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Behind the Wheel of Ford’s First Electric Vehicle

•, By Damon Lavrinc
 Ford announced plans to electrify its Focus compact at last year’s CES and the automaker has already begun handing out its EV hatch to fleets, including the delivery of the first Focus Electric to Google. Later in 2012, Ford will begin selling the Focus to consumers in 19 markets across North America, with prices starting at $39,200 – or about $4,000 more than the Nissan LEAF before taxes and any state or federal government incentives.

But do you want it?

We took to the streets of San Francisco for a brief drive in Ford’s first EV and discovered that while it might not boast the bespoke body as its competition from Nissan, the Focus Electric wins on charge time and something that’s been missing from other mass-market EVs: genuine fun.
A cursory look at the Focus Electric’s stats aren’t going to stoke the flames of enthusiasts’ hearts. The front-mounted electric motor powering the front wheels is good for 141 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque, the latter of which is available – as with all EVs – as soon as you tramp the throttle. That makes for a spirited sprint from a stop, despite being down some 20 lb-ft from the Nissan. But more impressive is the tractability of the brushless motor and the single-speed gearbox putting the power down.

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