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Electric and plug-in hybrid market ramps up

Date: 26 June 2013   |   Author: Rachel Burgess

European production of Ford's Focus Electric has begun, with the first cars reaching customers in July.

The pure electric vehicle is the first mainstream zero-emission car for Ford, and will be joined by the C-max plug-in hybrid next year, followed by the Mondeo Hybrid.

The Focus Electric produces 145hp with a top speed of 84mph, and on a full charge of three to four hours can deliver up to a 100-mile range.

Meanwhile, Seat has unveiled its plug-in electric prototype, based on the lower-medium Leon.

The Leon Verde is the product of a four-year research project, and has a 1.4 TSI 122hp petrol engine with a 102hp electric motor.

Emitting 36g/km CO2 and fuel economy of 176.6mpg, the prototype has a 310-mile electric-only range while it can reach 507 miles with a full battery and petrol tank.

There are no plans to put the car into production, but the project also developed a smart car charging system, which intuitively knows when the electricity grid is in low demand, allowing the car to be charged during those times only, making it cheaper.