Ford Focus Electric makes its debut as first all-electric pace car for NASCAR

Article by Anita Panait, on April 27, 2012

Ford is getting two of its 2012 Focus Electric vehicles ready for their duty as pace cars for the Capital City 400, a NASCAR Sprint Cup event, at Richmond International Raceway. The two 2012 Focus Electric pace cars, the first in the history of NASCAR, were unveiled in a public ceremony held at Virginia State Capitol by officials for Ford, NASCAR and the state of Virginia. 

Doing the honors were Eric Kuehn, chief nameplate engineer, Ford Global Electrified Programs; Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, and Mike Lynch, NASCAR's managing director of Green Innovation. After the unveiling ceremony, Bolling and Kuehn rode in one pace car while Lynch was in the other.

Together, they cruised to Richmond International Raceway, where they turned over the pace cars to Dennis Bickmeier, president of RIR. Kuehn said that Focus Electric’s participation in the Capital City 400 as a pace car will be a special moment for NASCAR fans, Virginians and for Ford. Bolling, meanwhile, remarked that Focus Electric’s role as pace car for NASCAR is proof that it is possible to combine performance and fuel-efficiency.

Bolling also took pride that the state of Virginia is the NASCAR host for this milestone in electric vehicles. Bolling noted that since Virginia is the energy capital of the East Coast, it is only fitting that the first ever all-electric pace car will debut at the Richmond NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

For Ford, the Focus Electric should not only be about reliability and energy efficiency but it must also deliver on pure driving enjoyment. With a powertrain delivering all-electric power and paired to the single-speed transmission, response is available instantly with acceleration being surprisingly smooth. Maximum speed has been estimated at 84 mph (136 km/h).

The different qualities present in the Focus Electric, like the braking feel, handling, and steering, are the same ones that can be experienced as well on the model it is based on, the Focus. With the fuel-powered Focus itself being a model known for its athleticism and agility, it is no wonder why the Focus Electric is indeed a dynamic driver’s car.

Since this latest model from Ford does not utilize a gas or diesel engine, when combined with the excellent dynamics, it results to an in-car experience that is both comfortable and quiet. There are a number of features fitted inside the Focus Electric as standard and that are geared for customers in North America. Examples of these are the 17-inch spoke wheel on the outside while on the inside, there’s the new AM/FM/CD/MP3 Sony Audio that comes with nine speakers.

There is also the HD Radio and even the Sirius Satellite Radio with Travel Link. Push button start is available and for those who want haul items, the rear bench seat allows for a 60:40 split. Technological additions include the Navigation System, which is voice-activated, and the unique implementation of the brand’s very own driver connect technology known as MyFord Touch.

The wide use of eco-friendly is sure to attract customers as well like the seat cushions making use of bio-foam with other features utilizing recycled fabrics. Safety and security features are not taken for granted as the Focus Electric has a number of those equipped as standard. These include the six airbags as well as the electric traction control. Specifically included for North American customers are the MyKey features and the SYNC hands-free telephone connectivity.

Director of Electrification Programs and Engineering at Ford Sherif Marakby revealed that the Focus Electric makes itself stand out from other electric vehicles available on the market as it continues to have the qualities and dynamics that are typically experienced when driving a traditional car.

He added that while it does have the features and premium components of its fuel-powered counterpart, it is able to deliver a rather unique efficiency and with it a truly thrilling driving experience.

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