DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. has priced its gasoline-free Focus Electric at $39,995, including freight -- a price identical to the Chevrolet Volt and $3,945 more than the Nissan Leaf.
The vehicle has a one-speed transmission and comes standard with a 92-kilowatt electric motor with lithium ion battery, MyFord Touch and 17-inch aluminum wheels.
Like buyers of the Volt and Leaf, purchasers are eligible for a federal income tax credit of as much as $7,500.
The Focus Electric will be available in small numbers before year end in California and the New York City area, and is the first of five planned electrified vehicles from Ford.
Its battery can be recharged in just over three hours using a 240-volt charging station, Ford said. The Focus Electric also includes a charging cord for 120-volt outlets.
The Focus Electric's battery range has not been certified by the EPA, said Ford spokesman Octavio Navarro. He said the company expects a full charge could take drivers 70 to 100 miles.
By comparison, the Chevrolet Volt's battery range is 25 to 50 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in to power a generator, which recharges the battery.
Nissan says the range for a new battery on the Leaf is 62 to 138 miles, depending on variables such as climate control use, speed and driving style.
Unlike the Volt, the Leaf and Focus Electric have no gasoline engine to increase range after the battery charge wears down.
"Given what our engineers have seen, we know it'll be competitive," Navarro said.
Ford says the Focus Electric's MyTouch screen will work like a driving coach, providing information on the life left in the battery as well as the amount of surplus -- or "miles left until empty" as traditional car drivers might know it -- on an electronic dashboard. Over time, the system will learn a driver's style and take that into account when making calculations.
Because the product is new, Navarro said Ford cannot forecast how many Focus Electrics will be available in the first markets in California and the New York/New Jersey region.
"Those are the markets that are most prepared to handle electrics," Navarro said. "Building an electric vehicle isn't like building a regular car. As we're able to produce more vehicles and market demands, we'll be growing out to secondary markets."
For now, Ford will produce Focus EVs based mainly on consumer requests made on the Internet.
Ford did not predict when the Focus Electric would be available nationwide.
Dealers who agree to sell the Focus EV must have install charging stations and train technicians.
Launch markets after California and New York/New Jersey will include: Atlanta; Austin and Houston, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Denver; Detroit; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.