EV Review: 2018 Ford Focus Electric

 In Electric Cars

Introduction

Electric vehicle technology is slowly becoming more commonplace, and the Ford Focus Electric is one of the old-timers already. The Tesla Model 3, new Nissan LEAF, the Kia Soul EV, and several other models are late to the party comparatively. Although the Ford Focus Electric has been around longer than most, it surprisingly hasn’t jumped out in the lead for sales or innovations.

Grey 2018 Ford Focus ElectricThe 2018 Ford Focus Electric offers fair value in terms of technology for the price tag. It’s a modest-looking hatchback that doesn’t scream ‘electric vehicle’, and it’s offered with a nice complement of features inside. Its performance isn’t anything to write home about, but there isn’t anything to complain about either.

As EVs go, the 2018 Ford Focus Electric isn’t impressive or repulsive. It’s simply middle of the road. The Focus Electric is like a middle child: it doesn’t get the attention it deserves and doesn’t make a big stink about it either. But in the quickly advancing electric vehicle realm, the Ford Focus Electric is at risk of being left in the dust if its range and performance isn’t updated soon.

Exterior styling

It would be very easy to forget the fact that the 2018 Ford Focus Electric is an EV on appearance alone. That’s one of the problems with being a niche subsegment in a high-volume model, but it’s also something that many EV buyers like. It looks nearly identical to the gas-powered Focus but with an electric charging port hidden behind the traditional fuel door.

Charge port with LED lightsThere’s only one trim level available that contains mid- to high-level Focus exterior trim. It has body-color door handles and mirror covers, LED signature lighting, LED taillamps, chrome beltline moldings, and a roof-mounted spoiler all as standard equipment.

It looks very much like the Ford Focus Titanium hatchback, which is good. A little more differentiation would be positive too.

Fit and finish interior

The 2018 Ford Focus Electric comes in just one trim level and has just one option package available. If you don’t like choices, it’s good. And the Focus Electric’s equipment suits the type of buyer who is interested in this car: a mid-income businessperson or an environmentally-conscious middle-class family person.

It includes as standard equipment ambient lighting, remote start system (presumably to warm or cool the interior), Intelligent Access with Push Button Start, and eco-conscious cloth upholstery with heated front seats. The infotainment system is the same on all 2018 Ford Focus Electric hatchbacks – a SYNC 3 system with Enhanced Voice Recognition, an 8-inch touchscreen, a Sony-powered 9-speaker system, and voice-activated navigation.

Interior of Ford EV

The only option package available adds a rear armrest with storage and leather-trimmed seats with an 8-way power driver’s seat.

The Focus Electric includes SmartGauge with EcoGuide instrument cluster. It gives visual cues on how to get better efficiency or range from your vehicle. Reverse Sensing and Tire Pressure Monitoring System are standard as well, but it would be great to have more driver-assistive features, or at least an option package with them. For the price, though, you can’t have everything.

Driving Experience

If you’re looking for a high-performance car – a ‘hot hatch’ as it were – this isn’t the car for you. But if you’re searching for a car that is mildly enjoyable on the road and doesn’t burn a drop of gasoline, you’ll love the 2018 Ford Focus Electric.

Its 143-hp electric motor has just a slight hum as you press into the accelerator. The low-end EV torque is present off the line, but you won’t be winning many races with an 84-mph top speed. Interstate travel is achievable, although it doesn’t feel like there’s much more past the 75mph speed limit. Typical MacPherson strut front suspension and electric power-assisted steering give it the feel of a normal Focus on the road…minus the engine noise.

2018 Ford Focus ElectricRegenerative braking on the Focus Electric does exactly as advertised, almost performing like a single-pedal vehicle. You can set its level for your comfort and the best efficiency too, and it definitely contributes to the Focus EV’s range. At just 115 miles, the 2018 Ford Focus Electric needs to be recharged more frequently than the 238-mile-range Chevy Bolt and the 151-mile-range Nissan LEAF, which certainly hurts if you’ll be using your EV for long-distance drives.

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 / 135 km/h
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles or 60,000 km

Conclusion

The 2018 Ford Focus Electric is intended for people playing the long game. It’s priced $5,000 more than the Focus Titanium, so the payoff for choosing an electric car comes when parity happens with fuel savings. It’s probably five years or more, depending on the mileage you drive.

Unfortunately, it’s only available in select states and from certified Ford dealers. Only a few thousand Focus Electric cars will hit the road in 2018. They’ll go to people near those certified dealers, and will typically be environmentally-conscious families or business commuters from the suburbs.

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  • Claudiu Hromei

    Hi,
    2017, for 6 months now. Doing 140km (86miles) commute (Canada). No battery issues. During the winter was hardest, had to use the heating from time to time. Charging during the night 1.50 CAD/Day. Now I have charging at the office, so it’s much better and only 75Cent CAD/Day. If you what to save Monday this is the car for you. And if a family man… should be second car for Commute only. For commute – I would give this car A+ (so maneuverable – I overtook even high end sports cars, small and easy to park and change lanes easy (UPGRADE the Tires … Stock tires too slippery) ). you can use it for shopping too… but do not bring the family. One more bonus… battery is in the back… so will be very easy to upgrade in 10 Years after warranty is done. Cheers

    • That’s great, Claudiu! Thanks for sharing your personal experience with your EV.

  • MH

    I have had my new ford focus ev 2017 for ~ 3 months and have not had these issues – it definitely sounds like the battery – however are you blasting the heater (Heater makes ~ 30mile reduction) – and are you heavy on the gas? If not get the battery checked.

  • Bryan Keil

    I have had my 2017 FFE for about one year now and have 14,000 miles on it. I drive it about 50-70 miles a day and the battery seems to be exactly the same as the first week I had it. I very rarely use the heater as the electric seats keep me cozy and the preconditioning sets it up great in the morning and evening. I do have the luxury of have free charging at work, so I can always leave work with a full battery. I recently drove 121 miles on a single charge and had 14% battery left. The display almost always show 120 miles when full and sometimes 130 miles. I have only used a fast charger several times when I went on 80 mile one way drives and it was very convenient and fast as a lot of grocery stores in my area have them.

    This happens for a reason though. I almost never use the A/C or the heater, I drive maximum 60 mph using cruise control, I always try to follow a large truck, accelerate slow and smooth, and deceleration trying to get maximum regen. For those of you that think you cannot drive 60 mph, just leave a few minutes earlier and it works out the same, just with way less stress. It is a lot of work in the beginning, but now it is just the way I drive without a thought. I also live in the San Francisco Bay area coastal are where the temperatures are 60-80 degrees most of the year.

    This is the most economical vehicle that I have ever owned with a cost of about 27 cents a mile including insurance, lease payment and electricity. Maintenance is zero and downtime has been zero. I love my FFE.

  • Vance Vance

    When weather is cold, keep the car electrically connected and then ‘start’ the car to heat the interior (and battery packs) without depleting the battery. Heating the interior of the car while driving requires much more energy than simply heating the seat(s). Slow acceleration of no more than one mile per hour per second on level roads produces good range. City driving, jumping from stop light to stop light, or accelerating up hills makes heavy demands upon battery capacity. When I have driven my 2017 Ford Focus Electric conservatively and in good weather conditions, it has reported a range of 153 available miles. Cold winter conditions often produced only about 75 available miles. Learn to time traffic lights and coast much more often.

    • Teng-Chou Yang

      It’s nothing to do about weather condition or driving habit, it end up with 20 miles only with full charge after a month! I brought it to another service center and they fixed the issue. Spent around 2 months waiting for the car! finally got it fixed. Some dealership just don’t want to spend time on it because there is no profit.

      • Vance Vance

        Thank you and please excuse me. I had thought that only Ford-certified dealerships could sell and service electric powertrain vehicles. The first Ford service center should have found and sent your car to responsible employees if they had no troubleshooting skill – while providing you with a loaner car.