Ford will give the slow-selling Focus Electric more range and quicker charging times in an upgrade due at year end, the company said.
The new car will have a real-world driving range of 100 miles, up from 76 miles now, Ford said. A faster charger will replenish 80 percent of the battery in 30 minutes, two hours faster than now.
Ford has struggled to sell the current car, with just 579 U.S. sales this year through August, down 48 percent from a year earlier, the company said. The European-built version has sold just 26 in the first six months of 2016, according to figures from data analyst JATO Dynamics. Ford has been reluctant to discount the car in Europe, which has put off buyers, a spokesman for the company in Europe said.
Even with the upgrades, Ford may struggle to tempt customers away from the new Chevrolet Bolt EV with its EPA-estimated range of 238 miles on a single charge. But the current Focus Electric has a $30,045 base price, compared with the $37,495 price for the Bolt. Both prices include shipping, and both vehicles are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.
The relaunch of the Focus Electric is part of $4.5 billion investment in electrification announced by the company at the end of last year. As part of that, Ford said it will launch 13 electrified vehicles by 2020, when more than 40 percent of Ford models sold globally will be available with an electrified version.