Ford Focus Electric With DC Fast Charging?

FEB 19 2015 BY MARK KANE 44

Ford Focus Electric

Ford Focus Electric

Ford, from the beginning, supported the Combined Charging Standard (one inlet with entry for AC and DC charging) along with Chrysler and General Motors in US and the German brands in Europe (in fact, there are two versions of Combo plugs, one for each side of the Atlantic Ocean).

But despite Ford opting for Combo over CHAdeMO for DC charging, the automaker never introduced a vehicle with such a solution even as an option. Two years ago, Ford stated that it would make Combo available later.

Not to long ago, we came across a photo of a Ford Focus Electric prototype with a DC fast charging inlet (Combo, of course).

It seems that this is a vehicle for the experimental project in Dearborn, Michigan, combining electric cars, car sharing and fast charging.

“Mobility Experiment: Rapid Recharge & Share, Dearborn

Fact Sheet: Rapid Recharge and Share

Electric vehicles would be beneficial as urban shared vehicles because they have lower operating costs and can be “refueled” in their parking space. But if a shared car is consistently being driven, it needs time to charge. Ford is investigating a partnership with a retail or fast-food business to develop a fast-charging infrastructure, making electric vehicles practical choices for car-sharing. The goal is to make electric vehicles easier to use, because when more people choose to drive one, everyone benefits from lower carbon emissions.

The Experiment
Develop a charging station that can quickly recharge electric vehicles, making them a practical choice for car-sharing.”

Interesting is that Ford can produce and sell Focus Electrics with DC fast charging, but isn’t doing so.  Meanwhile, the goal of the project is to development a DC charging station, which could instead be bought from one of the various charging station manufacturers.

Hat tip to Alan C!

Categories: Charging, Ford


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44 Comments on "Ford Focus Electric With DC Fast Charging?"

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I suspect Ford isn’t offering the DC fast charge option to purposefully limit the audience of the car. I think they are satisfied selling 100-ish Focus EVs per month and don’t want to sell more than that.

I see the Ford effort as being ready for abandonment at any moment.

It’s 4th on my list because of this lack of commitment. Where as GM, Tesla and the Leaf show continuous improvement of the product Ford does not.

I’m not sure I understand what the big deal is with DC fast charging on an 80-mile range EV. If you have 240v charging at home you can charge about 25 miles of range an hour. And I can’t come up with a local driving scenario where I would require an additional 80 of range to use right away. Maybe I just don’t get it.

BTW, the Focus Electric is a fantastic car. If the price is right and it fits your needs, don’t let a lack of commitment scare you.

Here’s an example where it would be helpful. A 90 mile trip. For that trip I would need an extra 10 miles, plus a 10 mile buffer. With the 6.6kW charger I would need to charge for one hour, turning a 1.5 hour trip into a 2.5 trip. If I had a fast charger and could add 20 miles in 10 minutes instead, that would be palatable.

I guess that makes sense – thanks. Our FFE is my commuter car so we still have a “secondary” ICE vehicle. I just don’t have any 90 mile trips to take. They are all 30 miles or 300, the latter of which I would not attempt even with DCFC.

John is exactly right about the positives of faster charging. I have a Volt and there are days I would use less gasoline if I had just a 6.6 kW charge rate. But the way I see it, if I had a Leaf or a FFElectric, I could see me using it to go on mini-roadtrips where I would drive 50 or 60 miles, stop to fast charge back up from 20% to 90% of capacity (probably taking just 30 minutes or so, time for a burger!) then finish my minitrip with another 40 or 50 miles.

That gets me to the Eastern Shore, Northern Neck, or Shenendoah where I would spend the weekend and reverse it to come home. I would definitely not use a short ranged BEV like the Leaf/FFElectric in that manner without fast charging.

I didn’t understand quick charging until I had it. It totally changes the usability of the car.

Without DCQC, one of the non-Tesla EVs has a radius of about 40 miles from home. Commuting, errands, that sort of thing.

Now that my new car has the feature I’ve found myself venturing out on road trips. I’m in Los Angeles and now I take the car to Santa Barbara or Palm Springs without worry or inconvenience. Thanks to DCQC this can be my only car. It’s a total game-changer.

if you need to drive 25-35 miles away either on interstate/freeway (@ 65-70 mph) or on extremely cold days, then a DC quick charge could be a real benefit. Especially for quick trips or if you have little ones with you.

That said, CHAdeMO units slow way down once it gets to freezing or below.

CHAdeMO doesn’t slow down… the car requests less current.

With cars that have battery temperature control, when the battery is heated up, the charge rate returns.

Thanks Tony for that dash of reality… I also keep trying to explain tapering to the folks who all think we need 100kW QC everywhere. The Fuji Electric 25kW CHAdeMO only takes slightly longer than a 50. I’m guessing that is why BMW went with the lower wattage on some of the QCs they installed at dealers.

Indeed. Our Kia Soul EV gets to 80 pct SoC very quickly in the warm but starts off quite slowly at -20c as it did yesterday. Once the battery was warm last night it moved from 15A to full steam ahead. I assume the Leaf is similar in the cold.

Except the LEAF will only heat the battery to -10C.

Small battery cars are great at 25kWh, since the battery is only 16-30kWh, therefore they start tapering quickly at 50-100kW.

Future 200 mile cars won’t have small batteries. My 48kWh RAV4 EV can handle 125 amps until 85%, which means it could take a lot more power at lowered SOC%.

80-100kW is what needs to start going out in the ground now for “waypoint” charging.

You definitely don’t live in Houston. It is 51 miles one way to Hobby Airport for me. It is 55 miles to a friends house in Katy (west suburb). Without DCQC, my LEAF would have stayed at home a lot.

I know not everyone lives in cities as spread out as Houston and Dallas/Ft. Worth. But those two metro areas represent 10+ million vehicles.

I bought my MiEV with DC-charging and have used it a couple of times. Once one of my kids did not plug the 240V EVSE completely in and I didn’t see it until the morning I had to go further then the range and had a DC-charger on the way. The other times I wanted to do some errands after work at a place out of reach(time wise), but there is a DC-charger conveniently located there.
It gets rid of the “Angst” of running out of juice.

Absolutely agree… it makes the cars useful for 1 to 2 hops beyond their normal range when time isn’t a big issue.
I use it occasionally to extend the range of my Leaf to 150 to 200 miles in a day.

Yes, the FFE is definately going nowhere in its current form.

The real test will be whether the next generation Focus (2017/2018) will be designed from the beginning to support electric propulsion, like the Golf. Ford would also have to develop in-house drive train capabilities to control the costs.

I think there is a very good chance they will do it, but we’ll have to see when the time comes.

That’s it. MY2017 brings a new platform with the ability to hold hybrid, plug-in hybrid and EV battery packs, with Ford’s own drivetrain and internally built battery pack. Ford has already moved the building of the current 2015 Focus Electric battery pack to their own supplier, away from LG Chem.

With the hybrids and plug-in models using Panasonic batteries, it’s expected the new pack for the Focus Electric will make the switch also.

Remember, we see MY2017 models in 2016(next year), so it won’t be long until we begin to see something.

Ford has been behind with the focus. MY actually coming out at the beginning of the year instead of august of the previous year.

Fantasy and inaccuracy from you again. LG Chem never ever made the battery pack. There has been no change in supplier since start of production, it did not change in 2015. Piston makes the battery packs with LG Chem as the cell sub-supplier. This is a matter of public record and can be confirmed with a simple Google search.

Focusing on city car sharing means they will do some one off project involving a large government grant or something. Not producing a car for purchase by the general public in all 50 states with DC fast charging means Ford IS NOT serious about electric cars.

I think they are somewhat serious about PHEVs, but yeah.. not so serious about EVs.

I thought they were serious, but it’s been 4 model years now with no substantial changes to their PHEV lineup.

I remember there was someone on this web site who added chamo DC fast charging to a Toyota RV4 SUV electric. It makes me wounder could this be possible with any none DC fast charging car.

That is me. Yes, a DC charger like CHAdeMO, Tesla Supercharger or CCS Combo can charge any modern day EV battery.

It just requires the “smarts” to integrate between the charger protocol and the vehicle CAN bus… and, of course, some basic hardware.

I need to add that we have no plans to offer CHAdeMO for the following:

Fiat 500e
Ford Focus Electric
GM Spark EV
Honda Fit EV
Nissan LEAF
None of the hybrid cars

Tony… the leaf has CHAdeMO… sorry

Thanks for doing what you do… the RAV4EV needed that QC… just sorry Toyota wasn’t serious about it… it was my first choice until I decided on Leaf. Love my Leaf. Can’t wait for the next round of the serious EV battery wars… Tesla vs Nissan vs GM… someone pass the popcorn.

Not all LEAFs have CHAdeMO. We don’t intend to add it.

No CCS DC offering to private sales, means not needing to support DC charging infrastructure. By offering to fleets, Ford can compete with other OEMs.

FYI: This is similar to how Honda offered the Fit EV in Japan. Fleet operators receive the DC charging option, but individual purchasers didn’t get offered the DC option.

Doesn’t this apply for the MB B-Class Electric as well?

They can have DC fast charging (Tesla guts 😉 ), but they don’t.

We will offer CHAdeMO for the Mercedes B-Class ED and Toyota RAV4 EV starting in June 2015.

Awesome! Great work Tony.


Too little, too late… Ford.

Ford is a reluctant player in the EV field, and likely would not offer anything if not for:

1) their US government agreement with $5.4 billion in loans for nationwide “advanced technology” cars

2) CARB-ZEV requirements

3) EPA CAFE mitigation

>>>> The Experiment
Develop a charging station that can quickly recharge electric vehicles, making them a practical choice for car-sharing.” <<<<<

That is some serious back water clueless. Ya, nobody figured out "a charging station that can quickly recharge EVs" !!!

How did these companies get so big?

By puking out the same old oil powered clockwork, with minimal improvements, while suppressing innovation in their own industry, then taking in government research money and doing basically nothing with it.

I`m not going to be stuck in the city, the EV I`m going to buy in the next few years is going to able to take a quick charge period the end of discussion for me.

I am with you, No Fast Charge No Deal.

I agree. No fast charge = no deal for me.

It is absurd to build EVs without this basic capability, which makes them much more useable and flexible.


Also on the bus… any EV with no DC Fast Charge capability is so last generation…

…which is the entire point of range extenders. The few times per year I would take a 170-300 mile trip (but not fly) are just that- a few times. I would want consistent, plentiful heat way more often than I take long car trips.

Also covers power outages.

Yeah, either will do for me. I love the idea of pure electric, but have to be realistic – I do have to get my family to our destination while running the heat, in a blizzard, with all of our Christmas gifts loaded up. Or running the A/C in the summer heat with our beach ware loaded. The wife is not interested in renting, sorry.

The other half of Quick Charging, though, is the infrastructure. Unfortunately NYS seems to have no interest in doing anything about upstate (no surprise to those of us who live here). The Thruway is the perfect corridor to electrify.

Rapid DC charging must be fairly cheap to add to the car, since the charger is doing all of the hard work. Therefore it makes sense to have it. The more cars that have it the more reason there is to develop the network and visa versa.

The biggest question mark is over the business model, which is why Tesla has it right, they integrate the supercharger network with the car. I hope that for the Model 3 they will introduce a pay per use model, with no mucking about, simply plug it in and have the usage charged to my nominated payment method.

Nope. Even with Model 3, they should have optional one-time payment to enable access. The economics of pay-per-use doesn’t work.