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Consumer Electronics Show: Ford Focus electric vehicle revealed with smart-phone apps

January 7, 2011 | 11:30 am

FocusElectric_09_HR At the Consumer Electronics Show, Ford is joining the plug-in parade, adding its Focus electric vehicle to a market that already includes the battery-powered Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt electric hybrid.

The five-passenger Focus also comes with a variety of telematics functions and smart-phone apps designed to help drivers keep the car juiced up.

The automaker revealed the hatchback for the first time at the electronics show in Las Vegas on Friday, saying that it was one of five Ford electric vehicles expected to hit the North American and European markets by 2013.

Ford chief executive Alan Mullaly, in his keynote address Friday, called the vehicle"more than just a car, just like an iPhone is more than just a phone...transformed from something we use into something that we experience."

The electric Focus, which will be built alongside its gasoline version in Michigan, will go up for sale later this year. The 23-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery can be fully recharged using a 240-volt system in roughly four hours, or about half the time required by the Leaf, Ford said.

FocusElectric_23_HR The company also expects the Focus’ miles-per-gallon-equivalent rating to exceed the 60 mpge overall rating recently garnered by the Volt. The car, which will be able to reach a top speed of 84 mph, will also feature eco-friendly biofoam seat cushions and recycled fabrics.

The electric Focus will also come with a host of extras. Drivers will be able to check their battery charge  and range -– represented by blue butterflies -– on an in-vehicle screen.

The seats are made from entirely recycled materials, and the insulation comes from reused denim.

The MyFord Mobile smart-phone application will allow owners to get alerts when they need to juice up, search a network of nearby charging stations through Mapquest and determine whether they have enough battery power to reach the closest station.

Drivers can even use the app to post mileage milestones to Facebook or Twitter and find how their driving style ranks on a scale from Zen to Zippy.

Ford also paired up with Microsoft to develop a system that can pinpoint times when utility power rates are lowest so owners can charge the Focus on the cheap. And Best Buy has agreed to sell home charging stations for the Focus, complete with installation and Geek Squad tech support, for about $1,500 each. FocusElectric_21_HR  

Mulally, wearing a red sweater-vest, also added that Ford's groundbreaking connectivity system Sync has now been installed in 3 million vehicles.

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-- Tiffany Hsu

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