Ford Focus Electric To Directly Tangle with Nissan Leaf by Late 2011By Bill Visnic November 16, 2010
Ford Motor Co. Monday released a list of U.S. metro areas in which its all-electric 2011 Focus Electric will be launched, beginning late next year.
By the time Ford begins selling the Focus Electric in 19 cities, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. is scheduled to be mostly complete with its nationwide rollout of the Leaf Electric vehicle, pitting the two closely-sized cars directly against one another in the chase for early-adopter dollars.
Nissan begins Leaf retail sales next month, but most of its initial markets will not begin to be served in earnest until next year, with sales to the full country available by late 2011, the company has said, providing Nissan with nearly a full-year lead over Ford. But the crossover in launch markets will allow the two companies to take advantage of electric-charging infrastructure investments and initiatives and other efforts to spur the nascent technology.
The cities in which Ford will introduce the Focus Electric and in which Ford and Nissan will be head-to-head when Focus Electric sales start in late 2011: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Raleigh-Durham, Richmond (Va.), San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tucson and Washington, D.C.
"This is the first step in rolling out the Focus Electric. As the country continues to build up its Electric vehicle infrastructure and demand for the Focus Electric grows, Ford will continue to evaluate additional markets and consider making this vehicle available in more cities across the country," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, in a statement.
The Focus Electric will be built in Ford's Wayne, Mich., assembly plant, a sprawling factory that is symbolic of the shift in U.S. consumer tastes and national priorities. The plant formerly built fullsize pickup trucks and SUVs, but the company completely retooled the Wayne site, spending $550 million, to build conventionally-powered versions of the new-generation Focus compact car as well as the Focus Electric.
Ford also said it will install a 500-kilowatt solar panel array as well as a 750-kilowatt battery storage capability at the Wayne plant that it is projected will save $160,000 in electricity costs annually. The plant also will incorporate 10 electric-vehicle charging stations.