Published on December 7th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


UPDATED: Ford Focus Electric vs Ford Focus ST

December 7th, 2012 by  

So,… when I ran my comparisons of a Ford Focus Electric and Ford Focus S the other day, I thought the Ford Focus S was the most similar non-electric model to the Ford Focus Electric. Woops. After some discussions with readers, it seems the more appropriate comparison (for current Ford Focus options) is the Ford Focus ST, which has a base price of $23,700.

Additionally, readers seemed to make good arguments that maintenance costs really need to be included in these comparisons. So, without running through all the text in this post that I included in the other one, let’s quickly jump to some comparisons based on a similar variety of assumptions but with these changes incorporated (followed by a bunch of other considerations, mostly brought up by readers, that you really should consider):

Ford Focus Electric vs Ford Focus ST

Two assumptions that stay constant below are that the Ford Focus Electric has a combined MPGe rating of 105 and the Ford Focus ST has a combined MPG rating of 22. I also keep constant the assumption that average additional maintenance costs per mile (for the Ford Focus ST) = 4¢. Also, figures listed below are for the total cost at the end of the year. These factors as well as the ones I change below can be changed in this spreadsheet.

Example 1


  • average miles driven per year = 20,000
  • average price of electricity when charging your EV = 12¢/kWh
  • average price of gas per gallon = $4.50
  • tax rebates = $10,000

Result: start saving money in year 2 (not including health savings and the many other factors listed at the end of this post).

Example 2


  • average miles driven per year = 13,476
  • average price of electricity when charging your EV = 12¢/kWh
  • average price of gas per gallon = $3.50
  • tax rebate = $7,500.

Result: start saving money in year 5 (not including health savings and the many other factors listed at the end of this post).

Example 3


  • average miles driven per year = 20000
  • average price of electricity when charging your EV = 12¢/kWh
  • average price of gas per gallon = $3.50
  • tax rebates = $10,000.

Result: start saving money near the end of year 2 (not including health savings and the many other factors listed at the end of this post).

Example 4


  • average miles driven per year = 13476
  • average price of electricity when charging your EV = 6¢/kWh
  • average price of gas per gallon = $5.00
  • tax rebate = $7,500

Result: start saving money in year 3 (not including health savings and the many other factors listed at the end of this post).

Example 5


  • average miles driven per year = 15,000
  • average price of electricity when charging your EV = 12¢/kWh
  • average price of gas per gallon = $4.50
  • tax rebate = $10,000

Result: start saving money in year 2 (not including health savings and the many other factors listed at the end of this post).

Some Financial Factors Not Included

Sales tax (varies by state), interest rate if not buying the car up-front, availability of free EV charging, purchase of Level 2 EV charger, healthcare savings, depreciation rates, insurance rates, eventual need to replace/exchange the battery (after 8-12 years), state or local tax incentives (except in the last scenario) — I know some states offer an extra $2,500 off. To play with a spreadsheet that allows some modification of those, this Nissan Leaf driver has one you can download.

You can also play around with the assumptions in my spreadsheet.

Other, Non-Financial Factors

Now, as one of our readers noted, many (or even most) people don’t simply choose a car based on price. Surely, price is normally a factor, but not always the most important factor. Here’s a list of pros and cons for an EV versus a gasoline-powered car:


  • Super quiet.
  • Smoother ride.
  • Ridiculous torque.
  • Not have to worry about gas price swings/jumps.
  • Ability to fuel at home (never visit a gas station again) — big time cost savings there (and also savings from not buying snacks at the gas station, one of our readers noted).
  • Better health from not being as exposed to pollutants.
  • Not having to mess with oil changes, smog checks, timing belts, etc.
  • Helping the world (including your children and grandchildren) by fighting global warming.
  • Helping improve national security by reducing our dependence on oil.
  • Potential ability to engage in vehicle-to-grid projects.



  • Charging opportunities are not as widespread as gas stations.
  • The range on a full tank of fuel is lower for an EV.

Others you can think of?

Reposted with permission from EV Obsession.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • S2r

    The combine mileage of the Focus ST is 26 mpg – ** EPA-estimated 23 city/32 hwy/26 combined mpg, 2.0L EcoBoost .. Just saying 🙂

  • Wil

    Electric vehicles don’t help with global warming, unless your charging power is from nuclear sources. All you do is change the location of the greenhouse gas production from your vehicle, to the coal/gas fired local utilitie’s generating station.

    • Bob_Wallace

      You overlooked renewable generation.

      First half of 2012 we got 3.5% of our electricity from non-hydro renewables and another 8% from hydro. The percentage coming from renewables is accelerating.

      Coal has dropped from over 50% of our electricity generation to 36% (first half 2012). Some has been replaced with natural gas and some with renewable. Natural gas has its own set of problems, but it produces only half as much CO2 as coal.

      An EV charged with 100% coal-electricity would produce about the same amount of CO2 as an ICEV but our grid is cleaner than 100% coal. And it gets cleaner every year.

      Add to that, bringing EVs to the grid will increase demand for late night electricity. That will increase wind farm profits. Which will bring more investment dollars to wind farms. Which will get more wind farms built. And that will bring more wind to our daytime grid and push some fossil fuel off the grid.

      Summary: Electric vehicles are a tremendous tool for combating climate change.

  • wattleberry

    Put it this way, however meritorious,ICE now seems so passe. I’m firmly in the Wallace camp and after 7 years [that mysterious stain on the back seat has almost gone] I can’t ever envisage parting with my old Skoda diesel estate. But, if I did , it would only be for a ‘current’ model.

  • Robert Levesque

    some buyers are not price sensitive so those comparisons don’t matter to them. Also some people will pay to not emit carbon (at least directly).

  • jonesey jonesey

    I still think you have to count the “I love this, it’s so cool” factor as a non-financial benefit. Again, compare it to a sunroof. The sunroof’s “Pro” is that it makes you happier. That clearly has some value to people, because they are willing to pay more for a car with a sunroof than without. Driving an EV or a PHEV will clearly make some people happier in the same way that a sunroof makes some people happier. That is a non-financial value that means people are willing to pay more for an EV/PHEV.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Sure. Let’s face it, the smart car purchase is to look for an older used car that’s in decent mechanical shape, gets pretty good mileage, and is cosmetically unattractive. Out of fashion color, bunch of body dings and some rust, perhaps the essence of cat pee on the carpets. Drive it until it needs major repairs and then look for another.

      Anything more than this is about a happier people.

      If you really need new the smartest purchase might be the lowest featured Prius, if you’re going to drive a lot. If you drive less than the average driver then one of the econoboxes with no upgrades might be your puppy.

      But, putting aside the penny-pinching options, I think the issue for people considering an EV or PHEV, aside from the “cool”/”help save the Earth” issues is the question of whether they are paying a really big hunk of money to drive electric vs. gas/diesel.

      When I’ve run the numbers (and I include financing) I find that a stripped-down Prius is a bit better financially than a Leaf. Not a lot. If it makes one happy to drive an EV rather than an ICEV the cost is moderate.

      Individuals need to run their own numbers. Zero in on a small number of cars, electric and fuel, and crunch the numbers to see if the premium you might pay feels OK. Or the premium you might pay. A Volt might turn out to be cheaper than a $30k gasmobile that doesn’t get top mileage.

      • Ronald Brak

        Lots of good points there, Bob. The current electric cars that are available are aimed at first adopters and aren’t likely to be bought by anyone who isn’t moved by coolness. In Australia a leaf plus charger costs about $57,000 US dollars and is not a likely buy for someone looking to save money. It’s more than twice as much as the cost of a standard small car plus $12,000 battery pack. But once electric cars are produced in volume they should cost less than a standard car plus battery pack, and even if there is no further decline in battery prices they will be a clear money saver in Australia and Europe compared to standard internal combustion engine cars.

        Personally I think it might be a good idea, once they’re sure they’ve got a reliable design, for electric cars to be sold with free maintenance for say 10 years of average driving. Maintenance is a huge chunk of vehicle fleet costs, so this could go a long way towards replacing a lot of company cars with electrics. Company vehicles are generally the vehicles that drive the most miles, and are probably the most convenient to set up for vehicle to grid services, so I think there’s lots of potential there.

    • Ronald Brak

      I’d say it’s okay to leave out things like that which are hard to quantify. A business owner who is sceptical that electric cars would save her company money isn’t going to be swayed by coolness. She will want hard facts and figures. And that’s what a lot of early electric car sales will be in Australia and Europe. Hard headed decisions by businesses to use them because they overall are cheaper to run.

      • unless she is worried about her company’s image. Green is the new black baby!

    • Yeah, will have to do another post focused on that. The reasoning for this one: some people do make decisions in this way; there’s too much misinformation out there about the price of EVs (which is also one of the most common excuses as to why a person isn’t going electric yet).

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