DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. says its 2012 Focus Electric car will require half the charging time as the Nissan Leaf electric sedan while offering a comparable driving range on a full charge.
The Focus Electric, which will be unveiled today at the International Consumer Electronics Show, will be built on Ford's global compact car platform. It will rely solely on battery power, as does Nissan's Leaf.
But the Focus Electric will require just a three- to four-hour charge on a 240-volt home outlet charging station, said Sherif Marakby, Ford's director of electrification. It takes up to seven hours to charge a Nissan Leaf at a 220- or 240-volt charging station.
Ford targets a range of 100 miles on a full charge for the Focus Electric. Nissan targeted a similar range for its Leaf, but the EPA rated its range at 73 miles on a charge. The Federal Trade Commission, on the other hand, rated the Leaf at 96-110 miles per charge.
Marakby also estimates Ford's home charging station will cost $500 to $700 less than charging stations for the Leaf or Volt. Ford has arranged for consumer electronics retailer Best Buy to install the charging station, using the retailer's so-called Geek Squad to do the work. Leviton Manufacturing Inc. of Melville, N.Y., will make the charging stations.
Nissan fires back
David Reuter, spokesman for Nissan North America in Franklin, Tenn., said Nissan has done extensive studies on consumer behavior about recharging times.
"We predict that 80 percent of vehicle charging will happen at home overnight. Whether their electric car finishes charging at 2 a.m. or 6 a.m. will be irrelevant," he said.
Nissan picked a 3.3-kilowatt charger for the Leaf because it was the best fit from a packaging and value standpoint, Reuter said.
"However, as the electric vehicle market matures, we recognize customers may want quicker charging solutions -- which is why we currently offer the option of DC Fast Charge, which charges the Leaf to 80 percent capacity in under a half hour, and why we intend to continue exploring faster home charging options," he said.
Ford says the Focus Electric's fuel economy will exceed the Chevrolet Volt's fuel economy rating for running on electric power. The EPA has rated the Volt at 93 mpg when running on electric power. The Volt travels about 40 miles on battery power then uses a gasoline engine to recharge the battery. When the gasoline engine is operating, the Volt is rated at 37 mpg, for a combined electric-gasoline rating of 60 mpg.
All the features available on the gasoline-powered Focus will also be available on the Focus Electric when it goes on sale in late 2011, Marakby said. The Focus Electric will have a top speed of 84 mph.
Ford said it will launch the car initially in 19 major U.S. metro markets. The first markets to get the EV are Atlanta; Houston and Austin, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Denver; Detroit; Los Angeles; San Francisco; San Diego; New York; Orlando; Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.
The Focus Electric will be powered by an electric motor drawing on a 23-kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery.
Ford is launching five electrified vehicles by 2012 in North America and 2013 in Europe. In addition to the Focus Electric, Ford will introduce the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van, two next-generation lithium ion battery hybrids and a plug-in hybrid.
Lindsay Chappell contributed to this report.