DEARBORN – The upcoming battery-powered Focus Electric will outrun theLeaf on a single charge, giving it the highest miles-per-gallon-equivalent rating of any mainstream electric vehicle, officials reveal.
The ’12 model EV will have a range of 76 miles (122 km) between charges and an Environmental Protection Agency rating of 105 MPGe, executives say during a backgrounder here on’s efforts to increase its overall fleet efficiency through 2020 and beyond.
The Leaf officially has a 73-mile (117-km) range and an MPGe of 99.
Ford says the Focus Electric also will offer a better highway rating, at 99 MPGe vs. the Leaf’s 92, and boast 110 MPGe city to the Leaf’s 106.
It will take just over half the time to fully charge a depleted Focus battery, at four hours using a 220V line, compared with seven hours for themodel.
The Focus will develop more horsepower than the Leaf, at 143 vs. 107, but provide less torque, at 184 lb.-ft. (249 Nm) compared with 207 (281 Nm).
The auto maker does not reveal technical details of the new model here, so it is unclear whether lighter weight, a bigger battery or some other design feature gives the Focus its advantage. Pricing also has not been announced.
Ford says its ’13 model Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid has a projected MPGe rating of 100, which would make it the most fuel-efficient midsize sedan in the world.
The mileage ratings suggest the auto maker is making good on its 4-year-old fuel-efficiency-driven product plan Derrick Kuzak, outgoing group vice president-global product development, says is now entering its second of three phases.
Kuzak, who will retire next month, says Ford is moving from a development to a full-implementation period from now through 2020 that will increase use of fuel-efficiency technologies such as stop/start systems, light-weighting, electrification and small-displacement turbocharged engines.
The final phase, targeted for 2020 and beyond, will see electrification used in 25% of Ford’s global fleet, Kuzak predicts. About 75% of electrified models will be hybrid vehicles, not pure EVs.
This year, Kuzak says, Ford will offer 6-speed automatics and electric power steering on 100% of its vehicle lineup. EcoBoost direct-injected, turbocharged engines will be available on 1.5 million vehicles by 2013, up from fewer than 128,000 last year.
“We’ve been working on (EcoBoost) for 13 years,” Kuzak says, adding he believes Ford has an edge over its competitors in DI-turbocharging technology.
The auto maker has 125 patents around EcoBoost, “with that intellectual property all focused on finding the sweet spot between low-end torque and fuel economy,” he says. “We believe we are unique in having found that sweet spot.”
Kuzak says Ford’s MPG-driven technology offers better performance for less money than fuel-efficient products from key competitors.
He points to the upcoming ’13 Fusion, powered by a 1.6L EcoBoost engine with stop/start that will offer equivalent horsepower, torque and highway fuel economy to the new ’13 Chevrolet Malibu Eco but better it by 1 mpg (0.4 km/L) in the city.
“And the value equation will be substantially in our favor,” he says, declining to disclose the price of the car, due later this year.
Comparing the Fusion PHEV to the Chevrolet Volt, Kuzak says the Ford seats one more passenger, boasts a gas-electric range that is 125 miles (201 km) beyond the Volt’s and, at 100 MPGe, outperforms the Chevrolet’s 93 MPGe rating.
“We spent a lot of time…around what the (electric-only) range should be,” Kuzak says of the Fusion PHEV, declining to reveal specific distances the model will be able to travel on battery power.
“If you make the range too large, driven for example by (government) subsidies, you actually will not be doing the right thing from a customer perspective. We’ve done the analysis, across all regions of the world, from a customer-driven perspective to decide what is the size of our battery in a plug-in hybrid.”
Ford says it is holding fast to its mileage-driven product plan because fuel costs will continue to rise as still-developing markets emerge and hike global demand for vehicles and oil.
“We are at a unique time in our economic history,” says Chief Economist Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, noting there are 50-plus emerging markets around the globe on the verge of takeoff. “Growth will happen rapidly over the next 10 years.”
It’s unclear how high and how fast the price of oil will rise, she adds, but it “will be trending up.”