Ford Focus Electric
Our Rating

4/5

Ford Focus Electric

Electric version of one of the UK's most mainstream cars.

It's very unlikely that you will see a Focus Electric on UK roads in the near future, but if you do there will be no mistaking it for any other Focus, since the characteristic triangular front air intakes of those cars are not fitted to this one.If you happen to spot a Focus with this distinctive nose you'll know not to listen out for an engine note. As the car's name many already have led you to suspect, the power - all 140bhp of it - comes from an electric motor which drives the front wheels in an almost entirely silent manner, with only a distant whistle to be heard when you're pushing on.The battery pack, mounted at the rear, reduces luggage space from a level which was already very far from being class-leading in the petrol and diesel versions. With the rear seats in place there's just 237 litres of this, making the Focus Electric less practical than several city cars. When the seats are folded the capacity is 90 litres down on that of the regular Focus at 1125 litres.Completely recharging a flat battery takes between four and eleven hours depending on the method you use. Ford claims a range of 100 miles, though the dashboard of the test car, which I climbed into immediately after it had been fully charged, claimed at this point that only 82 miles were possible.That might have been something to do with how the guy before me drove it - possibly very similar to the way I did, since the reported range came down by not much over a mile for every mile I covered. Some of them were quite relaxed, others not so relaxed as I tried to make up time once I realised I wasn't going to be back at base camp anything like as soon as I'd said I would be.During this period the car felt livelier than its 11-second 0-62mph time would suggest, but its considerable weight (at 1700kg it's the heaviest Focus by no small margin) made it feel clumsy through the bends, though not more so than other, similarly sized electric cars I've driven. The ride quality is compromised for the same reason, but again not outrageously so.Naturally, the Focus Electric is at its best in town, where it's very easy to drive (gear selection comes down to whether you want to go forwards or backwards) and able to get away very smartly from a standing start.Your tolerance for cuteness will determine whether or not you like Ford's way of telling you how efficiently you're driving. If you're doing well, a display to the right of the speedometer starts to fill up with digital butterflies which flap regretfully out of sight if your behaviour becomes disappointing. I quite like this, but it won't appeal to anyone with a butterfly phobia.Equipment levels are reasonably high: without having to plunge your hand into the optional extras bucket you get cruise control, DAB digital radio, satellite navigation, automatic temperature control, folding mirrors and automatic headlights and wipers.But as is generally the way with electric cars, the financial investment required is considerable. The list price is £33,580, or £28,580 after the Government's Plug-In Car Grant has been applied. And if you want to charge the car quickly from a public 32A station you'll have to spend a further £295 on the required cable because it isn't supplied as standard. Engine Electric motor Power 140bhp Transmission 1-speed CO2 0g/km Acceleration 0-62mph: 11.0 seconds Top speed 84mph Price £33,580 Details correct at publication date

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