2013 Ford Focus Electric first drive
* Electric version of latest Ford Focus * 140bhp electric motor; maximum range of 100 miles * On sale now, priced from 28,500 (after Government grant)...
The Ford Focus Electric has been on sale in America since 2011, but it's now heading to Britain in limited numbers.
As with the American version, there's a 140bhp electric motor that gives a 0-62mph time of 11.0 seconds and a limited top speed of 85mph. The maximum range is 100 miles, although you're unlikely to match this in most conditions.
The new Electric is based on a Titanium trim Focus, so you get a Sony DAB radio, sat-nav, a rear-view camera, 17-inch alloys and climate control as standard.
What's the 2013 Ford Focus Electric like to drive?
Apart from the drivetrain, there are very few changes over the regular Focus, so in some ways the driving experience remains familiar. You get steering that's incredibly sharp and a ride that is firm yet composed over all but the worst surfaces.
Unfortunately, using a regular Focus as a basis for an electric car also has its drawbacks. Unlike rivals such as the Nissan Leaf, the Focus wasn't designed with an electric powertrain in mind, and this is evident in the way the car drives. The extra 350kg cause the Ford to sway more through corners; it doesn't feel as composed as the Leaf.
As with all electric cars, there's a massive amount of torque available the instant you press the accelerator pedal, giving the Focus a fantastic turn of pace around town.
Less smooth is the transition between acceleration and regenerative braking; the car can pitch forwards and backwards sharply when you put your foot down or lift off.
Running on electricity means that the driving experience is wonderfully quiet, and that's helped by very little in the way of wind or road noise at motorway speeds.
What's the 2013 Ford Focus like inside?
From the driver's seat, it's almost impossible to tell you're in an electric car – until you press the start button and see the bespoke set of instruments.
These dials give you an indication of how economically you're driving, and you can even collect virtual butterflies in reward for smoothness. There's also a display telling you your speed and your remaining range.
The biggest change to the interior is in the boot. As well as adding lots of weight, the batteries reduce the Focus's already comparatively small luggage capacity by 126 litres to just 190 litres – that's less space than you get in a VW Up.
Should I buy one?
If you do you'll be getting something very exclusive – Ford expects to sell only around 30 electric Focuses a year in Britain.
However, that's largely because prices start at a whopping £28,500 – even after the Government's electric car grant has been factored in. Rivals such as the Nissan Leaf and smaller Renault Zoe are cheaper and better.