 5 years ago

The Ford Focus Electric is available in Massachusetts at Sentry Lincoln (Medford) and Stoneham Ford as of the 2nd week of October. One can take a test drive (at least at Stoneham Ford).

· · 5 years ago

Its interesting that when the Ford Focus was coming out a lot of people thought with its liquid cooled battery, its better range and it 6.6k/w charger it would do well against the leaf. I know it's only available in limited markets but that's no ones fault except Fords and the Focus has sold 236 units against over 38,000 for the leaf. Plus the leaf has had a hell of a bad press lately.

· grumpy (not verified) · 5 years ago

Ford seems to have a hard time breaking Toyota's grip on the hybrid market. The first generation Fusion hybrid is a great car and was a much better hybrid than the same generation Camry. How the Camry still managed to kill the Fusion in terms of sales boggles the mind. Let's hope for better luck on round 2 (C-max and 2013 Fusion).

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 5 years ago

Do you think its because of the "My Ford Touch"? Consumer Reports (a private testing agency and periodical in the USA) says, to use its technical term: "Stinks". hehe.

· · 5 years ago

Compared to the LEAF, the Focus EV has less trunk space, lacks a DC Fast Charge port, and is priced significantly higher. That does not seem like a winning combination.

6.6 kW Level 2 charging while away from home sure would be nice compared to the 3.3 kW on my LEAF, though. But then again, the upcoming 2013 LEAF should offer 6.6 kW charging, and that is only important when DC Fast Chargers are not available.

The strongest reason I can think of to go with the Focus EV is for the liquid cooled battery pack for those in hot climates. If you are in a place like Phoenix, this consideration ought to trump everything else.

· · 5 years ago

@abasile: "Compared to the LEAF, the Focus EV has less trunk space"

That's putting it mildly. I got the opportunity to test drive a FFE, and the "trunk" was a joke. You could maybe fit a laptop case on top of that battery pack without blocking the view of the rear mirror. Contrast that to the Leaf, which has the deepest trunk I've ever seen (right down to the bottom of the car!)

The trunk space was the #1 reason I went with a Leaf. #2 was the price - did you know that the entry level Volt is currently cheaper than the entry level FFE? Who do they think they're kidding with that price?!?

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

If you remove the organizer from the trunk of the focus, it has a lot more space. Still less than the leaf. The leaf has a higher roofline which helps the interior space.

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