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by Tim Beissmann

Official US prices of the Ford Focus Electric have confirmed it will be among the most expensive compact alternative energy vehicles on the market.

The all-new 2012 Focus BEV (battery electric vehicle) will be priced from US$39,200 before government incentives. Customers who are eligible for the full US$7500 green car tax credit will be able to slide behind the wheel of the Blue Oval’s first electric passenger car for US$31,700.

The Focus Electric’s direct competitor, the Nissan LEAF, has a manufacturer’s recommended sale price of US$35,200, which comes down to US$27,700 with the government’s green car concessions factored in. This makes the LEAF around 13 per cent cheaper than the Focus.

The Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid is also marginally cheaper than the Focus BEV, priced from US$39,145 and as low as $31,645 after the tax credits. The Volt has the added benefit of a range-extending petrol-electric powertrain, giving it a potential driving range almost four times that of the Focus (610km vs 160km), but the obvious disadvantage of increased running costs.

For customers in the market for a cheaper electric car, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV is available in the US from as little as US$21,625 after the government’s green-car credits.

Ford says the Focus BEV costs more than its competitors because it comes with more standard equipment. The features list on the new Focus EV includes keyless entry and push-button start, eight-inch touchscreen, satellite navigation, MyFord Touch system, dual-zone climate control, 10-speaker Sony audio system, reversing camera, rear-parking sensors and automatic headlights.

The Focus Electric and the LEAF both have a range of around 160km. The Focus can be recharged from a 240-volt outlet in three to four hours, while the LEAF takes about twice that time. The LEAF can be fast-charged to 80 per cent in 30 minutes, however, while the Focus has no fast-charge option.

Ford Australia is investigating the Focus Electric for our market, but at this stage has made no announcements about if or when we can expect it to go on sale Down Under.

The Nissan LEAF will arrive in local showrooms in April 2012, and will be followed by the Renault Fluence ZE and the rebadged Holden Volt later in the year. The Fluence ZE will be priced from around $40,000, potentially undercutting the light-sized i-MiEV, which is currently priced from $48,800. Nissan and Holden are yet to give an indication of how their EVs will be priced.




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