Ford Focus Electric gets butterflies when it thinks about going further on a charge:
To coincide with the announcement Ford made yesterday about the Focus Electric getting an estimated 100 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe), the automaker invited a group of journalists to the Michigan Assembly Plant where it will build the EV alongside the gas-powered Focus and other vehicles. In fact, the MAP has already begun building Focus EVs, since the car goes out for its first deliveries in January. You can go on a visual tour through the plant in the gallery below.
While there, we got a few more details about the new EV, including that it will use a modified version of the leaves in the SmartGuage cluster from the first Fusion/Milan hybrids from 2008. This time, instead of leaves, the car will show drivers butterflies. What they mean, in general, is how much "surplus" range the driver has. "Surplus" here isn't some magic battery genie who grants you three wish miles whenever you rub his lamp. It's simply a graphical representation of how many EV miles you have after reaching your destination, should you input that into the navigation system. What's interesting is that the number of butterflies will vary for a particular number of miles depending on the particular car's history. Thus, careful drivers will see more butterflies to indicate 20 miles beyond the destination than someone who regularly jackhammers the go pedal.
Also, once you're arrived at your destination, the dashboard will show the driver what the efficiency results of the previous drive were, and there is a recapturing energy coach to give you instant feedback about how much of the potential braking energy you actually recaptured when you come to a stop. So, the car itself will offer a lot of information about how much range you have left in the battery and how to "get" more.
But here's the kicker: Ford isn't talking about official range estimates for the Focus Electric quite yet. Still, there were hints sprinkled around the press event yesterday, from a display showing a charging battery with the "full" coming at the 80-mile mark (pictured above, right. The image on the left was meant to illustrate how handy the 6.6 kW on-board charger will be to drivers who top off during the day) to an iPhone app demo that showed "full" being 96 miles (see this pic). We heard a rumor that Ford is predicting a 70-mile EPA range, but no one will say anything official. Remember, the Nissan Leaf is officially rated at 73 miles from its 24-kWh battery pack, so 70 miles seems about right, given the Focus' 23-kWh pack.Permalink | Email this | Comments