EV Review: 2018 Ford Focus Electric

 In Electric Cars, EV Industry

Introduction

The Ford Focus has been around for decades as an extremely cost-effective transportation solution. Essentially, it was a car that was used and abused, then sold for next to nothing or discarded. The current generation is trying to change that, installing a new 2018 Ford Focus Electric version into the lineup. But it just might be too difficult to change the mindset of the typical Ford Focus customer to choose the higher-priced compact sedan.

As a standalone model, the 2018 Ford Focus Electric has the framework of a great car. Its power production is substantial for its size and it has flexible charging capabilities. The Focus Electric is sold equipped with a vast array of standard equipment – much more than any basic Ford Focus sedan or hatchback. In fact, aside from leather seating and your choice of interior and exterior colors, there aren’t any vehicle options to add.

Also on the weak side is the EV range for the 2018 Ford Focus Electric. While most small car buyers use them primarily for short trips, the Focus Electric restricts the ability to go far beyond home base with a paltry 115-mile range.

Exterior Styling

For a compact sedan, the Ford Focus Electric is pretty classy. It doesn’t have the cheap, plasticky look other models tend to gravitate towards, like the Kia Soul EV. The Focus Electric has body-color door handles, heated mirrors, rear spoiler, LED taillamps and signature lighting, and 17-inch alloy wheels. There are even flashes of chrome on the window beltline moldings and headlight bezels. The 2018 Ford Focus Electric isn’t out to be flashy, and it’s great that it doesn’t have the electric-blue accents the competitors seem to think is necessary. Ford is happy to make the Focus Electric appear mainstream, and that’s one of its best exterior qualities.

2018 Ford Focus Electric

Charge port with LED lightsFit and Finish Interior

As mentioned, the 2018 Ford Focus Electric comes with the full load as standard equipment, minus leather seating surfaces. This sole add-on is an extra $1,080, which is well worth it. The seating is modest and comfortable with light bolstering, and there’s sufficient room for four adults. You can squish a fifth person in the back seat if you need. The driver and front passenger get heated seats as well.

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The atmosphere is elevated in the cabin, though, beyond what you might expect. Ambient lighting is a good touch and piano black plastic on the inside looks great. The center stack has Ford’s SYNC 3 system with an 8-inch touchscreen, navigation, and voice-activated commands.  

Interior of Ford EVRemote start is standard equipment with the MyKey Intelligent Access keyless entry system. The SmartGauge instrument cluster with Eco Guide is a great tool to help make sure you’re driving efficiently. When recharging the Focus Electric’s battery, the LED State-of-Charge Indicator is quite helpful too.

Reverse Sensing system, cruise control, and a rear-view camera are more of the Focus Electric’s standard features. Noticeably lacking, however, are any advanced driver-assistive technologies. Whether it’s adaptive cruise control, blind spot information system, or lane keeping system, it would be nice to at least have an optional package to make this model more attractive.

Driving Experience

The gas-powered 2018 Focus has a 2.0-liter Ti-VCT direct-injection engine, producing 160 horsepower and 146 lb.-ft. of torque. Comparatively, the 2018 Ford Focus Electric has a 107kW electric motor – that’s equivalent to 143 horsepower – and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. By all accounts, the Focus Electric dares to be more fun to drive. The immediacy of the torque availability makes acceleration from a dead stop quite impressive at 9.9 seconds, aided by the single-speed gearbox. It isn’t sports car territory, though – Ford left that for the Focus RS.

The Focus Electric doesn’t depart far from the norm where handling is concerned. Typical front MacPherson strut and Ford’s Control Blade independent rear suspension do a fine job of controlling body roll, and the low center of gravity contributes to a stable feel. Don’t expect much road feel through the Electronic Power Assisted Steering system with a notoriously soft steering wheel.

Rear view of 2018 Ford Fusion ElectricRegenerative braking is done well in the 2018 Ford Focus Electric, helping you achieve the estimated range of 115 miles on a charge. Its EPA-estimated fuel efficiency equivalency is 115 MPGe city and 96 MPGe highway.

Unfortunately, with only 115 miles on a full charge, you aren’t going much further than a daily commute with the Focus Electric. An extended range version or higher base battery capacity would certainly add to its appeal.

Features

MSRP $29,120 USD
Type BEV
Electric Range 115 miles / 186 km
Total Range 115 miles / 186 km
Time to Charge 5.5 hours (Level 2)
Electric Motor 107 kW
Battery Capacity 33.5 kWh
Top Speed 84 mph / 162 km/h
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles or 60,000km

Conclusion

For a compact car that’s solely electric powered, the 2018 Ford Focus Electric does alright. The standard equipment inside along with its acceptable performance mean you’ll be pleasantly surprised driving it. The battery range, unfortunately, should be much higher by today’s standards. 115 miles would have been acceptable three to five years ago, and should be the first thing Ford addresses. This compact electric car appeals best to short-range commuters, and possibly environmentally-conscious families.

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