Ford Focus Electric will be the first electric Nascar pace car

Article by Christian A., on April 16, 2012

World is changing everyday and we see this also in the automotive industry. The latest proof: an electric NASCAR pace car. That’s right folks, the Ford Focus will be the first all-electric pace car in the NASCAR to ever lead the field for a Sprint Cup Series race at the Richmond 400.

It appears that Ford is the only manufacturer that wants to make some groundbreaking moments in NASCAR as the American manufacturer was the first car marker to compete with a four-door sedan as its flagship model in 1998 but also first to use a hybrid to start a NASCAR event with the Fusion Hybrid back in 2008 at the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Back in January, Ford became the first manufacturer to show off its 2013 NASCAR race car when it unveiled the new 2013 Fusion racer. Regarding the Ford Focus Electric, this is America’s most fuel-efficient five-seat car that offers the equivalent of 110 miles per gallon (MPGe) city, 99 MPGe highway and operates on battery-generated power. The Focus Electric was rated by EPA at 105 MPGe combined, while its main rival – the Nissan Leaf – is rated at 105 MPGe combined.

Inspired by what is called the “butterfly effect,” the design team at Ford wanted to create a model where a small change could result in a large impact. An example would be when deciding to drive around in an electric vehicle. Thus for the Focus Electric, the total distance driven is shown through a display screen after each trip. Shown as well are the energy consumed and the total number of miles gained through the use of regenerative braking. It even shows the savings achieved compared to using gas-powered vehicles.

To make life easier for those who own a Focus Electric, Ford will be offering a wide range of off-board and on-board driver information systems. The goal is to make sure that the driver will be able to manage better the recharge process and even find the most eco-friendly path. The systems also help the driver monitor the present charge of the battery and maximize its energy efficiency to make sure that the driving range is optimized. These various tools have been designed to ensure that the Focus Electric would have that needed advantage over its competition.

It also gives owners all the information they need in order to enjoy even more the benefits of gas-free driving. In line with the concept that served as inspiration, the Focus Electric shows the fuel efficiency through the cluster display with the use of blue butterflies. The butterflies symbolize the extra range available after the charge point destination. Thus, the more butterflies that can be seen, the greater is the range available. This is different from the SmartGauge with EcoGuide seen in the Ford Fusion Hybrid which makes use of a growing leafy vine.

While the Focus Electric does have the driver connect technology known as MyFord Touch, it is implemented rather uniquely. Keeping in mind electric vehicle owners, the vehicle information is presented in an innovative manner. These include the distance to the charge point, current charge of the battery, corresponding range budget, and the expected margin of the range. It even has a MyView feature where the driver can look at addition data like the electrical requirements of the accessories that can affect the driving range, like air conditioning for example.

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