There is one unexpected, but no less welcome, side benefit to having an electric car: fewer parts to maintain. Ford has worked out that, in comparison with a “normal” 2012 Focus, the Focus Electric eliminates around 20 components that would require regular servicing during the typical 10-year, 150,000-mile life of the car.
Ford released this information to coincide with the 2011 Chicago Auto Show, where its Focus EV is on display. Because it does not have an internal combustion engine, there are many savings. Let’s say that 15 oil changes would work out to a total of $450. Five air filters cost about $125 ($25 each), a couple of cooling system flushes come to $220 or so, a transmission service would be $180, a drive belt $130. Throw in the cost of one set of spark plugs ($70) and the grand total is $1,175.
And that’s on top of the money saved by not buying gas, plus any federal and state credits for purchasing an electric vehicle. Oh, and the time saved by not going to the shop. “About all a driver will have to do is to charge up the battery pack and go,” said Sherif Marakby, Ford’s director of electrification programs and engineering.
The Ford Focus Electric is slated to go on sale in the United States toward the end of this year. The purported range is the current (pardon the pun) standard of 100 miles, but Ford claims this car can recharge twice as fast as a 2011 Nissan Leaf -- in three to four hours using a 240-volt power supply.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Leaf -- MSRP: $32,780 -- at the equivalent of 106 mpg in the city and 92 mpg on the highway, and reckons it will cost $561 a year in electricity. Ford is promising numbers that will be competitive.
COLIN RYAN has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.