It’s a big news day at Ford! The all-new 2012 Focus Electric is expected to see a 100 miles-per-gallon equivalent (MPGe) fuel-efficiency rating for a five-seater; it’s the first-ever all-electric, gasoline-free passenger car from Ford and is expected to be the first of its kind to achieve that rating. Confetti! Streamers! Things that make noise and annoy the neighbors!
Wait, there’s yet another ground-breaker: It will be the first electrified vehicle to offer faster charging with 240-volt outlets, which can be installed in customer homes. The battery can be recharged in just more than three hours using a 240-volt charging station, about half the charging time of the 2012 Nissan Leaf.
The Focus Electric will be powered by an advanced lithium-ion (li-ion) battery system with an advanced active liquid cooling and heating system to precondition and regulate the temperature in its larger, more complex battery system.
Science geeks, dig this: The active liquid system heats or chills a coolant before pumping it through the battery cooling system. This loop regulates temperature throughout the system against external conditions. On hot days, chilled liquid absorbs heat from the batteries, dispersing it through a radiator before pumping it through the chiller again. On cold days, heated liquid warms the batteries, gradually bringing the system’s temperature to a level that allows it to efficiently accept charge energy and provide enough discharge power for expected vehicle performance.
The durability and longevity of batteries – which Ford has been developing and testing since the 1980s – is essential as the company expands its electrification plan. To date, among the nearly 43 million battery cells Ford has tested or seen put to work in customer vehicles, only five issues have been documented.
And about those Ford electrification and fuel-efficiency plans: Nearly one-third of the vehicle lines will feature a model with 40 mpg or more in 2012. The rollout of electrified vehicles began in December 2010 with the 2011 Ford Transit Connect Electric – a small commercial van built in collaboration with Azure Dynamics. The other 40-mpg vehicles include the Focus SE, Fiesta, C-MAX Hybrid and Energi and three vehicles yet to be announced. The C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi a Ford next-generation powersplit hybrid technology in combination with a lighter, smaller lithium-ion battery system. Both models provide maximum fuel efficiency by pairing the high-voltage lithium-ion battery and electric traction motor with a high-efficiency Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine. This technology enables the gasoline engine to run less than the previous generation.
(Fun fact: When the C-MAX Hybrid launches, Ford becomes North America’s largest maker of hybrid transmissions.)
And further helping the efficiency of the Focus Electric will be a unique version of the MyFord Touch® driver-connect system especially for electric vehicles as well as a smartphone app called MyFord® Mobile that helps plug-in owners control their vehicles remotely.