Ford Uses Magic Number to Promote Focus Electric: 100 MPGe

By · December 15, 2011

Ford Focus Electric front

Ford expects its Focus Electric to be rated at 100 MPGe.

The 2012 Focus Electric is finally ready to launch, so Ford will do its best to find ways to put its pure EV in a positive light compared to the Nissan LEAF. The company is using this tag line: "The first five-passenger electric vehicle with a 100 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe)."

At 100 MPGe, the Focus Electric is expected to beat the Nissan LEAF by only one MPGe. One-hundred has a nice ring to it, but the claim is splitting hairs. In fact, the Ford Focus Electric's real-world range is expected to be slightly less than the Nissan LEAF's—because it weighs more and has a smaller battery than the LEAF. The Focus weighs in at 3,691 pounds with a 23 kilowatt-hour battery, compared the the LEAF's 3,354 pounds and 24-kWh battery pack.

Nearly a year ago, we did a thorough comparison of the LEAF versus the Focus Electric, and the most important points are still in play. We're looking forward to having real-world customers on real roads to report on daily driving experiences. That's just a few weeks away.

In addition to the nominal 100-mpg claim, Ford will play up the Focus's ability to charge at 6 kilowatts from a 240-volt outlet, allowing it to "charge in half the time of a Nissan LEAF." According to Ford, the Focus Electric can recharge in around three hours, compared to the LEAF's time of six to eight hours. This might be the most important difference (at least until Nissan upgrades the LEAF's charger.) Nearly every night, the only charging my LEAF gets is just after midnight until the wee hours. I'm on a time-of-use plan, so I'd like to keep this schedule. But there are times when the faster charge could come in handy for adding a few more miles from home.

Ford Focus Electric side

Ford touts the Focus' ability to "charge in half the time of a Nissan LEAF.

Ford says the ability to charge more quickly means that owners "can more than double the vehicle’s range with multiple charging stops during a busy day of driving." A plug-in hybrid might be the better choice for drivers needing to charge multiple times on a given day on a regular basis. And if you're driving longer distances and need juice in a hurry, then a 20-minute DC Quick Charge could be the solution. Ford doesn't mention that the Focus Electric doesn't offer the DC Quick Charge port, which comes as an option in the LEAF.

Do you think the slightly better Focus MPG rating and quicker on-board charger is enough to sway consumers to the Focus, and away from the LEAF? Or will price, styling, handling and cargo space make the difference? We'll know soon, when the Ford Focus Electric launches in "limited numbers" in the coming weeks in New York, New Jersey and California. Sometime in 2012, Ford will expand the Focus Electric's availability to include 15 additional markets.

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.