Here’s a pretty good boast: Ford says its new Focus Electric is now “officially America’s most fuel-efficient five-passenger car.”
That means the electric car is now certified at 110 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) in city driving and 99 MPGe on the highway. Combined, the rating is 105 MPGe, which is 6 more than Nissan’s all-electric Leaf. MPGe is that weird government rating system that assumes since it took burning of natural gas, coal or oil to create the electricity that powers plug-in vehicles, it should be counted in its fuel economy total.
While Ford was at it, it found other ways to take some shots at the Leaf as well. Focus Electric has more passenger room and a faster charging system, for instance, the Blue Oval says.
“Ford is giving customers the power of choice for leading fuel economy regardless of what type of vehicle or powertrain technology they choose,” said Eric Kuehn, chief nameplate engineer, Focus Electric.
The EPA-approved Focus Electric label also certifies that the car has a range of 76 miles on a single charge, compared with the 73-mile range of the Leaf. The Focus Electric can be driven up to 100 miles on a single charge depending on driving habits. The average driver drives 29 miles a day, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics website.
The approved label also will say customers could save $9,700 in fuel costs over the course of five years compared with the average new vehicle. Comparative savings could go even higher if the current trend of rising gas prices continues. In California alone, the cost for a gallon of gas rose 20 cents in a seven-day period that ended last week.
Saving that money won’t come cheap: Ford has priced the Focus Electric at $39,200, plus $795 shipping. For about the same price a buyer could get a Chevrolet Volt plug-in rated for 36 miles on electric, but with a gas engine that kicks in for unlimited range. Among all-electrics, the Nissan Leaf that Ford takes shots at is cheaper at $35,200, as is the Mitsubishi i that starts at $29,125.
Production of the Focus EV is being ramped up slowly at Ford’s Wayne, Mich., plant and dealers in the two launch markets — California and New York-New Jersey — have begun taking orders. Ford says it plans to offer the car in 19 U.S. markets by the end of this year.