Ford is happily trumpeting a new rating that it shows its Focus Electric car as the most fuel-efficient five-passenger vehicle in North America. But the news comes at a tough time for the electric vehicle industry as a whole, as General Motors plans to shut down production for its Chevrolet Volt hybrid vehicle for a period of five weeks this spring.
Ford reports that the U.S. Environmental Agency has rated the 2012 Ford Focus Electric at 110 miles per gallon equivalent for city driving, with a 99 miles per gallon equivalent on the highway. That is apparently slightly more than the Nissan Leaf.
It takes about four hours to fully recharge a Focus Electric battery with a 240-volt outlet; the company estimates that about 5,500 public charging stations can also be used to juice up the vehicle.
But what people probably care about more when it comes to an electric vehicle is how far you can go on a single charge. Ford said the Focus Electric gets up to 76 miles per single charge. Again, Ford said the Focus Electric beats out the Nissan Leaf slightly in this regard. (Nissan rates the Leaf at 73 miles per charge.)
How much this all matters to the average car buyer remains to be seen, as electric vehicle pioneer reluctantly slows down production for the Chevrolet Volt hybrid vehicle this spring. A GM spokesman described to the move as "temporary shutdown" in comments published by The Washington Post. "We're doing it to maintain our proper inventory as we align production with demand," the spokesman said.
Reports suggest that there were only about 7,700 Volt vehicles sold in 2011; so far, the Post reports that 2012 sales have been about 1,600 vehicles.
Regardless, it doesn't bode well for the industry as a whole.
(Image of Focus Electric courtesy of Ford Motor Co.)
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