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Ford unveils the 2011 Focus Electric at 2011 CES

This morning at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Ford Motor Company unveiled the Ford Focus Electric – set to hit the US market in late 2011 as their first attempt to compete with the likes of the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt.

Physically, the Ford Focus Electric unveiled at the 2011 CES looks very similar to the gasoline-powered 2012 Focus 5-door set to launch in the US this year with the exception of a refined front fascia and an Electric-specific set of 17” lightweight wheels wrapped in low-resistance tires. There is also the LED-wrapped charging door that replaces the fuel door, which is located on the driver’s side front fender and should the LED ring make it to production, it adds a nice bit of techno-styling to the Focus Electric.

The much bigger news about the new Ford Focus Electric is the drivetrain, as this new Ford EV is driven by a 100kW electric motor supported by a 23kWh battery. This setup delivers 123 horsepower and 181lb-ft of torque to the front wheels; helping this sporty 5-door to reach a top speed of 84 miles per hour. The EPA-rated electric range will not be official until we get closer to the release of the vehicle but we can expect the Focus EV to have a range around 100 miles.

Most importantly, Ford claims that the Focus Electric can go from depleted to fully charged in just 3-4 hours using a 240 volt charging station – the Nissan Leaf takes around 7 hours to reach a full charge with the 240V station. Unfortunately, like the Leaf, the Focus Electric takes up around 20 hours for a full charge when connected to a standard 110v socket. Also, to make managing your electric vehicle easier, Ford has partnered with Microsoft to help reduce the cost of charging, with the system charging when demand and prices are lowest. Finally, Ford will include an application for modern smartphones to work with the MyFordTouch system in the Focus Electric to keep the owner posted as to the charging status, allowing the owner to both monitor and control the charging process.

The Ford Focus Electric will be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan on the same high-tech assembly line as the rest of the North American-spec Ford Focus units.