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2012 Ford Focus Sedan

Ford Transit Connect Electric
Ford gives out some details on the Focus Electric's battery system

Ford is doing its best to stay in the headlines when it comes to the latest in tech. Earlier this week, we brought you news of Ford's efforts to deliver SYNC firmware to new vehicles over Wi-Fi instead of using costly custom-designed hardware.

Today, Ford is spilling the beans on the electric variant of the next generation Ford Focus. Ford is already moving the Focus nameplate up a few rungs from a bargain basement special that is popular with fleet customers to a premium compact, so an electric variant isn't too surprising.

The new Focus Electric will use an advanced lithium-ion battery pack that is [active] liquid cooled to help keep the cells at the perfect operating temperature -- that means cooling the batteries in the hot of summer and heating them in the cold of winter. If you recall, Tesla's CEO called out Nissan for using "primitive" air-cooling on the battery pack used in the Leaf EV. Tesla won't be able to make the same claims against Ford.

“Extreme temperatures impact a battery’s life and performance, making it crucial to have an effective cooling and heating system to regulate temperature for these demanding applications,” said Anand Sankaran, Ford's executive technical leader for Energy Storage and HV Systems.

The active liquid cooling system will also be used to "precondition" the battery pack when charging. The system will automatically bring the batteries to the proper temperature before the charging process begins. If the batteries are already at their optimum temperature, the charging process starts right away.

Ford also announced that the driving range for the Focus Electric will be an impressive 100 miles. The 100-mile figure is identical to that of the Nissan Leaf, but the Focus Electric may have the upper hand in extreme temperatures due to the active cooling system. 

Production of the Focus Electric will begin next year at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant and the vehicle will be available to the public in late 2011. It should be interesting to see how Ford will price the Focus Electric given the more expensive cooling system that it's decided to strap into the vehicle. Nissan's Leaf EV starts at $32,780 before a $7,500 federal tax credit. On the other hand, Chevrolet's Volt will start at $41,000 before the tax credit. We speculate that the Focus Electric will come in somewhere between those two figures.

The Focus Electric isn't the only all-electric vehicle coming out of Ford -- the Transit Connect Electric commercial van will be available later this year. That vehicle has a driving range of 80 miles.

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How can this make sense
By Cowardlyduck on 9/2/2010 9:24:40 PM , Rating: 2
Correct me if im wrong, but how can they guarantee 100 mile ratings when the cooling system runs from the cars battery?

Any cooling system in any car is going to use energy from that cars fuel source.

In this case it will just suck down more battery power if it's an excessively hot or cold day would it not?

Unless they made the 100 mile range a minimum, I don't see how it can in any way be consistently consistent in range.

RE: How can this make sense
By InternetGeek on 9/2/2010 9:36:21 PM , Rating: 2
The article doesn't mention that the battery temp control system is active, however in the case of cooling it mentions there is a radiator to chill the water. For cold days it seems something will heat up the water (might be the battery itself during its normal operation).

In another paragraph they mention the battery system is larger.

So, what it sounds to me is that Ford is using a big ass battery that should have enough power to run the car for 100miles and bring the battery to optimum temperature either cold or warm.

RE: How can this make sense
By InternetGeek on 9/2/2010 9:37:45 PM , Rating: 2
The thought just crossed my mind that ford might be using a peltier of some kind...

RE: How can this make sense
By Jedi2155 on 9/3/2010 1:26:06 AM , Rating: 2
Oh God no....I've seen peltier based active cooling systems for large format batteries. They are HUGE, and not very good but they definitely would fit well in something in the likes of a Focus electric given the limited space.

RE: How can this make sense
By AnnihilatorX on 9/3/2010 5:03:24 AM , Rating: 3
Peltier systems are quite energy inefficient

RE: How can this make sense
By Dr of crap on 9/3/2010 8:58:09 AM , Rating: 1
Sorry -
It's in the title and in the article - "active cooling".
So it will being "active" at all times right?
So this would be a drain - even a small drain - at ALL times.
So if the car sits in the garage for 5 days or more, keeping the batteries at the right temp, and then you hop in to use it, will the batteries not be able to go 100 miles?

RE: How can this make sense
By Spivonious on 9/3/2010 9:28:21 AM , Rating: 3
If the car is not being used, the batteries won't need to be cooled.

RE: How can this make sense
By Dr of crap on 9/3/10, Rating: 0
RE: How can this make sense
By SandmanWN on 9/3/2010 10:29:16 AM , Rating: 4
95 is not outside the operating range of the batteries. I have no idea what you are talking about with battery sweat. It would take a serious temperature change from frozen to sweltering for that to occur and if that did happen to the degree you mention the battery used to start your gas powered car would also be effected.

Whats the point of the active cooling system in every gas burning car if it only kicks in when the car is being used... Sounds like a ridiculous question unless you live in a place where the baseline temperature exceeds the operating range of the vehicle, which if I remember correctly is over 150 degrees.

RE: How can this make sense
By Spuke on 9/3/2010 11:56:02 AM , Rating: 2
baseline temperature exceeds the operating range of the vehicle, which if I remember correctly is over 150 degrees.
Care to post a link?

RE: How can this make sense
By SandmanWN on 9/3/2010 2:25:12 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, was doing it from memory. Its in another DT article about the operating temperature of another EV. Go search for yourself.

RE: How can this make sense
By Spuke on 9/3/2010 5:25:00 PM , Rating: 2
Go search for yourself.
You could have left that out. I really wanted to know where you got that from. Besides, there soooo much BS that gets posted here, I believe nothing so I ask.

RE: How can this make sense
By Hoser McMoose on 9/4/2010 11:33:31 AM , Rating: 2
I can't speak so much about the batteries in vehicles, but I've done a bit of work with Li-Ion batteries for cell phones and the basic chemistry of it all is the same.

For Li-Ion batteries a typical maximum operating value is at least 60C (140F). Some Li-Ion batteries are rated for higher temperatures. Also you really don't lose much of anything in terms of the battery capacity at high temperatures, though if you need cooling (either for the batteries or for the interior of the car itself) it will be a bigger drain.

Cold temperatures are a bigger problem. Li-Ion batteries start losing efficiency below about 20C and when temperatures drop below 0C their effectiveness drops off pretty badly. At -10C you only get about 70% of the life as compared to 25C+ temperatures and even less if what you're powering has a low-voltage cut-off as the voltage at which that power provided is lower (at 25C+ the voltage stays pretty constant until the battery is nearly dead, at -10C battery voltage is much more of a slope). Below -20C (-4F) Li-Ion batteries are basically worthless.

Aside: Keep in mind that internal combustion engines also lose efficiency pretty badly when temperatures drop below -10C and diesels in particular are extremely problematic below -20C. At the very least they need additives to the fuel to prevent gelling and glow plugs to allow for combustion. Plus you'll need a heavy coat and gloves to drive in one because it takes a LONG time before you're going to get any heat out of the heating system.

The biggest temperature limitation with Li-Ion batteries, and what seems to be the Ford's focus here (no pun intended, honest!) is battery charging . Here you are limited to a much smaller temperature window than actually using the batteries. Typically you can only charge a Li-Ion battery when they are above 0C and below 35 or 40C.

From my reading of this article it seems like this active heating/cooling system is ONLY for charging, so you won't actually be draining the battery at all but rather using electricity while plugged in. Essentially this will result in a drop in the charging efficiency; if you need 10kWh to get a full charge of the batteries you'll need to put in 11 or 12kWh (keeping in mind that Li-Ion batteries charge at better than 95% efficiency under ideal circumstances and 1kWh buys you a *LOT* of heating, though not as much cooling).

If you really want a link for any of this you can try something like:

Basic specs for a bog-standing Li-Ion battery. There are slight variations between makes and types but the basics are all the same.

RE: How can this make sense
By Dr of crap on 9/3/10, Rating: 0
RE: How can this make sense
By SandmanWN on 9/3/2010 2:34:24 PM , Rating: 4
What attack? And really, both of your posts were less than polite questioning.

Sweating batteries was a metaphor? ...New one for me... Just what is the metaphor for sweating batteries anyway?

95 may be hot for a person but that doesn't translate to the operating temperature of batteries. Pick up just about any battery and the operating temp will be posted as most likely between 140 and 160F.

Why active cooling? Well that's obvious... Longevity of the battery and optimal performance. You are building a consumer product that is designed to last a decade or more with a larger than average battery pack that generates heat. Why else...

RE: How can this make sense
By Alexvrb on 9/3/2010 10:48:31 PM , Rating: 2
Just sitting there, not moving, and not plugged in? I imagine it won't use any thermal management, because it doesn't need to. Ambient temp isn't a problem for storage. Only during charging and powering the vehicle should it need to cool or heat the batteries above or below ambient temps - and in both cases it isn't an issue.

When you're charging, you don't need to worry about a little extra power consumption, if it helps condition your batteries for better capacity and longevity. When you're driving around, the power consumed to keep the battery within a specified temperature range is going to be well worth it, and you'll get better life and range. So... seems like win-win.

Personally though, with the long charge times of a pure EV, I'd rather have an E-REV similar to the Volt. Less battery-only travel, but your travel range is limited only by your ability to purchase gasoline. Yeah, I don't always drive vast distances. But lacking the ability to do so means the EV is an around-town car only. No visiting family out of your range with it.

"Yeah well I was gonna show you my new electric car but... it couldn't make the trip without an overnight stop."

RE: How can this make sense
By Alexvrb on 9/3/2010 10:51:11 PM , Rating: 2
Man that would also make for a hilarious phone call for a tow truck.
"My car is out of juice."
"You ran out of gas? We'll bring a couple of gallons and get you back on the road-"
"No, I mean it's a damn electric car and I thought I could make it! Just come tow me to my house already..."

RE: How can this make sense
By Hoser McMoose on 9/4/2010 11:42:49 AM , Rating: 2
Obvoiusly 95 would be in the range where cooling takes affect

I mentioned it in my excessively wordy post above, but to state it more clearly: 35C (95F) is no problem at all for Li-Ion batteries.

The cooling system exists because on a day when it is 35C outside it might be 50C (122F) inside a garage. No problem at all for starting the car and going driving (no cooling need and no loss in battery performance), but you can't charge the batteries at that temp. If you're charging overnight when temperatures are lower this becomes a non-issue.

The real reason this exists is on the cold temperature end of things.

RE: How can this make sense
By Brandon Hill on 9/2/2010 9:37:50 PM , Rating: 3
My guess would be that any power used by the active cooling system would be far less than the excessive energy drop that would come from batteries that are either too hot or too cold.

But I see your point. The cooling system has to get power from somewhere...

RE: How can this make sense
By Samus on 9/3/2010 3:22:07 AM , Rating: 3
Right, there are two theories:

1) The electricity used to power the heating/cooling system to keep the battery pack running efficiency nearly breaks even. ie, if there were no heating/cooling system, and the battery pack were too hot/cold, it'd be so inefficient that the loss would be equal to or greater than running a heating/cooling system.

2) The amount of electricity used to power the heating/cooling system is virtually immeasurable compared to the electricity used to power the car for 100 miles of driving, probably in the order of using 1 mile range or so of power.

Ford seems to know what they're doing. They're not going to have the problems Nissan and GM are going to have with their battery operated vehicles. If you remember, GM had some issues testing the Volt in the Southwest.

RE: How can this make sense
By Hiawa23 on 9/3/2010 9:48:43 AM , Rating: 2
If Ford can make an EV look that good, why has Toyota not improved the ugly body style of the Prius? That's a great looking car. May come back to Ford when my Mitsubishi & Honda go out on me.

RE: How can this make sense
By docinct on 9/3/2010 2:25:09 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like something from the Hyundai Sonata school of design

RE: How can this make sense
By gregpet on 9/3/2010 1:44:26 PM , Rating: 2
GM's batteries are heated/cooled as well...

See the section on Thermal Mgmt...Ford is playing catch-up...

RE: How can this make sense
By michael67 on 9/3/2010 5:04:28 AM , Rating: 1
I have a water cooled PC, that produces about 800W of heat.

If i calculate the max power-drain of the active cooling components is 50W (2 pump 5 fans), but my fan's and pump go never over 60% max pomp ore fan speed +/- 25W (pomp max flow 400G/h)
The parts: www*aquatuning*nl/shopping_cart.php/bkey/b68ca2c1c4 7c71b66c74d4f1a6ae94fb

And i think that 50W is noting compared to the couple of KW the motor uses, and if the battery is only 1% more power efficient by keeping the power pack at optimal temperature it would take 3 weeks of the cooling system running full speed before it would cost you extra energy, (if the car would stand still).
And i don't think the power pack will have 800W of heat loss due to usage, so real world use, properly going to be a lot less

And if the power pack is good isolated it dose not take mouths energy to keep it warm eider.

Apparently the link i provided make's my post spam 0_o

RE: How can this make sense
By Hoser McMoose on 9/4/2010 11:50:37 AM , Rating: 2
My guess would be that any power used by the active cooling system would be far less than the excessive energy drop that would come from batteries that are either too hot or too cold.

For heating you are absolutely correct.

For cooling it's almost a non-issue. You don't lose anything from batteries that are too hot. Actually you get MORE energy out of them the hotter they get... until they explode (err, ok not 'explode' so much as leak internal gases and stop functioning altogether).

Fortunately for using the batteries you're good up to 60C (140F) with no need for cooling. Given that these batteries will be in the shade, so to speak, you'll need EXTREMELY high ambient temperatures before this becomes an issue, probably above 55C (keeping in mind the highest temp ever recorded was 58C).

The only time cooling the batteries is an issue is if you're CHARGING them when it's really hot. As such the "somewhere" that the cooling system will get power from is the wall socket you're plugged into while charging.

Heating up cold batteries is another story altogether.

By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 9/3/2010 7:13:04 AM , Rating: 3
Might it not be the case that under optimum conditions without the heating and cooling system, the car would travel for let's say, 150 miles on the battery pack alone, and that Ford somehow (they are engineers, after all) calculated the drain the heating and cooling system would have on that range, and then estimated a lower range of 100 miles?

Who's to say they started with a 100 mile optimum range, and then just lied about the drain from the heating and cooling system, or are just hoping no one notices?

RE: How can this make sense
By hughlle on 9/3/2010 9:47:15 AM , Rating: 2
because they probably took best and worst case scenarios and factored in the cooling./heating requirement..

RE: How can this make sense
By Iridium130m on 9/3/2010 10:08:53 AM , Rating: 2
It makes perfect sense. Look at the issues Honda is having with air cooling their battery pack in high temperature regions. And the IMA system on the Honda's only use the packs in limited bursts. Honda is to the point now where, IMHO, they are dishonoring their warranty and refusing the change out the packs and putting software on the vehicles to limit the role of the packs use in the car.

In an EV vehicle, you CANNOT have the battery pack not work. Or be limited. period. Ford has recognized this in their hybrids as my understanding is they have some active forms of cooling in them, and now their EVs.

You are not going to get the full range in high heat. Or low cold. (fuel millage drops in gasoline only vehicles in these scenarios too). But you are not going to destroy the most expensive component in your vehicle either. And I'm sure were not talking only 2500-3500 here per pack replacement as is the case in my car.

RE: How can this make sense
By fteoath64 on 9/3/2010 10:50:45 AM , Rating: 2
This is why I think the batteries idea is a lame one. At least using conventional batteries (lithium ion or lithium polymer), should be using hydrogen-fuel cell. What actually happen to those ?. Used to do 400 mile on a single charge/tank equivalent!.

RE: How can this make sense
By FaaR on 9/3/2010 11:46:22 AM , Rating: 2
Fuel cells have a lot of their own quirks, including need for precious metals for the catalysts, high operating heat, life expectancy and so on.

They're expensive to make, don't last very long, and...seriously, do you really want to drive around with a tank of pressurized hydrogen behind your back? ;)

RE: How can this make sense
By JKflipflop98 on 9/4/2010 2:41:43 AM , Rating: 2
A tank of hydrogen is no more dangerous than a tank full of gasoline. Except in the event of a crash, gasoline lays on the road under your car in a big puddle, whereas the hydrogen just flys off into the atmosphere

By michal1980 on 9/2/2010 8:46:46 PM , Rating: 2
that new focus looks Sweeeeettt.

RE: damn
By Smartless on 9/2/2010 10:15:19 PM , Rating: 3
I agree. That's actually pretty nice and I'd consider buying it... If it wasn't an EV. lol.

RE: damn
By Spuke on 9/2/2010 11:01:15 PM , Rating: 2
It does look very nice!!

RE: damn
By Kiffberet on 9/3/2010 4:05:05 AM , Rating: 1
Pity it cost $40k.
And then another $10k for a new battery every 5 years.

But at least you're saving the environment...if the power you use to charge the battery is from nuclear or re-newable, which in the US it most certainly won't be.

In fact, aparts from the looks, there's not much going for this car.

RE: damn
By semo on 9/3/2010 5:53:04 AM , Rating: 2
If you are greenpeace nut then yeah, you are "saving the environment".

For more technical people we know that one of the biggest advantages of these cars is less street level pollution (you can breathe easier, see further, etc...). I assume that these cars use less machine oil too which would hopefully mean less dangerous spills on the road.

There are plenty of advantages you get from all electric/plug-in serial hybrids and it's not all about that mushy feeling that hippies get when they drive petrol powered hybrids.

Current electric vehicles are not perfect compared to conventional ICE ones but pretty impressive when you consider ICE's have been tested and refined on a massive scale for over a century.

RE: damn
By Spuke on 9/3/2010 3:07:55 PM , Rating: 2
Current electric vehicles are not perfect compared to conventional ICE ones but pretty impressive when you consider ICE's have been tested and refined on a massive scale for over a century.
I guess you're not aware that EV's have been in development just as long. As a matter of fact, EV's predate gasoline engines. The only reasons why we moved away from EV's is because oil was super cheap.

RE: damn
By semo on 9/3/2010 4:07:18 PM , Rating: 2
Another big reason why we moved away from EVs is because of the electric motor. Cranking wasn't required after starter motors were invented, thus eradicating the biggest inconvenience of ICE driven cars.

Also, it doesn't matter how long EVs have existed if no one has bought any in the last who knows how many years. ICEs on the other hand have seen enormous amount of investment and refinement over the years due to the massive volume of units sold (and ultimately "tested" by the end user).

RE: damn
By Spuke on 9/3/2010 5:29:14 PM , Rating: 2
Cranking wasn't required after starter motors were invented, thus eradicating the biggest inconvenience of ICE driven cars.
Interesting. Thanks.

Also, it doesn't matter how long EVs have existed if no one has bought any in the last who knows how many years.
I sit corrected. That is entirely right.

RE: damn
By JohnCBriggs on 9/3/2010 7:55:53 AM , Rating: 2
Batteries are warrantied for at least 8 years/100,000 if not 10 years/150,000 miles.

RE: damn
By Spivonious on 9/3/2010 9:52:48 AM , Rating: 2
They haven't announced pricing yet, at least according to this article.

Also, this Focus will also be available in regular gas engine configurations as well as in a 5-door hatchback style.

They're placing it between the Fiesta and the Fusion, so I'd expect it to start around $18k and top out around $22k. The EV version will probably be around $28-30k.

RE: damn
By Flunk on 9/3/2010 9:04:04 AM , Rating: 2
Rejoice, there is also a dino-powered version.

Out of charge?
By Gunbuster on 9/3/2010 10:00:04 AM , Rating: 2
What happens when a silly user runs the battery down to 0? Do you have to call a wrecker/tow truck?

You cant very well walk to the gas station can you?

Can you "jump" charge a full electric using an ICE car?

RE: Out of charge?
By Nutzo on 9/3/2010 10:58:23 AM , Rating: 2
Just carry a small gas generator in the trunk :)

Then you can walk to the gas station, get a gallon of gas, pour it into the generator, plug the car into the generator, start the generator, and wait an hour or 2 for the car to charge.

RE: Out of charge?
By gregpet on 9/3/2010 1:49:41 PM , Rating: 2
Thsi is called 'Range Anxiety' and is exactly the reason why pure electric cars w/o a range extender (leaf, tesla, focus) will be a difficult sale to non-green buyers...

Unfortunately for all the GM haters, the Volt is the only electric that solves the problem with the ICE generator...

RE: Out of charge?
By Gunbuster on 9/3/2010 2:09:40 PM , Rating: 2
Have they even addressed this at a design level?

Out of fuel is easy to remediate hence limited warning (small light, possible chime, range display that lies and lets you often go below 0 with no ill effect)

Out of charge is another story, are they building in sterner warnings? Luxury systems go offline at a certain low charge level? Maybe keep a secret reserve charge and when you run out make you sit on the side of the road with a buzzer going off for five minutes before it gives you a final 10 miles in limp mode?

RE: Out of charge?
By shin0bi272 on 9/3/2010 10:35:42 PM , Rating: 2
the generator doesnt work the way youre thinking it does.

RE: Out of charge?
By CowKing on 9/3/2010 3:01:58 PM , Rating: 2
There are emergency battery packs that can charge a dead battery in a traditional car through the 12v cigarette lighter thing. I don't see why they couldn't have one that you could plug through the charger plug unless you want it to trickle charge and wait 24 hours.

RE: Out of charge?
By Hoser McMoose on 9/4/2010 12:17:41 PM , Rating: 2
Can you "jump" charge a full electric using an ICE car?

I seriously doubt it. The electrical system of an ICE car, which is what you'd be taping into, is ~14V and a max of at most about 100amp (assuming you've got a big, chunky alternator like you might find in a big pick-up truck).

First problem: There might not be any circuitry in place to charge the EV's battery at 14V. The cells themselves probably charge at 4.2V (standard for Li-Ion batteries) and a wall socket is going to give you 115V. 14V isn't particularly close to either of these, so the car company would have to go out of their way to specifically provide circuitry to convert that 14V charge to 4.2V for the batteries. The electronics of this are pretty trivial, but the mechanical and safety aspects of it won't be as easy and might not be worth the cost.

Second problem? You would need to "jump" the car for 1 hour to provide 1.4kWh worth of charge (assuming no loss). That will only get you about 15 or 20km worth of driving time. Might be enough to get home, might not be. Either way most people won't want to sit on the side of the road for an hour to charge you up.

FYI most EV cars are likely to only discharge down to 25 or 30% capacity of their cells before they are "out of charge". The reason for this is that Li-Ion batteries wear out a LOT quicker if you do full, 100% to 0%, discharges. What you are likely to see is that most EV's will switch to a "limp home" mode when they hit 30% capacity. Reduce power consumption to an absolute minimum (turn off all non-safety electronics, cut motor power, etc.) and then keep running until the batteries are so dead that you can't reliably operate, which is typically around 5% of battery life normal temperatures.

That should probably give you a good 30km or more after your battery is "dead". However you'll be damaging your battery and I would guess that the warranty will have a clause voiding battery coverage if you do this with any regularity.

I love...
By fleabag on 9/2/2010 10:00:40 PM , Rating: 3
how the author of the article forgot to mention that these "100 mile range" is based upon that flawed LA-92 test cycle that is pretty much as ideal conditions as you can get. These vehicles aren't going to get 100 mile range unless they're stuck in bumper to bumper traffic all the way through, just like that test cycle.

RE: I love...
By JohnCBriggs on 9/3/2010 8:02:37 AM , Rating: 2
We will definitely have to wait and see on the range.
So far we have
Mitsubishi i-MiEV 16 KWH = 100 miles
Nissan LEAF 24 KWH = 100 miles
Coda Automotive 34 KWH = 100 miles
Chevy Volt 20 KWH = 100 miles (from 8 KWH = 40 miles)
Ford Focus 23 KWH = 100 miles
Tesla Roadster 21 KWH = 100 miles (from 53 KWH= 250 mile)
But the temperatures and test conditions are not always clear.
John C. Briggs

RE: I love...
By Visual on 9/3/2010 9:24:59 AM , Rating: 2
Stuck in bumper to bumper traffic all the way through... WTF are you talking about?
Being in traffic does not improve your fuel efficiency, so it is not "as ideal conditions as you can get". Because of the regenerative breaking, electric vehicles have less losses from being in traffic than conventional vehicles, so such test conditions can be considered as favoring electrics more than conventionals, but they are still worse than ideal for both.

RE: I love...
By fleabag on 9/4/2010 1:07:39 AM , Rating: 2
Bumper to bumper traffic does improve energy efficiency, even in a Prius. What it doesn't help with are vehicles such as regular old 'gassers. Very little wind resistance at slow speeds and if you're not using the A/C, then it's pretty ideal. What can screw up the mileage is jamming on the accelerator but these test cycles don't include or I don't think they include the use of A/C and they're very easy on the accelerator, as should you be as well. A constant 5mph speed in a purely electric vehicle would be pretty close to ideal but crawling at a few mph with some stopping and going is far better than cruising at 55mph. Again, this is assuming we're talking about electric vehicles and not regular gasoline vehicles, then it's the complete opposite.

By zodiacfml on 9/3/2010 8:59:44 AM , Rating: 2
I think this design would require a small internal combustion engine that would provide heating, not only to the battery but car interior as well, at the same time, charging it.

By Kurz on 9/3/2010 9:39:49 AM , Rating: 2
Ice are good at producing heat.

By Hoser McMoose on 9/4/2010 12:31:33 PM , Rating: 2
Ice are good at producing heat.

Indeed they are (despite the ironic acronym). Internal combustion engines are actually a LOT better at producing heat than they are at producing anything useful, which is really the problem with them.

Producing heat is a rather trivial thing though. If you just want heat you can get nearly 100% efficiency out of an electric heater with little trouble at all (not counting the efficiency of getting that electricity in the first place of course!).

And here's the thing: the amount of electricity you need to heat up a few m^3 worth of space inside a car is pretty small when compared to the electricity you need to move 1500kg worth of steel, plastics and people around at 120km/h.

For a typical electric vehicle you might figure on driving 64km (40 miles) in one hour and using 8kWh of battery power to do so. If you were to use a 1kW heater for that hour you would turn that car into a sauna even on a fairly cold day. Probably heating will be more on the order of about 500W to heat the internal compartment on a fairly cold (maybe -10C?) day, so your range will drop by a bit over 6%.

6% is probably not far off how much range you'll drop with an gasoline internal combustion engine on a cold day. Diesel would be at least as bad and probably worse.

By shaidorsai on 9/3/2010 6:13:25 PM , Rating: 1
Wow thats a great looking car. I'm not interested in electric cars as I live in Connecticut where electricity costs more than anything else you can buy. Plugging a car in to recharge would costs wayyy too much cash every month. I hope they make a high mpg yet sporty gas version though. Nice job again Ford...they've been on a roll lately IMO.

RE: Nice
By Hoser McMoose on 9/4/2010 12:58:20 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not interested in electric cars as I live in Connecticut where electricity costs more than anything else you can buy.

Unless your electricity is SUBSTANTIALLY more than the North American average than electricity will get more more miles to your dollar than gas will.

As a rough guesstimate, the break-even point is around 32 cents/kWh vs. $2.50/U.S. gallon ($0.66/litre) (going on an assumption of 20kWh per 100 miles driven vs. 40 miles to the U.S. gallon). If electricity is cheaper or gas more expensive then you'll come out ahead with an electric car.

Now, that being said, electricity being "cheaper" doesn't mean that you'll ever make back the higher up-front cost of the car. When the electric car cost $15,000 to $20,000 more than a gas car you'll probably never make up that difference through cheaper fuel.

RE: Nice
By monkeyman1140 on 9/9/2010 5:50:55 PM , Rating: 2
I live in the southwest and electricity here is VERY cheap. Oddly enough our natural gas is expensive even though we are a major supplier of NG.
It has a lot to do with the gas companies giving the corporation commission bribes and the general anti-regulatory attitude of this red state.

Range extender?
By Stoanhart on 9/2/2010 9:56:18 PM , Rating: 2
I wish it was range extended. I can't see myself owning any pure EV until battery and charging technology have matured by a huge amount.

RE: Range extender?
By shin0bi272 on 9/3/2010 10:46:04 PM , Rating: 2
keep waiting... maybe in the next 100 years.

So why not use the "new" spray on Solar Panels
By Denigrate on 9/3/2010 8:39:44 AM , Rating: 2
So it would seem these cars would be the ideal application for the so called spray on solar panels that I read about seems like years ago. The windows and body should be about perfect for this.

Am I mis-remembering about this tech, and it is still years away?

By Hoser McMoose on 9/4/2010 12:47:21 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with car-mounted solar panels, regardless of type, is typically two-fold:

1. They add cost.

2. They add weight.

The cost is a fairly obvious one. When you're starting with a $30,000 or $40,000 vehicle and trying to compete with $20,000 or $25,00 vehicles you're already on the back-foot. Add in that the usable life of a car is usually around 10 years and you probably won't even break even on the up-front cost, let alone provide any advantage. This is particularly bad if you ever park in a garage, or shade, or simply facing the wrong direction.

The weight thing is a bit trickier. I don't know about those "spray on" solar panels, but any solar panel has some weight to them. Add in the extra weight of the wires and circuitry to do anything useful with the power generated and you're adding weight to the car... which reduces it's range. Lighter panels help but they also tend to be MUCH less effective than heavier panels. Thin-firm solar panels are only about 7 or 8% efficient vs. 18 to 20% for traditional panels. "Spray on" solar panels would probably be worse still. As such even with light panels you'll probably LOSE range while purely driving, the added weight will negatively impact the range more than the added electricity will positively impact it even at the best of times (never mind that most people like to drive at night on occasion, when you would still be carrying the weight but generating zero electricity). So the idea only makes any sense if you spend most of your day parked in sunlight... and again we're back to the thing of parking in garages, shade, etc.

Or put much more simply: leave the solar panels on the roof of your house where: a.) they'll likely last 20 to 25 years, b.) You can use MUCH more efficiency panels, c.) you DON'T have to haul them around with you everywhere you go... err.. assuming you don't live in an RV of course :)

Once we've TOTALLY solved getting electricity to your house, THEN worry about putting solar panels on your car. However until that time put your money where it will be more effective.

Good Job Ford
By acer905 on 9/3/2010 12:26:44 PM , Rating: 2
I have to say, that when it comes to designing the "green" vehicle's, Ford has the right idea. Instead of redesigning a car to that it has a hideous shape, just to squeeze in a bit lower drag, they actually make it look like a car. The fusion hybrid looks like the fusion, which is car shaped. This focus electric, looks car shaped. Egg shaped is not car shaped, which is why if I were ever to get a hybrid, i would sacrifice a bit of fuel economy to not get an egg shaped car.

RE: Good Job Ford
By fleabag on 9/4/2010 1:27:30 AM , Rating: 2
Would you get into a more "eccentric" shaped vehicle if it meant double the mileage? The Aptera as an example

Focus Electric is Great??
By douggrif on 9/3/2010 4:04:30 PM , Rating: 2
So let me get this straight. The MSRP for this wonderful earth saving wonder is likely something over $34K. That is before an incredible $7.5K Federal tax credit (Gee, I wonder where the Government gets that kind of money?). So I pay maybe $26K (and you pay the other $7.5K and thanks ever so much) and feel real good about myself. After all, a standard gas powered Ford Focus is around $17K MSRP. But I have the green all over feeling knowing I am helping to save our planet. Too bad God did know beforehand that there were going to be all these people here to gum up His creation, but after all what could He do? That is if He exists that is. Oh well, I can still get almost 100 miles on a single charge versus way over 250 miles on a single tank of very expensive gas. I wonder how many years it will take me to break even? Oh well, I still feel smug and very good about myself. Did I mention I vote a straight Democrat ticket each year?

By monkeyman1140 on 9/9/2010 5:48:22 PM , Rating: 2
Well if you hate technology THAT much, why not just go back to stagecoach, you luddite. I'm sure if Amish ever voted, they would vote Republican.

Hats off to Ford
By KIAman on 9/3/2010 11:31:21 AM , Rating: 2
If they can price this close to the Leaf, this will be a knockout for Ford.

Good job Ford!

Whats really going to be funny
By FITCamaro on 9/3/10, Rating: 0
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