New Ford Focus Electric: Plug-in EV Unveiled in Production Form, Goes on Sale at the end of 2011

Ford is poised to take on the Nissan Leaf EV and to a lesser extent, the more technologically advanced Chevrolet Volt extended range EV with the all-new Focus Electric that was revealed today in production guise.

The Dearborn company's first-ever all-electric passenger car is based on the latest generation of the Focus five-door hatchback. Hiding behind the very Aston Martin-like grille is an electric drivetrain comprising of an electric motor capable of 123 HP and 181 lb-ft of torque, and a single-speed transmission.

Energy is provided by a lithium-ion battery system, which has engineered by Ford in cooperation with supplier LG Chem. Ford says that with the optional wall-mounted 240-volt charge station, the batteries can be charged in three to four hours, or about half the time of the Nissan Leaf. The company did not say how long it will take to charge the batteries with the standard 120-volt convenience cord that comes with the vehicle.

The all-electric Focus is capable of reaching speeds of up 84 mph (136km/h). Ford did not give out an official number on the range, but the firm's execs have previously stated that the EV will be able to cover a distance of around 100 miles or 160km.

The Focus Electric will also get several new features and technologies including a unique version of the MyFord Touch driver connect system developed especially for electric vehicles, a new value charging feature powered by Microsoft and a smartphone app called MyFord Mobile that helps plug-in owners control their vehicles remotely.

The North American variant of the Focus Electric will be built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, with sales to commence at the end of 2011. Ford said that for European markets, a decision on where the Focus Electric will be built is currently being finalized, but sales are scheduled to start before 2013.