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Faster Charging a Major Advantage for Ford EV

Ford’s biggest selling point for its 2012 Focus Electric ($39,600) is that it charges twice as fast as other electric vehicles when using a Level 2 240-volt supply. Having tested a Focus Electric for a couple of days, I can confirm that the claim is both true and a compelling advantage indeed.

In the simplest terms, a depleted Focus battery can be fully recharged in about four hours compared with about eight hours for a Nissan Leaf. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which I recently reviewed, uses a smaller battery and takes closer to seven hours. But it’s not just about full charges; it’s about how many miles you can drive in a given day, and some other less obvious advantages.

For the record, the Leaf and i-MiEV offer optional ports for DC quick charging, known as Level 3, which the Focus doesn’t support. (Ford says it’s waiting for a standardized connector.) But Level 2 is what matters most because Level 3 charging would be cost prohibitive for the home, and no car that relies solely on battery power is viable if all you have is 120-volt household power, known as Level 1.
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