Published on March 30th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan5
Ford Focus Electric to Go ‘Build to Order’ Route (Like Dell Computers)
As reported previously here on CleanTechnica, the Ford Focus Electric is the most fuel-efficient 5-seat car in the US, and it is now on sale for $39,995. It’s supposed to be available in select states (New York, New Jersey, and California) in April; nationwide sometime this Summer or Fall; and in Europe in late 2012. But now, the news is, to “de-risk” roll-out of the vehicle it is going to use a “built-to-order” model (essentially, what Dell pioneered with computers).
“Under the model, Ford dealers across the US will boast one demonstration vehicle and customers will then be able to order the car and receive their model within around four to six weeks,” James Murray notes over on the Guardian.
“We’ve taken a different approach to other EV manufacturers in that we are producing the Focus EV on the same production line as the gas, hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions,” he explained. “There are simply too many variables impacting the market that we have no control over, so this gives us real flexibility. If the price of crude rises and demand for EVs climbs we can produce more EVs and fewer gas vehicles.”
Sounds like a good idea. (Also, if conservative media and politicians rail on the car for months over one minor non-newsworthy story, effectively killing sales, this would allow Ford to decrease production.)
Murray also noted a number of innovative offerings connected with the Ford Focus Electric. Ford has teamed up with US solar power company SunPower to promote solar-EV combos. A SunPower arrary could provide enough electricity for a Ford Focus driver to go 15,000 miles a year. “Drive Green for Life” is the name of this solar system offering, which will cost less than $10,000 and include a 25-year warranty. (Note that Nissan has teamed up with SunPower to offer essentially the same thing in combination with its Nissan Leaf.)
.In addition, Ford has worked with Microsoft to develop a mobile app that allows users to access data on the car’s battery, local recharging networks, and the driver’s performance.
Tinskey said the two companies had also developed a system known as “Value Charging” whereby Microsoft had developed a database containing information on energy tariffs across the US. “You will be able to tap in your zip code and it will work out the cheapest time to charge the car so you get the best overnight tariffs,” he explained, adding that a driver in San Francisco charging the car overnight could drive 100 miles for around $1.
Ford Focus Electric drivers will also be allowed to drive in California’s HOV lanes.
For more details on the car, check out: Ford Focus Electric: 110 MPGe & Most Fuel-Efficient Car in US
Images courtesy Ford