By on February 9, 2017

Ford Focus Electric

The Ford Focus Electric is one of the most unloved models in North America right now, and its lonely existence translates into big savings for thrifty shoppers willing to make do with a less-capable EV. Ford cut $6,000 from the car’s price in 2015, and sales continued to fall despite a $4,000 price reduction the year before. You can also lease one right now for little more than a smile and a handshake.

Electric cars remain a difficult sell, especially considering there is always something better right around the corner, but leasing them is exceptionally popular — comprising roughly three-quarters of the EV market. It makes sense when lease-rate comparisons typically work out to EVs being more affordable than a similarly priced internal combustion vehicle. 

Eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit and $2,500 clean vehicle rebate in California, leftover 2016 Focus Electrics can be leased at $119 a month over a 36-month term with only $669 down. According to CarsDirect, this month saw an impressive swell of discounts up to $15,000. The resulting $50 per month drop and $1,330 less due at signing makes this the cheapest EV on market.

In fact, it’s the cheapest lease deal CarsDirect could find among 420 vehicles of all types.

Also unbelievably low is its 76 mile range. The 2016 Focus Electric is a technological dinosaur and, despite being slightly more fun to drive, it hasn’t aged any better than the 2016 Nissan’s Leaf. Nissan’s venerable EV can be scooped up for $199 a month and $1,999 down, or a little less if you remind dealers that it’s now the older uglier model with a tepid 84 mile range. (For 2017, Ford has bumped up the EV’s range to an even 100 miles.)

The 2016 Kia Soul EV is also priced slightly below dirt this month. California-specific EV models are set at $169 for 39 months after the buyer puts down $999.

Because federal, state, and local incentives are rolled into the price of a lease, along with any discounts applied by the manufacturer or dealer, a $30,000 dollar EV can be priced below a $16,000 gas burner. So, if you are in the market to lease and don’t need to grind through a lot of miles during your daily commute, electrics can be among the more affordable options — especially if you live on the West Coast.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

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27 Comments on “The Ford Focus Electric is Now the Cheapest Car in America...”

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Matt, is that pricing available only in Fantasyland? Or does Ford Canada not know what is going on?

    According to the Ford Canada website, the list price is $32k plus admin/shipping, plus tax. Minus a Ford $1k cash back bonus and a possible Ontario ‘green vehicle’ rebate of up to $9,600.

    That might be OK.

    But as far as your “smile and a handshake” Ford Canada is listing a 48 month lease rate, with 25,000kms per year of $597 (tax in) per month with zero down.

    Neither enticing nor competitive.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      I looked into this and you’re right. Going to Ford’s U.S. website had me at around $233/month with $2,608 due at signing (10,000 miles using a New York zipcode). Of course the U.S. figure calculates over $10K in incentives automatically and includes it in the rate– which is one reason the monthly rates are so low.*

      The Canadian website didn’t do this (at least not when I used an Ontario mailing address). However if that $9,600 were to be calculated U.S. style and rolled into the price of a lease they’d be a little more even.

      That said, Canada is still getting the shorter end of the stick. The Electric Focus is much cheaper in the States with California (our Fantasyland) having the best incentives overall.

      *Keep in mind that this hunt was for a 2017 Focus Electric, which would be bumped up a fair margin. All of the last MY electrics are a comparative steal.

    • 0 avatar

      With 130km of range at best, you’re probably not driving that much. If we apply the $9600 as a trade-in value, and take 16k a year, it’s $307+tax. Still, I don’t think we ever get the lease specials the US does.

  • avatar

    Manufacturers here in Canada are always a lot less willing to give good deals. All that talk about BMW buying their way to the top last year with great incentives, and the dealers here still acts like they are doing you a favor selling you their cars. You won’t see lease number like that any where north of the border.

    I guess you can always go down to get a deal in US. But with that 100 mile range, it’s gonna be hard to drive that car home.

  • avatar

    The biggest argument against new electric cars is *used* electric cars.

    2013+ Leaf with under 30k miles can be found all day long for $7500.

    • 0 avatar

      Buying used means you miss out on the $7500 federal tax credit, though.

      • 0 avatar

        Means nothing when it trades at 1/3rd purchase price in 2 years.

        MY15 Ford Focus Electric Hatch

        04/12/16 Manheim New York Factory $14,100 10 Avg White EL A No
        03/02/16 Manheim Southern California Factory $17,000 1,342 Avg White EL A No
        07/27/16 Manheim Detroit Lease $12,900 1,495 Avg Gold EL A No
        06/21/16 Manheim Kansas City Factory $11,200 1,598 Avg Silver EL A No
        04/06/16 Manheim Detroit Factory $17,800 2,282 Avg Silver EL A No
        06/08/16 Manheim Kansas City Lease $12,100 2,674 Avg White EL A No
        09/13/16 Manheim Kansas City Factory $10,000 3,230 Avg White EL A No
        04/21/16 Manheim Southern California Lease $11,000 3,717 Avg Gray EL A No
        06/01/16 Manheim San Francisco Bay Regular $12,500 3,779 Avg Gray EL A No
        07/19/16 Manheim Kansas City Factory $9,000 5,499 Avg White EL A No
        06/21/16 Manheim Kansas City Factory $9,400 7,623 Avg Black EL A No
        05/24/16 Manheim Kansas City Factory $8,000 8,739 Avg White EL A No
        11/08/16 Manheim Kansas City Factory $8,200 8,997 Avg Black EL A No
        10/26/16 Manheim Southern California Lease $9,400 13,411 Avg White EL A No
        11/23/16 Manheim Seattle Lease $9,600 14,018 Avg White EL A No
        11/03/16 Manheim Southern California Lease $11,100 15,071 Avg Silver EL A No

  • avatar

    “and don’t need to grind through lot of miles during your daily commute,”

    So… what’s the definition of “lots of miles” on a daily commute?

    • 0 avatar

      I manage a 100-mile round trip commute where I can charge at my destination without a problem in a Leaf. In warmer weather, I use less than half of the battery on each leg. In sub-zero weather, that usage jumps to about 75 to 80%. So, with a 100-mile Leaf, you can handle “lots of miles” in a commute.

      For the Ford, the 100-mile version should be able to handle a 100-mile round trip (with destination charging). The 76-mile version could probably handle a 75 to 80-mile round trip commute depending on conditions. I think it’s safe to say that’s a lot of miles.

      BTW, the Leaf is only available in the 107-mile range version if you go new – although there are probably plenty of new earlier model year 84-mile versions still kicking around.

  • avatar

    I assume high school lots in California are filling up with evs.

    And their generous legislators will surely facilitize them with thousands of charge stations with “free” juice.

  • avatar

    Cheap leases are the only way to go with electrics.

    The technology is moving too fast to buy and there are often deeply subsidized leases, between direct tax incentives and manufacturers subsidizing the leases to meet California ZEV requirements.

  • avatar

    Last I looked you could get a 2016 c max energi for less than the hybrid (after tax credits) in Ontario. Seems like a good deal even if you never plug it in – you can drive in the high occupancy lanes for free with a green license plate…..

    • 0 avatar

      I leased our Energi for less than the going rate on the Hybrid. It’s hard to imagine why you wouldn’t plug it in — it comes with a cheapie 110v charger, and the battery’s small enough that the 110v charger can charge it in about six hours at a power draw of 1400w.

  • avatar

    I went to to search for one. Per the site, there are 59 Ford dealers within 100 miles of me. The search did find one Focus Electric. One.

    It’s a 2016 model, but let’s keep going. I went to the dealer site. Ford’s information is wrong. The dealer doesn’t have the car.

    As best I can tell, this car cannot be purchased at any of the 59 dealers in a 100 mile radius of me. From my perspective, the cheapest car in America does not exist. YMMV.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m guessing that most of them are going to be in California as compliance cars, to satisfy the 2% of sales must be EV rule.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Most likely. A friend of mine who lives in Silicon Valley picked up a Fiat 500e on some super-cheap lease. He uses it as a suburban runabout, and it works fine for that purpose. These short-range cars are ideal for the suburban conditions of places like Silicon Valley, which are not dense enough to have decent mass transit but where 3-digit range is not important. He’s retired now, but he could have used it as a commuter to get to work with no problem.

        A niche product to be sure.

  • avatar

    76 miles, totally useless.

    • 0 avatar

      This all day long.

      I kind of wonder what kind of brain damaged processes came to design this car with a 23kWh pack and 76 miles. I mean everytime I see a story about this car I google it and I look incredulously when google spits back the range.

      I kind of wonder what its like selling these cars when the customer asks that one question and does an about face to *any other dealer*.

      I hear the 2nd gen. is about 110 miles and I guess the same brain damaged management are STILL in charge. It seems like they dont want to sell EVs… I wonder why?

      • 0 avatar

        TonyJZX and markf cannot comprehend that 51% of American commuters have a commute of less than 10 miles.

        • 0 avatar

          Whether this is true or not, the facts dont lie, people have an issue with the above car which has consigned it to the footnotes of history.

          If it truly didnt matter they would have 400,000 presales like some other brand out there…

    • 0 avatar

      One good thing: when whoever actually bought one of them wants to sell it, they’ll have to sell it for such a small amount that anyone with an ICE Focus can pick one up for all the non-powertrain parts as spares, because they’ll be in great condition, seeing as it basically wouldn’t have been possible to drive a long way.

  • avatar

    Minor quibble, but it’s “make do,” not “make due.”

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    One of my coworkers has one of these and he’s had nothing but trouble with it.

  • avatar

    New Headline: Focus Electric in now the biggest money loser in America.

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