Ford Focus Electric Beats Leaf With 105 MPGE Combined

New data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is giving Ford the chance to tout its 2012 Focus Electric as the most fuel-efficient five-passenger car in America. The claim is based on the vehicle’s fuel-economy ratings of 110 mpge in the city, 99 on the highway and 105 mpge combined.

And what, you might be wondering, is this mpge thing? Mpge means “miles per gallon equivalent.” It represents the number of miles a vehicle can go using a quantity of fuel with the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline. Gasoline offers energy equal to about 34 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, so the EPA is saying that in city driving the 2012 Ford Focus Electric will go 105 miles on 34 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Got it?

Ford Focus Electric, mpge

image via Ford

This is 6 mpge more than the Nissan Leaf, a difference that might not matter much to most people in practice, but does give Ford a leg up on marketing its vehicle.

And it is apparent that the Focus Electric is intended to compete directly with the Nissan Leaf. It is a similar type of car in a very small but growing market, and Ford made some comparisons between their Focus and the Leaf, such as:

  • The Focus Electric charges in nearly half the time of the Leaf due to a faster charging system.
  • Greater efficiency.
  • More powerful motor.
  • More passenger room.
  • A driving-range-per-charge that is 3 miles longer than the Nissan Leaf. The Leaf’s range is 73 miles per charge and the Focus Electric is 76 miles. Taking advantage of fuel-efficient driving habits, the Focus Electric can drive 100 miles per charge. (This arouses a thought: Isn’t it time that people are taught to utilize more fuel efficient driving habits? They do significantly affect fuel economy and everyone could benefit, regardless of the type of vehicle they drive.)

According to Ford, the Focus Electric can be fully charged in four hours using a 240-volt pipe. This means that it can be fully charged every night before you go to work in the morning and you could drive 76 miles every day.

The lithium-ion battery bank (battery pack) has an eight-year (or) 100,000-mile warranty. Another little convenience is that the charging port is on the driver’s side, so the driver does not have to stretch across the cabin of the vehicle to pay the charging station attendant, if any, and the attendant will not have to walk around to them either.

By the way, you might have noticed that the Focus Electric is more fuel efficient during stop-and-go city driving than it is on the highway, which is the inverse of the case with gasoline powered vehicles. Gasoline powered vehicles waste gas when idling during traffic congestion, burn more power in accelerating from a stop and generally operating more efficiently at relatively high speeds. Many of these factors don’t apply to electric vehicles, and the Focus Electric use regenerative braking to recover energy and use it to power the car.

Nicholas Brown is a regular contributor to and created, which he wrote all the articles on. He has a keen interest in electricity generation and energy storage technology, as well as in household appliances such as air conditioners and refrigerators.

  • K Douglass

    This is great news.  We now will have two electric  vehicles available to the general public at OEM dealers.  I have a Leaf and will buy a Focus electric.  I drive 68 miles a day in my Leaf with the flow of traffic, at highway speeds, with the A/C going, no problem.  It costs me 2.5 cents per mile to drive this car compared to my previous car that cost me 18 cents per mile.  Used to spend $60 a week on gas.  And that was at gas around $3.00 per gallon.  Now I spend $8.50 per week in electricity.  The difference for the year is just shy of $2,500.  I LOVE IT!  and we are looking forward to switching our other gas car to a Ford Focus.

    • Geojeff2000

      I strongly suggest that you not have two purely electric cars. The Volt would allow you to use just electric for daily use under 35 miles, but allow you to drive it for as long as many miles as you need for extended trips. Really the smart choice.

      • Ikeg83

         actually the smart choice is, if someone will have two cars anyway, is to have a purely electric vehicle, such as the leaf or focus electric, and a second purely gas car, such as the focus or hyundai elantra.  These pure gas cars are half the price of the volt, yet rate 40 mpg highway, compared to the 37 mpg highway of the volt after the first 35 miles as it switches to running on it’s gas-powered generator.  The Volt only be the smart choice if the owner only had 1 car.

        • bill_brown

          yes my two daughters have similar cars, one a Ford Fiesta and the other a Honda Fit.  Each average 35 or better mpg combined driving, and cost <$20,000, and those are well equipped models.

          Other discussion, I think Virginia is offering $2,000 tax credit in addition to the Federal.  I'm not sure about Cali but that shouldn't be too difficult to find out on the state web site.

      • Cbg1

        Rental cars??? how often do we take extended trips?

  • alvord1430

    The more EVs the better.  I have an older generation Think City.  Folks don’t realize how dirt cheap it is to drive on electricity.  I’d like to see more 30 minute fast charge stations.  There are 1100 fast chargers in the world and 800 are in Japan.  Only a handful of them in America.

    • Cbg1

      This is not true, there are around 5,000 in the U.S.

      • alvord1430

        Excellent!  Where do I find the 5000 Level 3 chargers listed?  Plugshare? Carstations?  These sites only show about 30 not 5000.  Please let me know where they are.

        • bill_brown

          That rapid a charge rate can kill the battery’s life, not good to use very often, certainly not weekly or daily.

          • waltina

            Interesting.  Nissan says the rapid charging doesn’t harm the Leaf battery.  Japan has been doing lots of rapid charging for several years.  Haven’t heard about battery damage.

          • Pete

            As of 18 months ago, Nissan was saying that frequent fast-charging would lead to accelerated battery degradation: 

          • Billy

            This is all great news.  Now when we can achieve at least 200 miles per day for us commuters, we will be there.  Until then, we are frankly not there.

  • AlonsoC

    Two questions.  Are there tax incentives available?  Also, do you know if the state of California will provide an HOV sticker?

    • Dan Hollands

      There is a $7500 Federal Tax incentive and CA just announced that the Focus EV can drive in the HOV lane

  • PaloAltoWorldView

    Why is production ramping so slowly?  Production started right before Christmas 2011.  How many units does Ford expect to be sold in the first quarter of 2012?  Second quarter?  You would think that Ford, during the first 6 months of production, would produce 5,000 of them and sell at least half of them — some obviously need to be demo cars at the dealerships, and some in inventory.  Actually, they ought to have even more of them in inventory, for sales to be good.

    • Dan Hollands

      No one outside of Ford seems to know how production is going. I have one on order but dealer has no info as to when it might be delivered.

  • bill_brown

    “Another little convenience is that the charging port is on the driver’s side, so the driver does not have to stretch across the cabin of the vehicle to pay the charging station attendant, if any, and the attendant will not have to walk around to them either.”
    Someone is going to sit in their car for a couple of hours while it charges?  Sorry this scenario makes no sense to me.

    I’ve got my FFE on order this week, expecting October delivery.