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Ford Focus Electric: Test Drive Review

Date: 14 May 2014   |   Author:

Category: Lower medium
P11D price: £33,525
Key rival: Nissan Leaf

Ford is the latest manufacturer to join the electric vehicle marketplace, although it's not pinning the company's future on successful UK sales of its EV. 

According to the firm, the target is in the region of 25 cars this year, a reflection of the high price tag and current slow demand for the new technology, while Ford states the Focus Electric has been brought to the UK in response to interest from fleet customers and in support of the company's business sales. 

Already available in the US, and now being built in Germany for European sales, the Focus EV has
an official range of 100 miles, and from our test drive, 50-70 miles in the real world is very possible, depending on driving style and the type of roads, as higher speed continuous running isn't conducive with efficient battery operation.

The nose is different from the current Focus, the UK's number one business car, although rumour has it that the facelifted version, coming soon, will take on the
look of the electric model. 

Boot space is compromised against the standard car, which was already very small for its class at 316 litres. With the addition of batteries, the boot drops by 79 litres to 237, and it's also an L-shaped area that's not the most practical.

By comparison, the electric Nissan Leaf offers a square 370 litres, and even BMW's i3, a much smaller car, has 260 litres.

From the driver's seat, the Focus Electric won't feel remotely alien to anyone that has driven any automatic Focus - the majority of switchgear and controls are all straightforward carryover.

But that's also a slight criticism in terms of the Focus not being as bespoke an electric vehicle as the likes of the Leaf or Vauxhall's range-extender Ampera, both of which offer much more in terms of simple access to information on battery range, achieved mileage and other pertinent electric vehicle details. 

On the road, the steering doesn't feel as sharp as the regular petrol or diesel hatchback, and while
power is in line with a 140hp internal combustion-engined model, delivery is slightly sluggish for the first half-second before kicking in to the normal rapid take-off expected from electric vehicles. 

The Focus Electric's big problem is its running costs. Expensive at more than £33,000 before the Government's £5000 EV grant, the car's residual values are well adrift of the Leaf or i3, not even hitting 20% for the industry's standard three-year and 60,000-mile distance, although electric models aren't likely to cover that much.

For comparison, the BMW i3, Vauxhall Ampera and Nissan Leaf are quoted at 35.3%, 34.9% and 27.8% respectively by KwikCarcost.

Ford's lukewarm attitude towards the electric vehicle market probably doesn't help this, creating the feeling that the car is only being offered here because customers are asking, rather than there being a desire to make an impression in the market.

This is backed up by the company line currently being that the next EV - a sub-50g/km plug-in C-max capable of 18 miles on electric before switching to internal combustion engine - is not planned to be sold in UK markets.

Ford is, though, pledging to add a sub-100g/km Mondeo hybrid following on from the car's delayed UK launch around a year from now. 

While the Focus electric struggles to match its key rivals for cost and practicality, it is a welcome entrant that will give the sector another boost of credibility, even if the numbers will be lower than rival EVs for the foreseeable future. 


Ford Focus Electric
P11D price £33,525
Model price range £13,995-£33,525
Residual value 19.6%
Depreciat­ion £26,970
Fuel £1500
Service, maintenance and repair £2165
Vehicle Excise Duty £0
National Insurance £0
Cost per mile 63.9p
Range 100 miles
CO2 (tax) 0g/km (0%)
BIK 20/40% per month £0/£0
Service interval 12,500mls
Insurance (1-50) group 20
Warranty 5yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 237/1125 litres
Battery power 107kW
Top speed/0-60mph 84mph/11.0secs
On sale Late 2013


Ford's first EV effort is reasonable but can't match established rivals