Detroit motor show 2011 - Ford Focus EV

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The Ford Focus EV will be a long way from being the biggest seller in the range, but you can gauge the importance of the electric Focus for its makers by the fact that it has been launched at the company’s home motor show.

It will provide a spearhead for Ford’s planned five-car electric range into the future.

We were also given a glimpse of the sort of people Ford sees as potential buyers when it unveiled the car at the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas a couple of days before Detroit.

In short, Ford has identified the tech-savvy as early adopters – and as a result the car is also loaded with kit, including a bespoke sat-nav that also measures the car's electric range.

Ford has also teamed up with Microsoft to develop a charging system that automatically charges the car when electricity supply is at its cheapest.

The car, which uses the same chassis as the new Ford Focus is powered by a by a 28kWh lithium ion battery. It's capable it a 100-mile range between charges, the same as the Nissan Leaf, and a top speed of 84mph.

A full charge from a standard 240V socket will take three to four hours, says Ford – this is half the time it takes the Leaf to do the same.

Prices haven't been released, but the car is expected to go on sale in the UK from 2012.

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