Without explanation, Ford has quietly pushed back the launch of its pending 2012 Focus EV until spring 2012, except for the states of New York and California.

Initial plans were to launch in 19 markets by the end of 2011 and the company has been promoting the model right up to last week when Ford CEO Alan Mulally plugged the vehicle on the David Letterman Show.

The reported delay is based on a promo ad in which Ford said the Focus Electric will be “Coming in spring 2012.”

This ad shows the 2012 launch date.

An email attributed to Ford’s Electrified Vehicles Marketing Manager, David Finnegan on MyFocusElectric.com spelled it out as well:

“For the first few months of production, we will be concentrating on California and New York. Our dealers in those areas will be the first to have their retail orders scheduled and receive the Focus Electric. We will be rolling out to the remainder of our initial markets starting in Spring 2012, including Raleigh/Durham. Does that help?”

This news comes also after Ford announced in June that it would triple U.S. production of "electrified" vehicles from 35,000 to over 100,000 by 2013.

The Focus Electric will be the first “electrified” vehicle to use a lithium-ion battery, and is one of several plug-in or battery-electric models known to be pending for the next few years, including the C-Max Hybrid, C-Max Energi. The Transit Connect already debuted at the end of 2010, and Ford has said it will announce at least another plug-in vehicle.

To attempt to learn more, we put in an email to a Ford media rep in charge of the Focus, but he did not reply. This lack of response by Ford was reported by other publications yesterday, so it is anyone's guess why the delay.

It could be that by tentatively dipping its toes in the water first in New York and California, two of the most EV-embracing states in the country, Ford is simply being cautious. If so, it is being even more cautious than were Chevrolet and Nissan when they launched the Volt and LEAF in several states to start with.

It could also be supply chain issues, though we have no information on this.

As things stand, Ford has not retracted intentions to ultimately launch the Focus Electric in the United States nationwide.

Its amended plans are to have launched the Focus Electric first in New York and California, and by spring 2012 availability will include: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Raleigh Durham, Richmond, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tucson and Washington, D.C.

The Detroit Bureau