Ford Focus BEV

27 Apr, 2012 12:30pm Andrew English

Our verdict on the all-electric version of the big-selling Ford Focus


As with all electric cars, the Focus BEV is hampered by its limited range, long recharging time and high price. That doesn’t take away from the fact that it drives well and feels comfortable. It’s just not a true alternative to a regular petrol or diesel car yet. The plug-in hybrid tech coming for the C-MAX will be a better bet.
This electric Ford Focus could be the most important plug-in car yet. The Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) goes on sale in September and will cost at least £25,000, including the £5,000 Government discount.

The powertrain consists of a lithium-ion battery pack and a 130bhp electric motor, which gives a range of about 100 miles and a 0-60mph time in the region of 9.5 seconds.

Top speed is close to 90mph and a recharge using a standard household plug should take eight hours, although Ford 
has plans to market its own high-current recharging packs.

The car weighs about 200kg more than a petrol-engined Focus, but engineers have done a good job of minimising the impact. Select Drive on the automatic-style selector and the car creeps gently forward in complete silence.

Acceleration from rest is brisk thanks to the 335Nm of torque, but tails off artificially at about 50mph to preserve the battery charge.

The ride is comfortable and the handling is almost as nimble as in a standard Focus, complete with well weighted and responsive steering.

Heat produced when you brake is stored as electrical energy in the batteries, while the brakes feel much smoother than those in a Nissan Leaf.

However, living with the Focus BEV on an everyday basis will prove to be tougher than with a standard Focus. The twin battery packs that provide the power are mounted under the rear seats and in the boot, which reduces the 
luggage space to nearly half that of the regular hatch’s.

In the way it drives and looks, the Focus is one of the best electric cars yet – but it’s still easy to find compromises. 

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"Heat produced when you brake is stored as electrical energy in the batteries"

Are you sure? I thought the kinetic energy stored in the vehicle when braking is converted to electrical energy and stored in the batteries. Or does the vehicle convert kinetic energy to heat then convert it again to electricity?

Another factual error. What are you guys paid for?

Electric cars as we know them just aren't the future... so why do manufacturers all keep designing the same concept when it's proved not that successful? =/

Steelcityuk don't bother bro, those "reporters" aren't usually properly educated anyway.

the heat is the type of energy generated kinetically that is then converted to be stored as electrical energy
the term kinetic energy is a blanket term used to say that what ever the type of energy is be it heat electrical or wind. it is generated through motion, in this case the breaks are applied the friction gives off energy in the form of heat which is then stored.
so steelcityuk do your home work befor trying to be mr clever and talking down ae for there factual legitimacy.

Total rubbish, this appeals on no grounds at all, it will be very handy to have in a power cut. Nobody will pay the rip off price, in these times of great austerity.

Better off on a bus or zero fumes bike, if you are one of those greenie types. You will save your self a shed load of money. Its not made in the UK, it keeps Germans employed, so you can count me out.

Go for the Nissan Leaf it's green because its build local, and keep the lovely Geordies in employment up in Sunderland, which will provide jobs for future generations of our children and grandchildren.

My summer holiday this June in Whitby would be ruined by £25,000 Electric Focus it would leave me stranded half way up the M1, would take 3 days off my holiday with all the charging to get me there and back home again.

An A/C motor acts as a generator when a external force is applied to it, this is where the primary regeneration will come from. In simpler terms, as the car is rolling, it's charging the batteries

Another bad example of what electric vehicles can be, still early days though. If we put down every new bit of technology that came out we'd still be dragging stuff along the ground because the first wheel was not perfectly cylindrical

I say, like the Focus EV round wheels just to please action_dave.

But the price stinks, nobody will pay double the price for the same car to get a Focus with no boot that takes you all day to charge up just to conk out half way up the M1.

When the Focus with no boot price drops below £13,995 then folk might think about buying one. Average Joe working at Tesco has not got £25,000 to splash out on a Focus, get real please action_dave.

Think you misread my comment or the joke went over your head

I never said it was good, I said it was a bad example of electric vehicle potential and that new technology isn't perfect out of the box*

*e.g. think of your first computer, mobile phone or washing machine to now

Those money for a Trabant-like performance, no thanks. The claimed 100 miles range sounds closer to 50 according to the common trend of reporting clinical test-data: no airco, no heating (except from the brakes !) no radio, no stoplight dashes, no thanks.

Still don't understand why any manufacture have pushed for BEV and Ford don't normally jump on bandwagons, instead hopefully they will focus on the 1.0 Litre Ecoboost Engine which is 20 pound a year to tax and returns over 50mpg.
As the press say, Its a game changer for Petrol engines.

Having said that the Focus BEV will still be BETTER than the Nissan Leaf, which lets be honest is ugly and who really cares if its built in Sunderland or Japan, Mr Cameron certainly doesn't

I agree with steelcityuk that the mechanism whereby heat generated in the braking system is converted into electricity and then stored in the battery is unclear (some might say impossible). Perhaps the genius phoenix_pc could explain it for us.

When I was young I was told putting worn batteries in the oven could squeeze a bit of extra life, so maybe the mechanism is simply locating the batteries as close to the brakes as possible.

30k Euro's for a bev that can't fast charge ?

The Nissan Leaf is already down to 25,000 Euro's in Ireland.

at Least the Leaf can fast charge.

By the way the Focus BEV has a 6.6 kw charger so can charge in 3-4 hours from a household charger!!!!!

I would get Zoe above them all because here in Ireland they can charge at any charge point in an hour from 0 and they are in the process of upgrading the chargers to 44kw, so Zoe will charge in 30 mins from 0% they are a.c chargers and plentiful, unlike the few dc expensive chargers for the Leaf.

Zoe will be the best available and cheapest E.V by a long mile.

Renault are soon to offer free battery rental for 2 years!

To balcstar. Why do you say the Prime Minister wouldn't care where the Nissan will be built? We should all care! As I'm sure he does. It's left wing views like yours that get this country a bad name.
As for the Leaf being ugly, that's down to personal opinion. I expect you're ugly but no doubt your mum thought you were cute!

Look at the title. How much does it say for one of these?
£11,426 to £20,196.
That wouldn't be too bad but hey......
"at least £25,000, including the £5,000 Government discount."
Is there a mathematician out there please?

Now: it's already been said but let's look at this on real terms.
At that sort of price it puts the car right out of the reach of the very people who would normally look to buy Focus in the first place.
The average Joe, working at Tesco or the factory worker knocking out widgets who would fit the bill as a potential customer just won't be able to get their head around the price.
Throw in the range on top of this and the problem multiplies.
It may be great for just going back and forth to work during the week but if you find yourself wanting to visit aunt Maude in Cornwall then you're buggered unless you live in Devon perhaps.
If all you need is a commute car for a few miles per day then it wouldn't make sense to get one of these anyway. For the mileage you do in that situation you would never recuperate the extra purchase price in fuel savings over the useful life of the car. Unless your commute is the maximum range per day, perhaps.

This car won't appeal to anyone who could afford it, such as middle management (BMW freaks), little old ladies currently running a Focus et al.
For the sort of money to get one of these there are better (perhaps) options in the Hybrid market. Look at the new DS5, the Prius etc. A DS5 which comes exceptionally well appointed even at base hybrid model at a similar price to the Focus still gives up to 74 mpg. I think I know which I would rather see on my drive.
Apart from that., a DS5 is a serious competitor to the likes of the BMW, Audi's and Mercs that the people with the money to buy an electric Focus would have to come from.

Sparkyplug is correct about being able to get a little more useful power from warm batteries, but warming them does not charge them. The author of the original article (Andrew English) has, I think, misunderstood the technology. There is no practical way of converting the kinetic energy of a moving car into heat in the braking system and then into electricity. What you can do (and all hybrids do it) is to use regenerative braking which converts kinetic energy directly into storable electricity. You can also use that kinetic energy much more efficiently by simply planning your driving to minimise braking. When you take your foot off the throttle, you convert the kinetic energy into free forward motion as your speed (and thus kinetic energy) declines. You do not need hybrid technology to do this.

Why would somebody pay £25000 to drive 100 miles i do noy understand this crazy set up not just ford but all electric cars. far better doing a hybrid like the pirus

Key specs

* Price: £25,000 (inc Govt. grant)
* Engine: AC electric motor
* Power: 130bhp
* 0-60mph: 9.5 seconds
* Top speed: 90mph
* Range: 100 miles
* Equipment: Air-conditioning, Ford DAB radio, electric front windows, MyTouch entertainment system, central locking
* On sale: September