March 16th, 2012 by Zachary Shahan
According to Ford, the EPA declared the 2012 Ford Focus Electric the most fuel-efficient 5-passenger vehicle in America, due to the fact that it achieves 110 MPGe equivalent during city driving, and 105-MPGe combined (partially city and partially highway) driving. It achieves 99 MPGe on the highway.
MPGe, in case you’re wondering, means Miles Per Gallon Equivalent. Gasoline contains a certain amount of energy that can be measured in Wh. It is just a different type of energy from what batteries store.
There are no gallons of fuel to factor into this calculation, because it is an electric car, so they converted the efficiency, which is actually measured in Wh per mile into the MPG equivalent. So it’s efficiency is equivalent to that of a gasoline powered vehicle that gets 105 mpg, which is 6 MPGe more than the Nissan Leaf.
This difference isn’t big, as both vehicles are in excess of 90 mpg.
The Focus is more fuel-efficient during stop-and-go city driving than it is on the highway, which is the inverse of the case with gasoline-powered vehicles. Gasoline-powered vehicles waste gas when idling during traffic congestion. Electric vehicles’ motors do not have to be on when they are not driving. If they do, it is because the motor is turning the air conditioner compressor.
It is apparent that the Focus Electric is intended to directly compete with the Nissan Leaf. It is a similar type of car in a very small, but growing, market, and Ford made some comparisons between its Focus and the Leaf in its recent announcements about the vehicle, such as:
- The Focus Electric charges in nearly half the time of the Leaf due to a faster charging system.
- Greater efficiency.
- More powerful motor.
- More passenger room.
- A driving range per charge that is 3 miles longer than the Nissan Leaf. The Leaf’s range is 73 miles per charge and the Focus Electric is 76 miles. Utilizing fuel-efficient driving habits, the Focus Electric can drive 100 miles per charge — this arouses a thought: Isn’t it time that people are taught to utilize more fuel-efficient driving habits? They significantly affect fuel economy and everyone could benefit, regardless of the type of vehicle they drive.
According to Ford, the Focus Electric can be fully charged within four hours using a 240 volt power outlet. This means that it can be fully charged every night before you go to work in the morning. You could drive 76 miles every day. Most people do not drive more than 30 miles daily. To ensure that people never forget to plug in their vehicles to charge (which, in my opinion, should be an easy-to-remember routine), plugless automatic chargers may be a solution.
The lithium-ion battery bank (battery pack) has an 8-year (or 100,000-mile) warranty. Another little convenience is that the charging port is on the driver’s side, so the driver does not have to stretch across the cabin of the vehicle to pay the charging station attendant, and the attendant will not have to walk around to them either.
This vehicle is also equipped with a common EV feature known as regenerative braking. When coasting, the wheels of the vehicle turn a generator that charges the batteries. This actually helps to slow the vehicle down, while wasting less energy on actual braking, which would otherwise be wasted as heat due to brake friction.
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