CODA vs. Ford Focus Electric vs. LEAF: Part II

ford-focus-new-gen2 coda-focus-leaf2This is the second in a series of three entries focused on the pros and cons of three electric vehicles we are considering buying, the CODA Automotive Sedan EV, the Ford Focus Electric, & the Nissan LEAF. The first focused on the CODA EV, this one looks at the Ford Focus Electric.

editors-blog-entry3For me, the Ford Focus Electric is the most intriguing of the three EVs – CODA Automotive Sedan EV, Focus Electric, or Nissan LEAF — we’re seriously considering buying.

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Part of that might be because there’s not a whole lot of information out there about the Focus Electric, other than the fact that it’s expected to start appearing on dealer lots in the U.S. in the summer or fall of 2011. In contrast to the LEAF and CODA Sedan EV, which both have extensive web sites, Ford does not have Focus Electric web site. [I sense a Lyle Dennis opportunity here – Dennis is the Michigan doctor who managed to hit it big with a fan web site devoted to the GM Volt ;-)]

Ford has not announced a price, or even price range for the Focus Electric.

It’s pure speculation, but it is difficult to believe that the price will be as high as the $40,000 to $45,000 pre-Federal tax credit price being bandied about in relation to the CODA Automotive Sedan EV (In fact, the CODA’s price has not been made official – and you can’t find it anywhere on the CODA Automotive web site).

It’s also a bit difficult to believe that the Focus Electric will priced as low as the LEAF, which carries a pre-Federal tax credit price of $32,780 and which will be around $25,000 after the tax credit.

With a so-called active thermal management system to control battery temperature – something the first generation LEAF does not have, at first glance, anyway, it would seem that Ford won’t be able to match the LEAF’s price. Then again, Ford is a big-name, large volume auto producer and the Focus Electric will be built on the Focus ICE platform, so, who knows, maybe Ford will come in with a price that meets, or beats, the LEAF.

Here’s our take on the Focus Electric–>

ford-focus-new-gen1Ford Focus Electric


  • Ford’s a big-name automaker + the Focus ICE has a proven track record. While I root for underdogs like CODA Automotive, with a big, established auto company like Ford, you can be pretty certain that they’ll be around years after you buy the car if something does go wrong.
  • The Focus Electric’s design. My car design tastes are, as I noted in our look at the CODA Automotive Sedan EV, comparatively conservative with the Acura TSX one of my favorite looking gasoline cars. The 2011 Focus will be a brand new design and, from what I can tell, it’s going to look very nice – and rather European. I tend to like cars designed with a European look, or basically cars which look sporty with extra spoilers, etc.
  • A sophisticated battery temperature control system. Ford recently announced a thermal management system will regulate the Focus Electric’s battery temperature. Most EV experts agree that such a system is crucial to extending battery pack life.
  • A lower price than the LEAF? Plug In America’s well-respected Vehicle Tracker does not list an anticipated price for the Focus Electric. However, PlugInCars.Com lists a pre-Federal tax credit price of $30,000 for the Focus Electric. I’m not sure where PlugInCars.Com gets this figure from, as I haven’t seen it anywhere else on the Internet. However, if it’s accurate, the Focus Electric is obviously going to be priced lower than the LEAF, at a pretty incredible $22,500 after a $7,500 Federal tax credit. If you add state tax incentives up to $5,000 in some places on top of that, you’re talking about an absolutely mind-boggling out-of-pocket cost of $17,500 for a fully electric Focus. This for a car most Americans will be able to fuel for about one-third the cost of a gasoline vehicle! And, if you’re sitting on top of 15,000 to 18,000 banked kWh generated by a home solar system like we will be by the time the Focus Electric becomes available in Colorado in late 2011 (or maybe early 2012?), we’ll be able to fuel it for free!
  • Ford’s commitment to greener production of cars. Some Ford Focus Electrics will be built at a Michigan plant that’s scheduled to be fitted with 500 kW solar array. For the editor of SolarChargedDriving.Com, that’s a big plus. focus-bev1In addition, Ford seems to be genuinely committed to greening its car production. Ford says that renewable or green power supplies three percent of its energy needs worldwide. To be fair, Nissan has put 1,500 solar panels on two of its Spanish plants – and earned local Spanish accolades as a result. And word has it that CODA Automotive is considering outfitting its Santa Monica, Calif. headquarters with a rooftop solar system.


  • Having to wait a little longer for the Focus Electric than for the LEAF or CODA Sedan EV – maybe. The LEAF is getting all the press for being “first” (although Tesla has had the Roadster out for two years!) production EV to become widely available in the U.S. Of course, if you don’t live in California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Tennessee – where some LEAFs will be available by the end of 2010, or in Texas or Hawaii, where Nissan says LEAFs will be on lots by January 2011, you won’t be seeing LEAFs on your local Nissan dealer’s lot until at least Spring 2011. In fact, according to Nissan, the majority of America won’t see LEAFs available for purchase until the Fall of 2011. The Fall of 2011 is supposedly when the Focus Electric will start being delivered around the U.S., although Ford hasn’t made any official announcements yet.
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  • A Focus Electric will look pretty much like any other Focus. Few people will notice that a Focus Electric is not a gasoline car. In other words, it won’t turn heads like the LEAF. But, since I’m planning to ad-wrap our EV and turn it into a rolling advertisement for 100-percent air pollution free solar driving, I’m not too worried that people won’t notice our car is different, that it’s electric, or that it’s running on sun.

Now that I’ve taken a closer look at the Focus Electric and if the PlugInCars.Com price of $30,000 prior to the Federal tax credit is accurate, it’s beginning to look extremely enticing. What do you think? We would love to hear from you!

Next in our series comparing the CODA Sedan EV, Ford Focus Electric & Nissan LEAF–>
The Nissan LEAF

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