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Ford is taking a piecemeal approach to reducing vehicle emissions, but the crown jewel of its eco-friendly lineup is the Focus Electric. This zero-emissions version of the Focus goes down a different path than rivals like the Nissan Leaf; by that, we mean that Ford didn’t create a dedicated EV platform or design.

Instead, Ford adapted its existing Focus compact to be one of many options shoppers intent on reducing their footprint can take home with them.

Behind the wheel of an engine-less car
There is no ignition key tumbler in the Focus Electric, a common enough trend nowadays, but the only way of knowing the car is ready to go after pressing the start button is through an infographic on the dashboard and a light. Like in a conventional automatic, the car will creep forward or back once the brake is released. The shift pattern includes Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive, and Low, all of which are again familiar.

Once underway, the car’s hefty 3,691 lbs. curb weight isn’t really felt in normal driving thanks to the electric motor’s instant and generous torque delivery. It’s eerily quiet too, only allowing the sound of traffic, wind noise and a distant hum to keep occupants company. The brakes aren’t as grabby as we expected, but they do take some getting used to. They produce a quiet thrum from under the hood, a sign that the regenerative system is working. An infographic that shows three arrows chasing each other in a circle on the LCD screen in the dash tells the driver the battery is being recharged under braking.

Merging onto a busy street triggered the traction control system, with the telltale light on the dash flashing. The official torque rating of 184 lb-ft doesn’t look that great, but it pours on instantly since electric motors don’t have a peak. The Focus Electric’s motor is rated at 107 kW, which equates to 143 horsepower, but the car feels much quicker than that number and the vehicle’s weight would suggest. The unique delivery made squirting into and out of holes in traffic easy and, dare we say it, kind of fun.

While we didn’t quite get to the official 84 mph top speed on our loop, we saw about 50 mph and can attest to a pleasant instant surge of acceleration that no doubt also surprised drivers around us.

Off the line acceleration was also impressive, and it was too easy to squeal the tires, being used to four-cylinder gas engines without a lot of down-low torque. Though this isn’t the car’s mission; instead, it’s a by-product of the electric motor’s might.

Of course, matting it isn’t ideal for the range, and the car’s onboard Energy Coach that consists of three horizontal bar graphs that give the driver feedback on how efficiently they’re driving. The fuller, the better, and after we stepped on it, the acceleration bar went to about halfway and turned yellow. We assume even worse performance will return a red colored bar but weren’t able to confirm this.



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