Ford, Chevrolet Rev Up All-Electric Cars

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Ford is taking reservations for its 2012 Focus Electric, which will be available in New York, New Jersey, and California before rolling out to other markets.

The next wave of alternative fuel cars in the United States rolled into the spotlight recently. Ford opened reservations for its first all-electric passenger car, the 2012 Focus Electric, on November 2. And last month, General Motors’ Chevrolet announced it will produce an all-electric version of the Chevrolet Spark mini-car, the Spark EV. Last year saw launches of the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, high-profile plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) that were rolled out across the United States.

Ford’s hatchback will be equipped with a 92-kilowatt electric motor and powered by a 23 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that is liquid-cooled. Ford said the EV would get a mpg rating that is competitive with other EVs in its category. The Focus Electric includes regenerative braking, a technology that Ford said captures more than 90% of the energy normally lost as heat during braking and recycles it to recharge the battery. The automaker said the vehicle’s base price would be $39,200. It will be delivered in New York, New Jersey, and California first and then become available elsewhere. See the Ford press release and the Focus Electric website.

Chevrolet announced on October 12 that it would produce the Spark EV, selling it in limited markets starting in 2013. The automaker said California would be one such market for the urban-style car. Chevrolet said that it would incorporate feedback from participants in its EV demonstration fleets in Shanghai, China, (Sail EV), Korea (Cruze EV), and India (Beat EV). Battery-maker A123 Systems will supply the advanced nanophosphate lithium-ion battery packs that will power the Spark EV. Details on specific markets, range, quantities and pricing will be announced later, the company said. See the Chevrolet press release.

Reprinted from EERE Network News, a free newsletter of the U.S. Department of Energy.