Report: 2015 Ford Focus To Get The Extended Range “Energi” Treatment

JAN 8 2014 BY JAY COLE 56

Who Is Up For A 2015 Ford Focus Energi?

Who Is Up For A 2015 Ford Focus Energi?

Now here is a new upcoming plug-in vehicle story that not only makes sense to us, but that we can get behind.

How about a 2015 Ford Focus Energi?

Ford's Decision To "Electrify" A Second Line In Germany Is Starting To Make A Little More Sense!

Ford’s Decision To “Electrify” A Second Line In Germany Is Starting To Make A Little More Sense!

The current Ford Focus is in its third generation and is heading into a refreshed look (both inside and out) for 2015.

But according to AutoExpress, part of that updating will include transplanting the “Energi” powertrain found in the C-Max into the Focus.  The source also says the new look Focus will debut in March at the Geneva Auto Show.  (don’t worry we’ll be on location to get the 411 and take some pictures first hand)

Fundamentally this is really a “Ford only needs to decide to sell it” decision, as the Focus shares the same platform (Ford Global C) as the C-Max, and it shares many of the same components/drivetrain.

As a reminder the C-Max Energi is propelled by a 2.0 liter Atkinson cycle four cylinder engine that puts out 188 hp and 129 lb-ft of torque.  More importantly the C-Max has 7.6 kWh of lithium batteries (inconveniently placed in the trunk) that give the car a range of 21 miles.

Why would anyone want another Energi product from Ford?

Price.

The C-Max Energi is currently priced at $32,950, and quite frankly its MSRP has been ignored by Ford, as the rest of the industry have undergone big price cuts (which includes a recent $4,000 price cut to stablemate Ford Fusion Energi down to $34,700).  Why has the C-Max Energi not yet followed in step?  Because the “regular” C-Max Hybrid starts at $28,455.  To move the C-Max Energi down significantly, means moving the regular hybrid down a big step too.

Enter the Focus Energi.

A Focus Energi would not only likely yield slightly more miles of range due to the aerodynamics (perhaps 23 or 24 miles), it would likely also allow Ford to break into the holy grail of plug-in price points – sub $30k.

Imagine a $27,499 Focus Energi with 25 miles of range, or $23,491 after federal credit (it would receive $4,007 under the current program and specs).  How many of those could Ford sell in a year?  A lot more than the 1,738 copies of the $35,170 Focus Electrics that’s for sure.

(Hat tip to Alan C)

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56 Comments on "Report: 2015 Ford Focus To Get The Extended Range “Energi” Treatment"

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While this would be nice to see, I would also like to see Ford redesign the BEV Focus so that the battery doesn’t take up half the trunk. If they could follow VW’s lead (where the BEV golf has the identical trunk space as the gasoline/diesel versions), I think they would sell a lot more. Then add quick charging. At $35k, it is already competitively priced with a comparably equipped Leaf SL. The only thing Ford doesn’t have is the sub-$30k “starting at” price of the Leaf S which they could make today if they chose to.

This. The only reason Focus got dropped from my list of ‘next possible vehicle’ is because of the poor cargo space/design. Otherwise it was everything I wanted.
Fingers crossed they have accounted for this in their 2015 refresh, or it will probably remain off my list.

A Focus Energi.. I’d have to wait and see the final specs/price before making a decision on that one 🙂

The only reason any of the Ford plug-ins have not made it to my garage is the poor cargo space due to battery intrusion. This affects the Focus EV as well as the C-Max/Fusion Energi models.

If Ford could figure out how to keep a flat trunk in the C-Max (and Focus) Energi, they’d sell a ton more of them.

They should shrink the gas tank – carrying 14 gallons of fuel in a PHEV is rediculous. My last gas burner carried 14 gallons of fuel and it only got low-mid 20 MPG.

There’s no reason to carry more than 9 gallons of fuel – still gives you more than enough freeway driving range but might let you improve cargo space.

30A L2 charging would also be nice to have – could recharge in an hour would double your EV range over a lunch break.

I wish I had a one hour lunch break!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeNBXORc2HQ

I don’t feel that fast charging is that important in a PHEV. It is important in a BEV for obvious reasons. In a PHEV it would add extra cost with little benefit. If any extra cost is to be added to a PHEV I would rather it go to making the battery bigger.

David, there are a lot of us that REALLY want faster charging in our Volts. There have been dozens of situations in which my lunch break could have saved me from hearing the genset kick on in the afternoon, but I only got 10 miles of additional range in that hour break. 10.0 kW rate of charging would be great, but 6.6 kW rates are going to be the minimum most knowledgeable people will accept soon.
Upping the charge rate isn’t that expensive and it doesn’t add much weight at all. It is a win-win if you make it an option.
This isn’t as important as increasing the AER or making the back seat legroom a bit roomier, but it is an important way GM could upgrade the Volt for next to nothing.

I couldn’t agree more! I wish my Volt had a 6.6kW charger. Four hours is just too long to wait for a full charge while out and about. It would help relieve congestion at charging stations too. I already see this as a problem here in Northern California and I’m not even in the Bay Area.

This would be a smart move for Ford. I don’t think it would qualify for the full $7,500 credit though.

Next up should be the Escape…

Yes, you are right. Just doing a little math on the specs, you would be looking at $4,007 as a federal credit…I’ll add that into the story. Thanks Josh!

$4007 isn’t chump change and it is higher than it used to be. So Ford increased the battery pack size to 7.6 kWh if memory serves? It will be cool to see the automakers different approaches to what percentage of the pack will be useable over the next couple years. If GM went from 66% (10.8 of 16.5 kWh) to 70% they would achieve the holy grail, 40 miles of AER.
Given the lack of stories about Volt batteries failing, they may decide to open up the amount of the battery used sooner, rather than later.

I’ve been saying this would be a great move for a while. But what I didn’t realize was that the Focus was due for a new bodystyle. I hope they are able to put the battery pack under the car or at least in some area that didn’t eat up the whole cargo area.

This raises another interesting question. How will it compete in price with the focus electric. If they end up being priced similarly, it will be fascinating to see how many people opt for the PHEV versus the BEV, all things being the same. I’ve made the same statement about the BMW i3, and I’m curious to see how many people will opt for the range extender.

Also, one last nitpick. I don’t like the idea of calling the Energi cars “extended range” because that suggests that they are an EREV like the Volt. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The energi cars are most definitely the text-book PHEV and there is a good reason why the Volt is called an EREV and these cars are not.

Technically the Volt isn’t an EREV either. When all three clutches on the Volt are engaged, there is a direct connection from the ICE to the wheels. Granted, most of the time that’s not the case, but that’s what differentiates the Volt from the i3 and the Karma. Their ICE has no possible direct connection to the wheels.

That’s not the criteria I used to judge whether it is a PHEV or EREV. My criteria is that when driving in EV mode, you have full acceleration power available, heater, air conditioner, etc…. Without needing the ICE to come on. The Volt is, in every sense, an electric car when driving it on battery power. The PiP and Energi cars do not provide the same driving experience.

I like that definition, it’s a pretty good distinction between EREV and PHEV, even if a Volt, especially in cold weather like we’ve seen in the East this past week, will turn on the ICE just to keep the batteries warm.

But, what do we call the i3 with Rex that does not drive the wheels? An decoupled EREV … the DEREV? The purists would probably rather have it the other way around, the i3-Rex is the EREV, and the Volt is a Coupled EREV, or CEREV, to designate the wheels can be driven by the ICE.

Personally speaking, I don’t see any disadvantage for the Volt’s ICE being able to directly drive the wheels. I never understood why people got up in arms about that to begin with. As long as the ICE doesn’t have to assist the car during EV mode, I’m good with EREV. And the fact that the Volt takes the more efficient design for when running on gasoline, I’m fine with that too. I’m also fine with BMW’s approach as it allows the range extender to be modular and so there is a trade-off.

I think Chevy was smart to make the ICE power the wheels directly in certain cases. They claim it increased efficiency, especially at high speeds. Part of the confusion stems all the way back to 2010 when GM said the ICE would NOT directly power the wheels. They changed their mind when the Volt came out, claiming increased efficiency.

I would call an i3 or a Karma an EREV because the entire drivetrain is still electric, while the ICE only behaves as a generator, like a locomotive. Another way of saying it is to call them “serial hybrids”.

ICE –> battery motor wheels
The ICE arrow is only toward the battery since it only provides power to the battery.

The Volt most of the time behaves like an EREV, but in those cases where all three of its clutches are engaged, it operates like a PHEV. I call it a “parallel hybrid”.

battery (ICE motor) OR (ICE + motor) wheels
The ICE arrows go both directions because it can both charge the battery and drive the wheels.

I agree. The i3 REx may actually suffer from the ICE not being connected. The city/hwy REx MPG will definitely be less than the Volt.

The Focus Energi seems like a problem that doesn’t need solving. Like Bob Lutz said, they need to electrify their trucks to really get fuel economy gains. The Focus is a fuel-efficient vehicle.

Ford needs to give the Energi treatment to their F-150s. Take the EcoBoost V6, hybridize it, and REALLY get some fuel efficiency gains.

Agreed. Would really love to see the industry get a reasonably priced plug-in truck, the F-150 seems like as good a place to start as any. I think it would be also be much easier for the consumer to absorb the extra cost in that sort of application.

I suspect they have people working on that. But that requires designing an entirely new drive train for a large vehicle like that. The way Ford’s factory and assembly is setup now, and being they already have the energi components which require little to no modifications, installing it in the Focus is a no-brainer. It shouldn’t require that much development and it will not cost much of anything extra to manufacture it.

Very true, especially since the C-Max is based on the Focus platform.

THIS.

It would sell well to fleets, not the usual truck buyers unless gas suddenly went back to $4/gal. But fleets who do 25,000-50,000 miles on their trucks every year with lots of time spent idling, they could easily absorb the cost and save money over the life of the vehicle. That’s not to say regular people won’t buy them, it’s just that the ‘traditional’ truck buyer probably has a bad image of hybrids/electrics.

Great news, hopefully they can also put the Energi drive train in the Transit Connect, then they would capture a lot of commercial users, potentially get round some cities pollution charges and make for an awesome mini RV conversion base.

It seems rather obvious to give the globally best selling Focus model the best selling plug-in powertrain. For many, having to drive a little tall station wagon to get an entry level plug-in hybrid was not a viable option, where the Prius plug-in hatch or the Volt was a better ‘look/fit’ for them. Especially the larger market of single adults who don’t have a need for a wagon. Putting the plug-in technology in a sleeker more sporty body makes sense. Price wise, the current $32,920 C-MAX Energi has had a similar $3k price reduction for most of 2013, with a lease price within $30/mo of the C-MAX Hybrid SEL lease(with downpayment included) that has a base price at $28k. With the C-MAX SE starting at $25k. Which means with the current $1k incentive we should see the C-MAX Energi cash price remain at $32k for first quarter 2014, with the incentive jumping back up to $3k in April at the start of second quarter, while the C-MAX Hybrid maintains it’s $1k price drop with it’s current incentive for a net price of $24,170 for the SE and $27,455 for the SEL. Which is not a bad deal on the hybrid,… Read more »

First of all, the current generation of Plug-in Prius gets 11 miles of EV range, not 7. It has 3.6 Kwh of usable battery capacity. Assuming even poor driving skills of 3.5 miles per Kw, that would be over 12 miles.

Second of all, Toyota has stated that they plan to have more EV range on the next generation PiP. No idea how much more, but definitely not less as you state.

Actually according to the fueleconemy.gov, the Prius plug-in was not able to travel in EV only mode during their tests. They show 11 mile Gas+Elec range, and no EV only range.

While for the C-MAX Energi, fueleconemy.gov show Gas+Elec but with a note:

This vehicle did not use any gasoline for the first 21 miles in EPA tests. However, depending on how you drive the vehicle, you may use both gasoline and electricity during the first 21 miles following a full charge.

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=34516&id=33336

Yes, I’m well aware of the EPA tests. But the issue is that the EV mode of Prius is limited in acceleration and top speed (62 mph) so if the EPA follows their regular testing, there are times where the engine will be forced to come on. The Energi can overcome this problem because of two reasons 1) they offer a higher speed EV mode and 2) they can lockout the engine with the EV-Now so no matter how much acceleration is requested, it will only give what is available from battery.

So there is no doubt the PiP can travel 11+ miles in EV only mode, many Prius drivers have reported being able to top 20 miles in EV mode with careful driving without the ICE coming on.

The issue is simply from the EPA testing methods.

A solar powered car is not viable. Not efficient, too expensive.
See the calculation here http://t.co/TPbSa1ZNdg

What’s your point, exactly? The article doesn’t mention a ‘solar powered car’ (no such thing exists, BTW).

I’m wondering how they’ll fit the hybrid/dual power-trains plus some (7kwh?) batteries in a car that is currently pretty small. If they make the car larger to fit all that extra stuff, then you’ve brought yourself back to the size of a Fusion Energi. So why bother? – except because somebody in marketing thought it would sell vehicles.

I’m pretty sure it won’t happen, but I’d love to see the Ford Focus Wagon made into an Energi. We currently have a 2001 that has gobs of cargo space and though I’d love it to have 40-50 miles of all electric range, it’d be okay to have just 20 … and then we could replace the gas car. We thought of doing that in 2012 with an C-Max Energi, but seeing the poor cargo space, and driving the Hybrid as a rental (which was not fun to drive and also not very efficient) convinced us that it just wasn’t a good fit.

Provided they at least do some packaging optimization (there’s a ton of empty space under the hood of the Focus Electric), this would be my next car. Looking at how they did the C-Max trunk, I’d rather them spread that lump out and just raise the entire floor of the trunk so that it’s at least level. But maybe they can’t allow the battery to go all the way to the very back of the trunk due to crumple zone reasons.

This car along with the C max are Prius killers in that the C max is reproducing like jack rabbits in my area with several new ones showing up on the roads every few weeks. If this car did become like the C Max it could really take over.

But the thing I wounder about is this car’s price along with the C max is so low that it might not get affected by Tesla when they come out with their $40,000 mass produced electric car unless they come out with a 30,000 dollar one.

As for existing battery tech I kind of wounder when will the next generation EV batteries start showing up in that at least by 2015 even something with a 20% to 30% improvement should at least show up allowing them to at least cut the mass of batteries in the trunk or raise range a little bit or do both.

I agree to an extent. I think this is the future of hybrids. The writing is on the wall. I’m just not sure how long it will take. I suspect within no more than 10 years, all hybrids will be plug-in hybrids. If Toyota fails to impress with their next-gen Plug-in Prius in 2015, then things could go south for them.

When I look at a Prius now I feel they are obsolete and even some of the plug in hybrids with less then 20 miles range on them. In that I think things could happen very fast like with LCD TV’s over taking projection and plasma TV;’s.

Note that the 2015 update for the Focus is likely not a complete overhaul, but rather a mid-cycle refresh. So cosmetic and powertrain changes are possible, but they probably won’t be doing any major changes to the platform.

If Ford can’t produce the next gen of hybrid and Energi for Focus, C-Max, Escape and Fusion without severely compromised trunk space then I will consider them a failure.

I don’t drive a Ford, but if Chevy offered a Volt with severely compromised trunk space, but with 45 miles of AER and roomier back seats, I would call that the best Volt ever. We all want different things from our cars, and here is hoping most of us get the choices we are hoping for in the near future.
For me trunk space is like a fifth seat. I have friends that use it, but I don’t.

I think this is great news. I think the Energi products have, and will continue to, cut into Volt sales. The deals weren’t nearly as good on C-Max and Fusion plug ins mid summer as compared to the fall/winter. Adding a third option for consumers is great. This will further put the pressure on GM, Nissan and Toyota too. The more options people have to drive EV miles the better. I really like our Volt, but am confident I am going to have fun shopping when the lease ends.

I think a Focus Energi would be a waste; it would have a tough time competing with the Volt. I chose a Focus Electric over a Volt last year because it’s full electric. If I had to choose between a Volt and a Focus Energi with a 25-mile range, I’d take the Volt in a heartbeat since it has a farther AER, never mind that the Focus has more trunk space (>14 cu ft vs Volt’s 10.6 cu ft). I would suspect others would tend to make the same decision, provided they are not Ford fanatics. Ford should work on improving the range of the BEV instead, and as mentioned by others, electrify the F-150 (so I can trade in my Dodge Ram!).

And for all the folks sitting on the sidelines just becuase of trunk space issues… Get over it! The Focus Electric has plenty of space behind the rear seats compared to most other BEVs, including the i3. Folks I know with FFEs and Volts get by just fine commuting daily with 10-14 cu ft of space back there. Ample room for a brief case and groceries.

Not so sure I agree about Focus Energi being a waste, but yeah I totally agree about the trunk space isn’t as big a deal as people think. The Volt’s trunk space is crazy low on paper, but it is very usable space to it as there is decent length in from the back. It hasn’t kept us from buying too much at Costco (and not having space to bring it home). I’m all for EV’s and PHEV becoming available in more models, and would really like to see a decent SUV or minivan choice someday. But especially considering most people that buy BEV’s have a 2nd vehicle I really don’t see the big deal.

For normal stuff, a few groceries, golf clubs, a few items shopping, yes, normally it’s not a big deal. But, if you regularly cram a vehicle full of stuff because you’re a vendor at a show or with kids on a trip to the beach, the cargo space matters. On a pure, EV, not so much since to date those kind of trips are prohibitive anyway, but if you want to have a PHEV that is electric 80-90% of the time around town and 10-20% for longer trips with a lot of stuff, I think larger cargo space would be very appealing to a lot of people.

Have Volt. Have kids, which primarily ride in the Volt. We make beach trips, and longer. We have had cars with larger trunks and wagons before. Still prefer the Volt, and I wouldn’t trade any other car we previously had or that is currently our market at our price range for it.

Would I be interested in something along the lines of an Outlander PHEV — of course! I’d expect a price premium, and a hit on the range. As price goes up and range goes down I may loose interest. Higher density and lower battery costs will help more things a reality.

Seems to me the 2.0l/PHEV powertrain is a bit of an overkill for the Focus. Granted it is easier to do as 1) it exists already and 2) the C-Max and Focus share the same platform. But if Ford wanted to really take over the PHEV market, pairing their 1.0l ecoboost with the PHEV powertrain would be the way to go in the Focus. Then you’d be killing the std Prius on gas mileage, plus reigning in the MPGe realm against EV’s as well.

They might well even do that, it’s all rumour at this point.
Though, there’s something to be said for the complete drop in package using the c-max drivetrain in its entirety (“off the shelf” so to speak), vs one with a different engine. Though, if they offered the 1.0 for a super efficient c-max, that might be a winner as well, and can maintain their economy of scale.

The Focus Electric has a 30A charger and will charge in about 3.5 hours. It could make good use of a 50kW DC quick charger like the Leaf and Spark EV have.

As a FFE driver, I’d much rather have a bigger battery and quick charge than an ICE engine.

The trunk space has never been an issue for me. Flip down the back seats and you can bring a pretty good sized cabinet home, as I recently did.

We should see the Combo charger as an option for the 2015 Focus Electric due in July of this year. Ford has committed to offering a Combo charger in 2014, and the Focus Electric is the only vehicle in their lineup that needs it.

It would sure sell more than the 100+ that FFE sells. But it won’t break any new ground – they need to put that drive train in an SUV.

They should put the 2.0l/PHEV powertrain in the Escape – its got enough guts to move it.

Totally agree, we were bummed when Ford changed the plug in Escape to the Cmax. We sent a letter to Ford about it. So we are still waiting for a plug in small SUV

I would by a Ford Escape Energi

Lots would be sold if try built em.

I still can’t believe no one has figured this out

SUV PHEV

What are these guys at gm ford and toyo smoking that they can’t figure te formula out and get one built
SUV’s rule in the USA

Have your cake and eat it too.

SUV PHEV !

It must be harder than it appears, because it is an obvious market niche and none of the carmakers are taking advantage of the lack of competition. Even the MPV5 that GM talked about would be a great start.

The Escape is how Ford developed the Energi platform. Ford was all over the news 5-6 years ago when they were developing an Escape PHEV and testing in conjunction with Southern California Edison. Apparently Ford in the mean time determined the market wasn’t there for the Escape as a Plug-in. Either that or they were not pleased with the performance/fuel economy tradeoff.
Either way, they decided the C-Max and Fusion were the most viable so that is what we have.

I think they did not want it to compete with the Escape Eco boost.

That’s coming, but not until Ford launches their new RWD/AWD hybrid drivetrain. The Escape hybrid/plug-in hybrid will require an AWD option, and right now it’s not ready. It’s expected to be available by 2017 which is right in time for the next gen SUVs and trucks.

I’ll be first in line. Hope I can get a Z-Plan discount. My dad retired from Ford. Now I just need a garage where I can plug it in 😉

There is a bit more to the story….. “We (Green Car Reports) did a bit of asking around, and confirmed that Ford has been quietly talking to fleet managers and others about the potential new model. Company representatives, our source said, have quoted an electric range of 25 miles–up from the 21 miles rated for the C-Max and Fusion Energi models–and a price of about $27,500. ” With that said, it’s expected the 2015 Fusion Energi that uses the same exact battery pack would also get a 4 EV mile boost to 25 real EV miles, along with Focus Electric getting a 8-10 EV mile boost to 84 to 86 EV miles, as they share the same battery management software that manages battery/range availability. The vehicles also weigh about the same. Ford has been playing the one-upmanship game with the Leaf(and Prius) with range and charging time, and since Nissan boosted range to 83 miles, Ford is expected to boost range to stay ahead. On price, the current fleet incentive for the C-MAX Energi has a fleet incentive of just $250. With no fleet incentive for the Fusion Energi. Which would put the Focus Energi at $27,750(23,743 after fed tax… Read more »