Ford Focus Electric Rollout Continues to Crawl

By · May 10, 2012

Certified Ford dealers

67 Ford dealerships are now certified to sell the Focus Electric. However, the electric vehicles won't arrive until June.

In March, we questioned the slow rollout of the Ford Focus Electric. That’s why it was gratifying to see Ford announce last week that 67 dealers had been certified to begin selling the EV in the next few weeks. The certification includes things like installing charging stations and making sure that “80 percent of the sales and service staff at each location must meet specific electric vehicle training certification requirements,” according to Ford's press release.

But then I ran into a friend in Los Angeles this week who called Ford’s dealership in Santa Monica—a red hot hotspot for EV adoption—but couldn’t get any information from the dealership about buying a Ford Focus Electric, despite making it crystal clear that he was a customer with cash in hand and ready to buy. Maybe that's just one anecdote, rather than any sign of trouble.

I asked Eric Kuehn, Ford’s chief engineer for global electrified programs, about the Santa Monica situation. I’ve been in touch with Eric, related to my review of the Focus Electric in The New York Times last week. The car a great drive, and I enjoyed the faster charger than the one on my LEAF—although the Focus's pricing and limited cargo space is challenging.

Eric didn’t know specifically about Santa Monica, but said that in Phase One, only selected dealers will do through the certification process. “Not all Ford dealers are part of Phase One,” he said. “Any given Ford dealer or sales person might not necessarily know about the car yet.”

Still, this raises some doubts about previous statement that Focus Electric would be available in "early 2012"—and more recent pronouncements about cars in California, New York and New Jersey “later in the spring,” followed by 19 additional markets in the fall. Let’s hope that any delays are small hiccups in communications and execution, and that it’s only a matter of weeks before we see EVs with the blue oval hitting the streets.

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