Before I had road tested the 2014 Ford Focus Electric (the 2015 Ford Focus Electric was recently announced but won’t be available until summer), I was a huge Nissan Leaf fan. And while the Leaf is a cool EV (and cheaper), this green auto expert has switched her answer to this question: “What’s your favorite electric car?” Now I can say with confidence: Ford Focus Electric.
If you really are considering getting off the petro dollar for good by purchasing a hot, new five-seater EV, the real question should be: “Do I go with the 2014 or wait for the newly-launched 2015 Focus Electric model?” Yes, on a week-long road test of a surprisingly fast and good-looking seafoam green 2014 Ford Focus Electric, I discovered the EV of my sustainable transportation dreams. Although Ford has not yet released all of its 2015 Focus Electric specs, the updated exterior is certainly more bold than the 2014 with its restyled hood, grille and trunk. However, I was perfectly happy with my 2014 model. I really grew to love the low-slung, yet eye-catching contemporary design of the vehicle most especially from its toothy-grilled burnished chrome grille.
I was definitely wowed with the interior. The unique cream-colored, recycled “cloth” seats are extremely comfortable and stylish. Every piece of the interior puzzle was well placed bringing a feel-good cockpit to the driver from the functional steering wheel to the digital gauges to the handsome central console to the perfectly placed gearshift lever. The quality build was evident throughout the multi-textured cabin. Even the back seats, which have a utilitarian 60/40 fold, have more than enough legroom for tall adults. The easy-to-lift hatch (even with its cubic feet deficit from the electric battery) is big enough to hold a week’s worth of road trip luggage or bags from a large shopping trip.
The 2015 Focus Electric will come equipped with ever more app technology (via SYNC AppLink). But do you really need all that when the 2014 Focus Electric already comes equipped with a “special” version of MyFord Touch and MyFord Mobile (a smartphone app along with website to monitor vehicle functions and change settings via your phone)? On my road test, I marveled at all the integrated connectivity built into this EV’s digital information gauges, steering wheel, central screen and now my smartphone. Focus Electric provides a special version of MyFord Touch driver connect technology especially for electric customers and introduces MyFord Mobile (a smartphone app and website for monitoring key vehicle functions and to change charge settings while mobile). Plus, this top-of-the-line Focus Electric model also comes standard with a 9-speaker Sony audio system, Sirius satellite (with TravelLink), HD radio and a voice-activated Navi system. Could it get any better in an upscale small car?
I have tested every production EV model on the road today and I truly enjoyed the super smooth no-transmission, warp-speed acceleration of the 2014 Focus Electric’s 143 horsepower 107 kW electric drive engine. In fact, it was a bit too fast coming out of the block as the only downside I found in the nearly perfect driving dynamics was a wobbly “jumping” effect (if you put the pedal to the metal) at the outset. Otherwise, I found Focus Electric’s driving dynamics to be nearly perfect with its responsive steering, spot-on braking and overall excellent agile handling.
When it was time to charge my new dreamy EV, I just pulled into my garage, opened the cool light-up fuel hatch and plugged it up. The 2014 Focus Electric gets about 76 miles (or 105 MPGe) on a single charge. It took me most of the afternoon and overnight to charge this EV fully on a 100-volt outlet. However, Ford claims it takes just four hours on a 220-volt charge station.
The 2014 Focus Electric is loaded with so many standard safety features that it was awarded five stars in every crash test from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
What about price? Ford slashed the price of its 2014 Focus Electric model by $4,000, giving it an MSRP of $35,995. And while the Leaf is much less expensive, remember this vehicle is chock full of top technology, a cozy interior and the best safety money can buy. Plus, the potential $7,500 federal tax credit (among other state and local incentives including carpool lane access) can bring the price down to below $30,000.
Don’t think you are ready to go totally electric? Worried about not being able to drive long distances with ease? Ford has two never-stop, plug-in vehicles available in the Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi (see road test review story here).