Ford may be coming late to the electrified vehicle party, but as housewarming gifts, it said yesterday its Focus Electric will offer a class-leading 100 mile per gallon equivalent (MPGe), and its two C-MAX hybrids are ready to take on the Volt and Prius.

Mentioning other competitors they edge out in various ways as well, Ford cited “expected” efficiency for its pending electrified vehicles, not official EPA figures as far as we know.

Nonetheless, Ford said the Volt-priced electric Focus ($39,995 incl. destination charge) will offer the best MPGe in America – for a vehicle with five seats.

2012 Focus Electric.

One competitor Ford didn't mention – the Mitsubishi i – gets 112 MPGe and costs around $10,000 less, but alas, it is a four seater. Also not mentioned in the MPGe comparison was the $4,000-less Nissan Leaf which gets an EPA rated 99 MPGe.

Ford is also targeting would-be Volt and Prius buyers with its C-Max Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid which are propelled by an Atkinson-cycle engine plus lithium-ion battery and electric-motor.

The company says it has already sold 100,000 C-MAX variants in Europe since late 2010, and speaking of its entire vehicle lineup, Ford says it holds approximately 500 patents that cover technologies in its electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles in addition to several hundred patent-pending applications.

Ford says the Energi is expected to beat fuel economy delivered by the Prius plug-in hybrid in electric mode and top the Volt in range with 500 miles estimated.

Similarly, the C-MAX Hybrid is supposed to achieve better fuel economy than the Prius V in both city and highway driving.

The two C-MAX hybrids will be the company’s first dedicated hybrid vehicle line and the first MAV (multi-activity vehicle) line in North America, Ford says.

“C-MAX is the right car for the time as it combines the dynamics and quality of a traditional car with the versatility of a MAV and leading fuel efficiency that you cannot even get from Toyota,” said Sherif Marakby, director of Ford’s Electrification Programs and Engineering.

Of their engines, Ford says its all-new 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle powerplant is “among the most advanced non-turbocharged four-cylinder powertrains Ford has ever offered.”

Ford does not specify its horsepower or torque output in its press release, but a company spec sheet projects the engine – which will be built in Chihuahua, Mexico and transported to Wayne, Mich. for vehicle final assembly – will deliver 185 horsepower and 130 pound-feet torque.

2013 C-MAX Hybrid (left) and C-MAX Energi.

Since the company’s press releases for the Focus Electric and C-MAX call out most competitors by name, they would not be complete without also showing superiority where possible to the Nissan Leaf (in a category more impressive than its narrow MPGe advantage).

With its 6.6 kw on-board charger, the Focus EV “is the first all-electric vehicle to feature faster charging technology, allowing it to fully recharge in three to four hours [using 240 volts] – half the time of Nissan Leaf,” Ford says.

Just one hour of charging nets 30 extra miles for the vehicle and estimated total range per full charge is 70-100 miles. The company says such quick charging can help double its effective range during a busy day of driving and recharging multiple times.

"Focus Electric's innovative faster charging technology can help customers save money and get much more out of the car in a busy day of running around town and recharging between stops," said Marakby.

Ford began taking orders for the 2012 Focus Electric in November through Certified Electric Vehicle Dealers in California and New York/New Jersey markets. In 2012, availability of the Focus Electric will expand to another 15 launch markets “as production ramps up.”

Pricing is still a mystery for the C-MAX twins, but the Hybrid is expected to be in showrooms after June 2012 and the plug-in Energi is expected to follow some time later in the year.


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