Fears of appliance cars finally manifest themselves. More car manufacturers that ever showed their wares at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the fact that there is a Detroit Motor Show (opening Monday to the press) notwithstanding. Ford notably used CES to take the wraps off its 2012 Focus Electric car.
Range-wise, it will deliver the same 100 miles (YMMV) the Nissan Leaf promises. But Ford has something else up its sleeves: A beefier and cheaper charger. The Focus Electric will require just a three- to four-hour charge on a 240-volt home outlet charging station, Sherif Marakby, Ford’s director of electrification, told Automotive News [sub]. The Leaf will hang up to seven hours on the drip of a 240-volt charging station before its battery is replenished.
Ford’s heftier home charging station will cost $500 to $700 less than those for the Leaf or Volt. Now for an interesting twist: After you bought your Focus Electric from your friendly Ford dealer, another retailer will spring into action: Best Buy. They and their Geek Squad will manage the installation the charging station. Let’s see how that goes down with Ford dealers. Dealers are usually very protective of the identity of their new customers.
Nissan remains (at least outwardly) unimpressed by the rapid charge. Nissan has studied the charging behavior of their customers and “predicts that 80 percent of vehicle charging will happen at home overnight. Whether their electric car finishes charging at 2 a.m. or 6 a.m. will be irrelevant,” said a dismissive David Reuter, spokesman for Nissan North.
And WTH, if customers insist on a faster charge, Nissan will probably sell them a beefier charger. They already have a DC Fast Charger that fills the Leaf in 30 minutes (consult with your local utility company for symptoms of grid anxiety before you consider this amp-sucking monster at home), and what the hell, “we intend to continue exploring faster home charging options,” Reuter said.
Ford will follow the Focus Electric with a Transit Connect Electric, two lithium ion battery hybrids and a plug-in hybrid. Expect more Ford booths at future Consumer Electronics Shows.