January 9th, 2011
02:10 AM GMT
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New York (CNN) – Ford's new Focus Electric drove into the glare of the assembled media in a Manhattan showroom, approaching a mocked-up version of a domestic garage. Bill Ford - the great grandson of Henry - plugged the car into a charging station.

The display was part of a twin city ceremony in New York and Las Vegas to herald the auto giant's answer to the electric passenger cars released by General Motors and Nissan in 2010.

Ford is currently riding high, with record profits and strong consumer reviews. In recent years, the firm has refocused on its iconic brand and diversified its range of models. But it comes to the eco-party late: The car will not be released until late this year - nearly a year after its rivals.

"The biggest difference is we're electrifying our mainstream vehicle called the Focus," Executive Chairman Bill Ford tells CNN. "It's not a one-off vehicle. And of this platform, we're going to have a conventional gasoline engine, we're going to have a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and we're going to have pure electric."

This portfolio of consumer options is key for Ford: Demand for electric cars remains an unknown quantity and the company is planning to let buyers drive manufacturing and supply.

With oil prices expected to rise throughout 2011, some analysts are predicting interest will jump. But others say progress for all electric cars will be hamstrung by the lack of public charging stations and an inability to travel long distances.

If Ford's gamble will pay off remains an open question.

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. bettytatum9

    Consider dropping collision and/or comprehensive coverages on older cars. Search online for "Clearance Auto Insurance" If your car is worth less than 10 times the premium, purchasing the coverage may not be cost effective.

    January 9, 2011 at 2:47 am |
  2. Manuel Vilhena

    Personally I believe in Ford. Go for electric cars!

    January 9, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  3. vAT


    January 10, 2011 at 4:05 am |
  4. Gary R Arrowsmith


    You did it this time. Your going all the way and thankyou!

    January 10, 2011 at 4:38 am |
  5. John Levi

    The truth is that none of these "enviro" gismos would exist without government interference, exagerated levies on fuel , government aid (with taxpayers monies) for all the "enviro" cars, government fleet orders etc etc. This distorts the market and raises the prices of "old style" but cheap and more fuel efficient combustion engines (for the same weight and capacity) . I have nothing against electric cars as long as they develop naturally and are comercially viable , however when this "development" is driven ideologically by leftoid governments and cost our taxpayers monies – this is just a shame . I would certainly not buy an electric or hybrid car , and the companies who embark on the enviro bandaid get a bad mark from me.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:39 am |
  6. John Levi

    Continuing my prior comment: has anybody really tried to calculate how "green" these cars really are and how much their life cycle really costs? If you take into account all the materials of production, all the mined exotic materials for batteries or catalysts (some I am sure very environmentally unfriendly), all the costs to dispose and replace the batteries or catalysts, all the real cost of electricity used for charging and losses in transmission, all the real cost of the "green " electricity from the solar pannels and windmills which produce nothing (and which should feed these ideological toys exclusively ) – are they really more environmentally friendly than the ordinary combustion engine cars?

    January 10, 2011 at 4:50 am |
  7. Justi

    Hi John, There are several EV comparisons. Given that plugins are basically much simpler vehicles I'd say they are more enviromentally friendly than current conbustion cars. However for the sake of the argument you may call them both equally good/bad. The main difference is going to be the energy supply. In many countries you can opt to purchase your electricity from "green" sources. If you do this the electric vehicle is obviously going to be better for the enviroment. The plugin downfall is obviously that they have limited range and recharging takes time – so they aren't for everyone. Secondly much of the technolgy is supplying to a small market at this point to it may be more expensive. So there are economic reasons why people may not adopt the technology. That said our aim shouldn't be to get rid of combustion engines because they current serve an important function, rather we should be looking to avail ourselves to plugin opportunities if they meet our needs. This is a case of having your cake and eating it. You can have conventional and plugin technogies.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:20 am |
  8. johnnyishere

    Of course not. But they hide the truth from the libtards. As long as they get their electricity from a station 300 miles away that vomits cancer in the air or dams a few thousand miles of rivers, they don't care. It removes their physical contact with that smelly thing called gasoline and just delivers the same in a different form.

    Only a narcissistic and deluded person can think something is changing.

    You are still burning oil morons, it is just not delivered to you in the form of oil.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:28 am |
  9. Vats

    US Government should make it compulsory for all automobile companies to produce only purely electric car and hybrid cars only. Gas driven cars should be banned.

    January 10, 2011 at 7:16 am |
  10. Pierre

    Any attempt from a major car company to seriously put eletric cars on the market is a fantastic endeavor, no matter what neocons, teabaggers and anti climate change nutjobs might tell you..

    January 10, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  11. Fred

    Using the word 'libtard' make make you soung clever down at the Boar's Nest but it just makes you sound agenda driven elsewhere. Liberals aren't stupid, far from it. What is stupid is politicizing any argument that can be resolved on ideologically independent facts.

    January 10, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  12. Idea

    People cannot wait charging their cars hours together. Instead, the car's rechargeable battery should be made more compact and replaceable at charging stations. Just replace the battery at the charging station and hit the road...

    January 10, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  13. deepwater805

    Just out of curiosity, but where is all this electricity going to come from to power all these electric cars? I mean a BTU is a BTU no matter where it's generated, and since energy is produced by heat, it stands to reason that something somewhere has go to burn to create it. And just what is that something that got to burn to create the heat that creates the energy? Well, almost everywhere in America the fuel that burns to create all that electricity is either coal, or fuel oil. So please, someone tell me how driving an electric car is going to make one iota of difference from driving a gas fueled one. In my opinion, the only technology that truly reduces the carbon footprint of the average driver is hybrid, since it uses the heat created by the brakes to create electricity, not burning a fossil fuel, then fooling ourselves into believing that we're doing something good for the environment.

    January 10, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  14. Neal Greenberg

    When they state that a particular all-electric car will go 50 miles on a full-charge, is it able to maintain 65 mph for that distance, or does it become a freeway hazard, chugging-along at 5 mph after covering 45 miles? Is the measurement taken while using power-hungry headlights?

    And what about air conditioning for use in arid states like Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and California? When the temperature hits 110 degrees in the shade, it will be hard to think green while roasting in stop and go traffic.

    January 10, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  15. motorhead

    The production of oil is heavily subsidized by federal and state tax breaks, loans, infrastructure support, essentially free land/mineral leases and so on. To complain that electric cars are subsidized is like the kettle calling the pot black. In fact, the subsidies for the development of the technology for electric cars are far far smaller than the ongoing subsidies for oil production.

    As for the argument that electric cars simply use energy produced in a different location, there is a big difference between energy production at an industrial scale and in a private car. Even if the electricity needed for an electric car were completely produced by burning coal, it would still be better for the environment because power plants can be more efficient and can have much more sophisticated scrubbers. But of course electric power can also be produced in a clean manner!

    Finally, the question of the life cycle costs of an electric car is a great one. Lots of studies have looked at this and it appears to be better than a gasoline drive car - assuming that the lithium in the battery can be recycled. That is probably not a bad assumption. And of course with a bit more development the battery technology will improve.

    January 10, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  16. johnnyishere

    Sorry guys, I was completely bent out of shape on my posts. I'm trying to sound intelligent but I had a few when posting.

    January 10, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
  17. Stark

    John, wait, do you mean like the government subsidy of Big Oil? Oil should be much, much more expensive, but luckily repuglicans keep shoveling tax payer dollars down the greedy gulping craws of those energy barons. Not to mention the long-term damage being done to the environment, and the cost that will incur in the future.

    January 10, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
  18. Kevn L

    Looking forward to driving an electric 30 miles to work here in Ohio when its 0 F or sitting in rush hour traffic jam at 95 F. There is no heat or A/C in a vehicle that barely has enough energy to push itself down the road. The manufacturer's already know that this platform will fail and its smart for FORD to not develop a special platform for this car.

    January 11, 2011 at 12:38 am |
  19. Rob

    Introducing the coal powered focus. Come on... The power comes from somewhere and in most of the USA that is from a coal-powered power plant .... the the ecoweenies want to shut down. Just great. Tilting at windmills..

    January 11, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  20. vitor pinho

    one century ago driving a car was less realiable , more expensive , uglier than riding a horse and still the american people embrace it's use, and changed the 20th century .
    what are you missing that your grand parents had ?

    January 12, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
  21. Robert

    How do they heat this vehicule in sub-zero weather ?

    The old catalitic fuel system found in the antique Volks ?

    January 13, 2011 at 4:24 am |
  22. joseph cuthill-coutts

    Um.... you are plugging them into a coal fired power station.... Eco friendly.... No. And then the batteries that contain chemicals, heavy metals like Lithium and so on need to be disposed of every 5 years...

    January 17, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  23. Cars Philippines

    Even if it won't pay off, Ford still rocks! :P

    May 20, 2011 at 9:36 am |
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