The first markets for Ford’s Focus Electric have already been selected. For the North-east region, there is Boston and New York. There are also two cities for the Midwest region which include Chicago and Detroit. The Western region meanwhile will have Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, in California.
It also includes Denver, Seattle, Portland in Oregon, and Phoenix and Tucson in Arizona. Finally for the South there are Austin and Houston in Texas, Orlando, Florida, Richmond, Virginia, Raleigh Durham, N.C, and Washington, D.C. President of the Americas for Ford Motor Company Mark Fields shared that there is a large amount of excitement for the Ford Electric and the brand hopes to build on this by making sure that this all-electric passenger vehicle is made available to as many pilot markets in the U.S. as possible.
Fields added that this is but the first step in the roll-out of the Focus Electric. However as the demand for this vehicle increases and more electric vehicle infrastructures are built, the company remains to evaluate additional and new markets and will consider making the Focus Electric available in additional cities.
The factors involved in the selection for the pilot market include existing trends for hybrid purchase, the local government’s commitment towards electrification, and possible collaboration with the utility company. For the collaboration part, with local governments, utilities, and even dealers, the company developed education and outreach programs about electric vehicles for consumers.
The company also shared information as it relates to charging needs and even the requirements needed to make sure the electrical grid is able to support any of the customers’ needs. Ford launched last month an educational web site on the site which can be accessed through http://www.fordvehicles.com/technology/electric/. The site has text, diagrams, and even videos to make consumers learn the differences of the technologies that run electric vehicles.
Focus Electric was made available during the late 2011 and was built at the brand’s Michigan Assembly Plant located in Wayne, Mich. Production however was done on the same line as its gasoline version.
Since Ford used an already existing assembly line and vehicle platform, it will be able to vary its production of the Focus Electric based on the demand. The Focus Electric will have the same driving experience as its gasoline-powered one. The only difference is that the Focus Electric has a 23 kWh lithium-ion battery powering it. In addition, this vehicle uses a liquid heating system and cooling system in order to maximize both the battery life and its driving range.
To be able to prepare for electric vehicles, Ford has worked with the different local government agencies and even utilities in the chosen markets. The main aim was to develop education and outreach programs for consumers on electric cars. The focus was also on sharing information on the charging needs and what are needed to make charging easier plus determining if the electric grid would be able to support any additional demand.
Ford Motor Company’s Global Manager of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Mike Tinskey said that in order to ensure electric vehicles are a feasible choice for consumers, collaboration between government entities and industries was needed. Tinskey added that the government, utilities, and technology companies are important in the brand’s electric strategy to ensure that the infrastructure and support would be present when the electric cars eventually roll out.
Ford has also conducted its "Charging Into the Future: The Ford Electric Vehicle Tour" as part of its electrification program. This tour went through 14 cities and promoted the brand’s electric vehicle strategy to inform consumers what to expect from electric vehicles and what the public and private sector can do to support this particular technology.