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Captain Hybrid
Slideshow: Focus Electric Vehicle Hits Production Line
12/20/2011

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Ford's five-passenger Focus Electric will compete head-to-head with Nissan's Leaf. 
 Source: Ford Motor Co.
Ford's five-passenger Focus Electric will compete head-to-head with Nissan's Leaf.
Source: Ford Motor Co.

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Beth Stackpole
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Sweet looking vehicle
Beth Stackpole   12/20/2011 6:43:54 AM
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Nice addition to the portfolio of pure electrics that exist on the market today. Interesting  that Ford is emphasizing its scalable manufacturing infrastructure upon delivery of the vehicle to production. I'm curious whether manufacturing capabilities are a key concern as more of these electric vehicles roll out. Is it that people are worried that the OEMs have built up too much dedicated production capabilities, i.e., potential inventory for pure electrics or that there's concern enough vehicles can't be built if demand escalates?

Jerry dycus
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Re: Sweet looking vehicle
Jerry dycus   12/21/2011 4:25:11 PM
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  Both of them Beth.  Whatever they need, EV's when oil prices get high and gas/hybrid  with lower oil prices.

   The beauty of Ford's approach is it's low cost to impliment. Sadly they didn't pass that savings on to the customers from the price. They also had EV drive companies do most of the EV design parts, saving money.  If they didn't change it, they also don't have REE in the motor either, made by Azure/Solectria.

One thing that isn't good is the extra weight they have to push because it's not built as an EV.  Though it was designed from the start for an EV option with about 400lbs lighter and other features.

As for it being superior to the Leaf, not true.  The Leaf was designed as an EV. All they need for faster charging is a bigger charger.  And they Leaf once A Better Place gets going, will be able to swap battery packs in less time than filling up with gas. SF, Tokyo, Denmark and Isreal are getting then now. It's also a 5 passenger, not 4 like the Focus. And the $6k price difference Nissan is far better.

Any1 your needs can be served by any Ev conversions out there or convert a VW Bug of which there are many kits. For between $1-6k depending on how much you do, can be a very cost effective EV.

Interestingly if GM would just build it's Ultra-Lite showcar EV  in medium tech composites could be built for under $15k using lead batteries and DC EV tech. The rear power pod could be swapped between EV and ICE as needed was a nice touch.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Sweet looking vehicle
Beth Stackpole   12/23/2011 7:30:49 AM
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One of the images that stood out to me in this slide show was the guy plugging his EV into an electric outlet somewhere in downtown SmallVille. We can talk all we want about EVs, but what about the charging infrastructure to make them a reality? I live in small town USA and I can tell you there are no charging stations. I'm assuming any one in this neck of the woods driving an EV has installed the proper power facilities at home. How much progress are we making on this important aspect of EV adoption?

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Sweet looking vehicle
Rob Spiegel   12/23/2011 1:53:21 PM
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That's an excellent point, Beth. And the EV makers are aware of the potential problem, so Nissan and Sumitomo have partnered to deliver a charging station that costs $9,900. According to Nissan, that's about one third the cost of the charging stations that are currently on the market. Be that as it may, I think it makes sense that an EV producer would take action to try to make the infrastructure affordable. 


Jerry dycus
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Charging scam
Jerry dycus   12/24/2011 10:10:03 AM
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    These high cost'charging stations' are a complete rip off.    They should have been just a standard RV outlet for $10 plus the box, post to put it in, on.

  But no they have to make completely new expensive units that are completely unnessasary.

My EV's don't even need 240vac as they can  charge from almost dead in 4 hrs from 120vac!!

  That's the complete problem EV's  we are getting have in a nutshell, too big, too heavy, too expensive when forklift EV drives and medium tech composites can do the same job for 50% or less!!  There is no reason a great 2 seat commuter EV can't be made for under $10k in real mass production.

  And no reason a 12.5kw charging station cost more than $200/vehicle and installation. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Charging scam
Rob Spiegel   12/27/2011 7:48:23 AM
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Good points Jerry. It looks like they're building EVs for the luxury market, and thus they have add-ons that drive the cost up. Are any of the car companies building a stripped-down EV designed for city use?

Jerry dycus
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Re: Charging scam
Jerry dycus   12/27/2011 8:45:43 AM
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       Hi Rob,

               It's the fact big auto see selling a small light EV as them not being able to sell a higher profit one. Plus they want to prove EV's are too expensive so they can keep selling all those 20x's overpriced engiine/trans, etc repair parts they make a lot of their profit from.

                 Most of my custom EV's use 25-50 yr old E motors most of the time I just clean them up and put them in as they last near forever even with their brushes, their supposed bad feature. But that feature allows 66% savings in the controller too.  

                Not that any of big auto has spent much if any of their own money to build EV's but have received over $1b in grants so really they have no cost in them, only profit. Just another thing they don't bother mentioning along with how really cheap they are paying for the batteries they use, around $250/kwhr or less.

               I got tired of waiting for them to do cost effective EV's so shortly I'll start selling plans so most anyone can have a good EV with some learning, sweat, build their own for under $2k.

              While that is happening I'll set up production lines for my composite 2-3wh ones.  The sad thing is why does it have to come down to someone like me to get the vehicles many want and need?

               They are charging what they are Because they can as no other EV's are available except some older big auto 70's/80's/90's ones and conversions, about 60k on the road of these now.

                   Why almost no other company(Tesla has) has done it is the Fed DOT rules which cost about $10 in paperwork, lawyers to get through before you can start a 4wh production line. You need at least $100MM to start one.

                   Or go my way, make rather cool 3wh cars and aero cabin MC's from medium tech  composites and forklift EV tech.

               Many have tried like Aptera where VC's came in and stole the company from the founders then tried to use it to scam others. We'll see how I do.

mhughes
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Iron
Re: Charging scam
mhughes   7/18/2012 10:09:15 AM
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When will your plans be available?

Jack Rupert, PE
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Re: Charging scam
Jack Rupert, PE   12/27/2011 12:17:34 PM
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Rob - I think they are targeting the higher end markets because of the lack of penetration.  The base cost of ownership has not yet come down to a competitive level, so the majority of people who are buying them are the early adopter - those that want something cool, are willing to pay for the environmetal benefits, have another car for long trips or hauling.  The people that would mostly want the "cheap" version would also be looking at it as a replacement for their sole car, and these aren't there yet.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Charging scam
Rob Spiegel   12/27/2011 12:45:52 PM
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Good points, Jack. The heart of your argument is that the EVs can't replace a conventional vehicle. That makes EVs the vacation house of the auto world, primarily a luxury vehicle for those who are not seeking value as a primary quality of their auto purchase.

jmiller
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Re: Sweet looking vehicle
jmiller   12/26/2011 10:00:39 PM
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I agree that there needs to be more focus on how these vehicles can be used pratically in smallville USA.  And I think that's where the future of inovation lies.  Whether it be in replaceble batteries that you drop off and replace at the local gas station or plugins at every parking meter.  The how to is still a little fuzzy in the electrical vehicle world.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Sweet looking vehicle
Beth Stackpole   12/27/2011 8:26:56 AM
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I like both of those ideas as options for recharging. Retrofitting parking meters with EV charging outlets seems like a great idea. And the cities and towns (even my Smallville town of Newburyport has meters) could charge a premium price for those meters with charging capabilities and generate a little more tax revenue.

I would also think it would make sense to have these charging units packaged and priced as a simple extra on the total vehicle package. After all, who gets a phone or a tablet these days that doesn't come with a charging unit?

BobGroh
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Platinum
Ford's all electric Ford Focus
BobGroh   12/20/2011 11:18:52 AM
This is a very gutsy and welcome move by Ford.  They have done a very nice job in both weathering the economic 'downturn' and a very nice job with their new product offerings.  Their plans for the new Focus Electric are really nicely structured as a production item. 

I am a bit offput by the price but, hey, it is what it is.  And I think that the flexibility that Ford appears to have built into their production planning is superb.

Nice job, Ford!

 

 

Jennifer Campbell
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Re: Ford's all electric Ford Focus
Jennifer Campbell   12/20/2011 1:21:40 PM
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I was also a bit taken aback by the price tag on this car. But, like everything, just wait long enough and the price will come down. Of course, by then, we will want the newer, potentially better thing that is replacing it.

Rob Spiegel
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Nice Slide Show
Rob Spiegel   12/20/2011 2:58:54 PM
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Nice, Chuck.

I was particularly surprised to see Leno on this collection of photos. The second-to-last slide with the cutaway was a good shot of the differences between internal combustion and electric cars. From you earlier articles pointing to difficulties with EV batteries -- and from the price tags -- it seems we still have a ways to go before EVs are fully arrived.


jgreen
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Iron
Why the reverse gear?
jgreen   12/21/2011 9:30:50 AM
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At a trade show this summer, Ford had vaious components of the Focus EV on display. I was puzzled by the fact that the motor only turns one direction, and relies on a mechanical transmission to reverse. What about four-quadrant motor controllers? Wouldn't that be more efficient then gears?

any1
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Silver
electric Ford Focus
any1   12/21/2011 10:05:13 AM
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I don't believe that they will sell many at that price.  One thing I wish car companies would do is have the option for a smaller capacity battery.  Call it the "city range option".  This would lower the price and improve the performance (like acceleration) of the vehicle.  I guess I am unusual in that I do not have "range anxiety".  My commute is about 6.5 miles each way and even if I run an errand on the way home, and, or go out for lunch I could easily make do with a 20 mile total range.  So I really only need half the battery capacity that they are putting in cars like the Leaf and Focus.  If I needed to make a longer drive for some reason I could trade vehicles with one of the other members of my household (we are a four car family and we all have relatively short daily commutes) for the day.

rohvemula
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Re: electric Ford Focus
rohvemula   12/21/2011 1:14:45 PM
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I do not understand in what way this FORD FOCUS is better than NISSAN LEAF, GM CHEVY VOLT AND MITSBUSHI ELECTRIC?.

Yes, you are correct. One can not have two cars, one  for short trips and one for long trips. I own Chevy Volt # 3337. It is technologically advanced in many respects. With extended range and price GM could not sell much.

I like the car, but need to improve in many folds if GM wants to be the master and leader in PHV ( PLUG IN HYBRID VEHICLES).

As a present owner, EV  AND PHV car makers, should improve the followoing:

1) EV Range minimum of 100 + miles,

2) Charging should not be more than 30 minutes. DC charges should be standard. And all GAS SATION MUST HAVE CHARGING STATIONS.

3) For Extended range like GM CHEVY VOLT, the MPG should be minimum 50+ per gallon.

4) It should be five seater.

5) Over and above all the price should be competetive and should not be prohibitive for general population.

If the car maker wants to really replace the PRESENT IC engines, they should consider the above otherwise they are wasing the capital or re-inventing the wheel.

One mor thing in COLD WEATHER THE RANGE GOES DOWN DRASTICALLY IF YOU WANT TO DRIVE IN COMFORT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Bullis - - Miastrada Company
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Silver
Electric vehicle mileage ratings
Jim Bullis - - Miastrada Company   12/22/2011 2:52:21 PM
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Please keep in mind that the MPGe formula, now being used officially, is a pretense that heat engines that make the electricity are able to convert heat to electricity at a power plant and transmit to a plug without loss of energy.

Jack Rupert, PE
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Platinum
Emergency Power?
Jack Rupert, PE   12/27/2011 12:22:04 PM
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Just wondering, with these pure EV's coming out what is there for emergency power?  If you aren't paying attention to your gas powered car, you walk to the nearest gas station, get a gas can and walk back with enough "power" to get back to the station for a complete fill-up.  What happens when your stranded with an electric vehicle - especially since it seems that the miles-per-charge vary a lot more than mile-per-gallon such as due to temperature?

naperlou
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Re: Emergency Power?
naperlou   12/31/2011 5:53:10 PM
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This has always been the issue with BEVs.  Many years ago, spurred by oil price hikes and supply problems, the idea of a switchable battery pack was the solution.  The idea was that, instead of charging at home (which I guess you could do as well), you would pull into a "station" and the battery pack would be switched out.  The "station" would have a large number of packs and fast chargers.  At that time the batteries were not as capable, expensive or comples as the current ones.  My understanding is that the battery in the Tesla (which is arguably a much more capable device) is several hunderd pounds and costs about $25K.  I am not sure that these are the current figures, but they give the order of magnitude. 

The real answer is that the BEV is relegated to a second car for local driving.  That wil limprove over time, but it does limit the market at the current price.

Charles Murray
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Re: Emergency Power?
Charles Murray   1/3/2012 9:45:54 PM
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Jack: As far as I know, there isn't much you can do except get towed. See this story about test drivers who tried out BMW's Mini E in 2010:

http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1366&doc_id=210936

Jack Rupert, PE
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Re: Emergency Power?
Jack Rupert, PE   1/22/2012 1:47:36 PM
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Thanks for the link, Charles, I didn't see that story.  That's just what I was afaid of - there is currently no good fix for what could be a common problem.  At least gas mileage is fairly consistent over the environmental range.  I would hope that at least someone could come up with a "quick charge" that would allow you to obtain enough charge to get a few miles to the nearest gas station (electron station?).

Charles Murray
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Re: Emergency Power?
Charles Murray   1/26/2012 10:49:27 PM
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That's a great idea, Jack. Do you think that could be done in a safe manner, or would there be high-voltage issues?

Jack Rupert, PE
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Platinum
Re: Emergency Power?
Jack Rupert, PE   1/28/2012 3:04:20 PM
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My background is not in portable power, but I would think that if someone could design a speciallized battery or quick-tranfer device, you could have a mechanical safety interlock to cover the connections.  Even today's gas power vehicles aren't 100% safe for the emergency restarts.  You can send yourself to the hospital if you don't know what your doing on a jump start and I don't know too many people that would want to carry a spare gas can in their car all the time.

Alexander Wolfe
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Mainstream hits the market
Alexander Wolfe   1/3/2012 9:08:43 AM
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I think one underestimated aspect of this launch is that it's taking a mainstream, well-known and accepted vehicle, and in essence porting it over to the electric platform side. I think this augers well for market acceptance, and may go part way towards breaking through the consumer resistance barrier Chuck has written about so eloquently. Of course, the proof will be in the sales figures.

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