Three Years with a Ford Focus Electric – Review

2 years ago by Marc Lee 97

Picking up the Focus Electric, when the wife and the Focus Electric were still on speaking terms

Picking up the Focus Electric, when the wife and the Focus Electric were still on speaking terms

It has been three years and 60,000 plus miles behind the wheel of my Ford Focus Electric and the car has performed well.  In the battery only segment, the car still compares well to its main competitor, the Nissan LEAF.

At this juncture, it is clear the Focus Electric is a compliance car, sold only to meet zero emission requirements (check previous monthly US sales for the Ford here).  For those who lease, this may not be an issue, but for those like me who endure two decades of prodding from a spouse before parting ways with their beloved 92 Nissan Pick Up, Ford’s lack of commitment to the vehicle is a concern. Since the chassis parts are shared with the gasoline version less so there, but the electric drivetrain components may be an issue down the road.

In 2015 the Focus Electric (top) was slightly refreshed (2014 at bottom)

In 2015 the Focus Electric (top) was slightly refreshed (2014 at bottom)

Likes and Kudos:

  • Liquid thermal control of battery temperature
  • Tight, precise steering and handling
  • Chassis parts shared with gas version
  • Display is very advanced and can be customized
  • Good phone/app integration
  • Logical layout and grouping of controls
  • Ability to see actual real time energy usage
  • Little or no observed decrease in range

Dislikes and Concerns:

  • Front wheel drive but no weight/traction up front
  • Battery impinges on the cargo space and yet there is free space in motor compartment up front
  • Many hybrid/plug-in brakes are touchy, but these are particularly so
  • Turning radius is pitiful
  • HV traction battery difficult to swap
  • When running the AC,heat will also run periodically
  • TPMS only warns when low, does not show actual pressure
  • No spare tire

When you have a car that has 76 miles of EPA rated range, you have to think each time,”where am I going, do I have enough range?”  

Ford Focus Mileage Estimater Found Competent

Ford Focus Mileage Estimater Found Competent

For me this mental calculus is now second nature and I have yet to miscalculate, but yes, life does throw you some curveballs that require more driving than you planned.  Nail biting moments ensued, but in every case the car did make it without me having to go Fred Flintstone on it.  Drive at 30 mph in a 45mph zone?  Yes.  Actually push?  No.  The car’s range estimator does a very good job in this regard.

The problem is that these are calculations that neither my wife nor freshly minted license bearing daughter are willing to make.  If it is a round trip of 30 miles or less, they’ll use it.  Otherwise, Dad can just shut his face about how many times he has driven the car to point x and back with plenty of range left.

Ford Focus Battery Depleted Warning

Ford Focus Battery Depleted Warning

In general, the wife does not like the vehicle.  And by not like I mean when driving it she can sometimes be heard muttering under her breath, “I hate this (something that rhymes with sucking) car.”

In fairness, the car is not her daily driver, it is mine.  Thus, I have learned to deal with the touchy brakes, the woeful turning radius, and losing traction during a firm acceleration.  She has not.

Yes, our 2013 Focus Electric got the dreaded "Stop Safely Now" warning, and ultimately had to have its battery replaced a short time later

Yes, our 2013 Focus Electric got the dreaded “Stop Safely Now” warning, and ultimately had to have its battery replaced a short time later

And even when I am driving, the car finds ways to annoy her.  To wit, the car has this feature where if you have the fob in your pocket you can just touch the door handle and it unlocks the car.  And when it is just me, it works like 95% of the time.  But when the wife is there it is more like 50% of the time.  For a long time I was certain this was caused by her cussing at the car.  In fact, I’m still certain this is the root cause.

More recently, I have noted that if someone who does not have a fob is touching one of the handles before the Fob Bearer, it may prevent the unlocking of the doors.  This annoys the wife greatly. I contribute to this annoyance by refusing to reach into my pocket to use the fob to unlock.  Instead I try touching the driver’s handle, then the back door handle, then both at the same time.  If that fails,  I engage in a series of three card montiesque hand movements whilst touching the various handles,  This unlocks the doors 50% of the time, but 100% of the time results in a glare that would send shivers down the spine of a battle hardened Navy Seal.

Ford Focus Electric - A good buy if your know what to expect ahead of time

Ford Focus Electric – A good buy if your know what to expect ahead of time

New 2017 Focus Electric - 100 Miles Of Range, DC (CCS) Fast Charging - Arrives This Fall

New 2017 Focus Electric – 100 Miles Of Range, DC (CCS) Fast Charging – Arrives This Fall

Would I buy the car again?  At this point, with affordable, 200+ mile range options coming as soon as this Fall I would be jumping on that boat.  I would only recommend this vehicle to someone whose driving patterns are completely compatible with a 76 mile range vehicle, and only if you could get a real deal to make the shorter range worth the hassle.

Ford has announced a new upgraded battery providing a 100 mile range for the 2017 Focus Electric and hinted they are working on a 200 mile range version for the future.

I have much more to say on the Focus Electric, but once you hit a certain word count Jay Cole’s (InsideEV’s Editor-in-Chief) left eye starts to twitch in a most disturbing fashion.  For more thoughts on 60k miles with the Focus Electric, hit me up in the comments section.


97 responses to "Three Years with a Ford Focus Electric – Review"

  1. EV Owner says:


    1. Married28Years says:

      With a wife that looks like that… I recommend keeping her happy.

      1. Marc Lee says:

        @Married28years Roger that.

        1. Unplugged says:

          The issue with the door locks could easily be remedied by doing what a gentleman should do: opening the passenger side door for your lady.

          1. Marc Lee says:

            Um yeah, when you’re dating that’s a nice show of gentility. When you’re married for a couple of decades pulling that maneuver will get you a “what the hell are you doing? Get on your side, ain’t nobody got time for that!” 🙂

            1. Unplugged says:

              I’ve done it for forty years. I’ve never had a female reject having a door opened for her.

      2. SparkEV says:

        I didn’t read the caption and thought the girl in photo was the daughter who just got her license. She’s a looker! And she has kids who are old enough to drive?! Wow!

    2. Aaron says:

      “It has been three years and 60,000 plus miles behind the wheel of my Ford Focus Electric and the car has performed well.”

      You got a “Stop Safely Now” (randomly causes the FFE to stop in its tracks without warning) and had to have the battery replaced, and you call that performing well?

      I’ve got a great 1984 Yugo that sounds like it will be perfect for you!

      1. Marc Lee says:

        You really pay attention Aaron. Yes I did receive the SSN numerous times, but never experienced an actual stoppage in my vehicle and nothing more than a power cycle of the vehicle was required to clear it.

        TIP: If you experience the SSN. Turn off your vehicle and open the door. The car doesn’t really power cycle till you open the door.

        Yes they did replace the battery, but it was my choice. This was before they had a handle on the SSN problem and they wanted it back to take a look at it. And hey I’m open to having the HV Traction battery replaced with a brand new battery on the OEM’s dime any time. Then Ford did a solid one better than that. They offered to replace the car altogether, and I accepted. I call that standing behind the product big time.

        1. Aaron says:

          Oh? You received MULTIPLE SSNs and you STILL consider the car reliable? Are you kidding? You’re way worse off than I thought.

          You’re fortunate that your car didn’t stop in a bad location (e.g., the exit ramp from a highway, as another FFE report I read did) and got into an accident. “Oh, I’m okay since my car didn’t stop.” No, you were LUCKY.

          Ford didn’t replace your battery out of the generosity of their heart, they replaced it so your car wouldn’t SSN and put your life in jeopardy.

          I’m paying attention just fine, thank you. It’s you who is blindly accepting of your cars potentially life-threatening defects.

          1. Marc Lee says:

            Aaron you are right. If the SSNs issues had resulted in my car stopping in the middle of a highway or some other life threatening issue I absolutely would feel differently about it, and it definitely would have been on the “Dislikes and Concerns” list.

            But those things did not happen to me and I haven’t seen an SSN in 2 years now nor I have I heard of the issue being reported by others for some time, so for me it is not a concern.

            I suspect that Ford replaced the battery because I bought the car very early own and I had over 10k miles on it. GM did the same thing with my Volt when I had a sensor go bad on the battery. They asked to replaced the entire battery. They could have easily replaced the sensor, but they wanted a “released to the wild” battery to examine and test.

          2. Unplugged says:

            MANY EVs have had issues initially. In fact, many cars in general have quality issues when first put into production. The SSN issue affected relatively few cars, and was diagnosed by Ford and applied to all Focus Electrics. Given that Ford offered to replace the vehicle and/or the battery before the issue was factory diagnosed, yes, I would call that superior service.

  2. Skryll says:

    Funny we have a similar story but in my case the wife loves it and does always want to drive it since ‘she has the longer commute and so it makes more sense’. The difference is probably that it is a 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf, which performs a lot better and unlocking doors works 100% of the time 🙂 there are deficiencies in the responsiveness of the iPhone app, but still great that I can turn on the heat pump / ac in winter / summer from the breakfast table while it is sitting charged over night in the garage. For her. We bought it as a second car but quickly turned into the primary car, the 2014 honda odyssey is only taken when we need more than 5 passengers or the eGolf is already on the road. Would I buy it again? No, tesla model 3 would be the choice most likely since the price point is similar. I paid $35,000 and got back $7,500 from federal and $2,500 from california incentives. We put 20,000 miles onto the car so far. Its just so much more fun to drive and the hatchback is just as practical as any other golf, just drives so much more smooth and accelerates so instantly leaving gas cars in the dust at the lights all the time.

    1. Marc Lee says:

      Yes the wife definitely took over the Volt for similar reasons and loved it. I think if she drove the Focus electric more often she would like it, but when you drive a vehicle infrequently it is hard to get used to its idiosyncrasies.

      And yes the two plug-ins save lots of miles on our 2006 Honda Odyssey.

  3. Anon says:

    Almost bought one. Went to a Ford Dealer and looked at what was left of the cargo bay with my own eyes– with that shelf organizer back there and said, “Nope nope nope.”

    1. Marc Lee says:

      Yes the intrusion into the cargo area is significant and disappointing given how much space is available in the motor compartment.

      1. Unplugged says:

        Did you ever remove the cargo “organizer?” There is plenty of room in the trunk if the organizer is lifted out.

        1. Marc Lee says:

          Oh yes, the cargo organizer was jettisoned immediately. 90% of the time the battery bump is not an issue. In fact, it helps because I often carry tool bags and other things that tip easily. The space back there works well to keep things from tipping over.

    2. Foo says:

      Because you routinely need to carry 20 bags of groceries home on a daily basis?

      People vastly overestimate how much “cargo space” the need in their cars.

      1. Aaron says:

        Some of us need the space for things like strollers. The FFE’s lack of cargo space made it a no-go. Even the i-MiEV had enough room for the big stroller but the FFE didn’t.

      2. kubel says:

        The cargo space in the FFE is a deal breaker. The point of getting a hatchback is that cargo capacity and versatility.

        1. Foo says:

          Granted, not all cars will fit everyone’s needs. But, there’s really quite a bit of room in the FFE when you take out the cargo organizer and fold the seats down. More than people realize. More than some “normal” cars have.

        2. Foo says:

          Well, the point of getting an FFE is that it is an EV. The fact that it happens to be a hatchback is really secondary.

        3. Unplugged says:

          “The point of getting a hatchback….” Actually, the point of getting an EV is usually not to haul around cargo.

  4. Speculawyer says:

    20,000 miles a year…you drive a lot!

    1. Marc Lee says:

      Two kids in travel sports. After a while you feel less like a parent and more like a chauffeur. 🙂

    2. SparkEV says:

      What’s what I thought. 20K / 365 = 55 miles a day. If used only 5 days a week for commute, 77 miles a day. That’s without DCFC! That is amazing.

      1. 2013VOLT says:

        Considering I do that on my Gen 1 Volt on electricity only, it isn’t much of a feat. 70 mile daily commute and I have workplace charging. I am at 58,000 EV miles and 72,000 total miles on my 2013.

        1. SparkEV says:

          If you know that destination has charging (ie, work), that’s not so bad. But he’s shuffling his kids places, presumably places without chargers and range anxiety is real.

          In addition, you don’t worry about running out of battery whereas it’s a huge concern for EV. You can afford to run down the battery to 1 mile remaining whereas BEV would worry with 10 miles remaining (or even 20 miles remaining)

          Frankly, I think he’s got nerve of steel to pull it off.

  5. David Murray says:

    I looked at it a few years back. But just couldn’t justify it being I could get a Leaf for less money that also had DC fast charge, more range, and more cargo area. None of those things by themselves was a deal-breaker, but put them all together and it just wasn’t a great deal.

    1. LEAF_n_PiP says:

      I was in the same boat when buying my LEAF. I really wanted the FFE, but ultimately the lack of DC charging and the worry of support with a compliance vehicle lead me to buying the LEAF instead.

    2. evcarnuts says:

      Yea ,but the Leaf is soooo FUGLY

      1. Jason says:


  6. Jameson says:

    I have a similar experience to Skryll in that the wife loves driving it, but the other car is an older Honda Civic so that may explain it.

    I share the exact same con’s although I don’t notice the touchy braking, maybe they fixed that for the later model years. I did not like the cargo bay but our stroller fit perfectly so it was fine as that is the largest thing we are transporting 95% of the time. I thought I was the only one that noticed the turning radius, I feel like I’m driving a truck in a parking lot.

    Marc, what is your experience with the range degradation? You elude to it being minimal to non-existent. I wish there was a way to see a consistent range as it changes each time you start the car.

    1. Skryll says:

      The funny thing is – we had just replaced our 2006 honda oddysee with a 2014 honday oddysee. And she always insisted that the VW Jetta I was driving at the time was too small for her purposes, shuttling kids around and running errands. It wasn’t until I replace the Jetta with the even smaller eGolf that suddenly it turned into a good idea to drive the more economic car lol. At least I get to drive it on the weekends, but the real treat will be replacing the Odysee with a Model X in a month… I can already foresee how then suddenly the eGolf range is too short for her etc… oh well 🙂

    2. Marc Lee says:

      I think there has been very little range degradation at this point. Although let me be clear that the vehicle I am driving has about 53,000 miles. Ford replaced my original Focus Electric after about 10,000 miles because they did a battery swap, and there was some concern about a field swap at that point.

      The thing is, over the years, as I have become more comfortable with range prediction, and because I have a charger at work, I drive much faster and waste energy much more in year 3 than I did in year 1. That said it appears to me that range drop at this point is negligible.

      Hopefully, Wood Foss, will chime in. He has even more miles and I think he has noticed very little range drop.

      1. FFEINKY says:

        I have 55K miles on mine. I used to drive 110 miles a day (55 miles one way and back from work) and didn’t really see much battery loss until about the 2 year mark. But with the deep battery discharges from the range and mileage I think that’s what has killed my battery. Running it dead twice a day for 2 years put about a 20-22% dent in my range capacity. I love my FFE and will probably just hold out for a 200 mile Ford unless my car dies sometime soon (which I don’t expect). Thanks for the article.

        1. Marc Lee says:

          @FFEINKY You are saying your range is only 60 miles on all full charge? I’m guessing the 55 miles each is mostly highway?

          If I do a bunch of highway driving the range meter shows diminishing range the next day, but if I do day of around town driving it goes back.

          For example, yesterday was mostly around town driving and the range this morning was 78 miles.

  7. Allen Fisher says:

    I’ve had my Focus Electric 35 months and I agree with everything you said. It’s a great car to drive, but I wouldn’t get another car that has 76 miles of range (50 in cold weather with the heater running). I want at least 200 miles of range in another BEV and a more efficient heater. There is no great choice on the market right now to replace it when I turn it in next month. I’m considering the new Malibu Hybrid. Roomier, Volt technology, 46 MPG overall.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      Chevy Bolt and Model 3 to the rescue!

      I previously thought that 100 to 150 miles would be enough. But I was wrong and Tesla was right. 200+ miles plus superchargers are needed. In my defense, I assumed $100+/barrel oil…which was also wrong. :-/

      But thrn again, Tesla probably had some luck with their picks.

  8. Brian says:

    Thanks for the review. I always appreciate the perspective of a real person (as opposed to a magazine writer, after driving on a closed track for an afternoon).

    The Focus would have been a strong competitor for me, but it was about a year too late. I got my Leaf in March ’12, I think the Focus came to upstate NY in early ’13. It’s a nice looking car and I’m glad to hear it handles well. I also like that it sits lower (read: sportier) than the Leaf. But that’s personal preference.

    I’m sorry that your wife and daughter dislike the car. I actually had the opposite experience with my wife. She loved the Leaf so much that she wouldn’t let me drive it to work. It became her commuter! Well, I solved that by buying her a CMax Energi for her commute and I have my BEV back.

    Regarding the turning radius, I noticed the same thing with the CMax. I am constantly misjudging parking spots, and having to adjust. Naturally I’d get used to it if it were my daily driver, but I drive it just rarely enough not to. The CMax is, IIRC, built on the same platform as the Focus, only taller.

  9. Djoni says:

    Very funny writing Marc!
    Some of the same happen here with wife and the Leaf although she like it, she won’t take it unless she have less or about half the distance to go that the car can do.
    I’m responsible for that because while I drove it once we ran into a jam cause by an accident that delay our commute and force plan B that was a lot longer and it was -25c° below….
    She didn’t like it at all and she never forget.

  10. Speculawyer says:

    Does the gas version have the same pathetic turn radius?

    1. Will Davis says:

      It doesn’t.

      1. Foo says:

        I wonder why the EV one’s turning radius was different. Perhaps something to do with the the electric drivetrain’s configuration?

        1. Speculawyer says:

          Yeah, that is bizarre if true. Why would they be different? Makes no sense unless Ford/Magna really screwed up.

          1. Foo says:

            Also, turning radius of the FFE isn’t actually “pathetic”. That is a dramatic overstatement. It is not as tight as some small cars, but it rarely causes any trouble.

            1. Jason says:

              Yes the crappy turning radius is somewhat of an exaggeration. It will stick out like a sore thumb to anyone who usually drives any other compact car though. My FFE has about the same turning radius as the wife’s Toyota 4runner. My Ford escort ZX2 winter beater and previous daily driver has a significantly smaller turning radius.

  11. Fabian says:

    I like Ford, but this car has to be the least competitive and most overpriced EV for the range, even when it first showed up at CES.

    Unless you got some sweet deal, I can’t imagine why anyone would choose this car today or ever. Ford’s positioning of the Battery in all their PHEVs and BEVs has been ridiculous. Almost zero trunk space.

    76 miles (50-60 real world miles) of range is totally horrific. I had a Think city with similar range and I got rid of it cuz I could not live with the pitiful range anxiety.

    An to top it all off, if you try to sell this car, you will only get peanuts back [or less from a stealership on a tradein!!], especially now that the Model3/Bolt have been announced.

    This whole Ford focus EV offering, with all the recalls, has been a kick in the teeth to the EV world.

    Listen to your wife next time!

    1. Texas FFE says:

      My FFE originally had a list price of $39,000 but was originally leased in California so the price was actually $29,000 after federal and state incentives. The Leaf was selling for the same price at the time. The resell price of the FFEs did drop significantly but new car prices of all the EVs dropped. I don’t know how you can single out the FFE, this was a phenomenon common to all FFEs.

      I’m all caught up on the recalls of my FFE. There was only one significant recall and the modifications only took a couple of hours. I sorry you hate FFEs so much, I don’t think it’s justified.

    2. Speculawyer says:

      They did slash the price down. But the short range, lack of trunk space, and lack of DC fast charger made it still not very palatable.

    3. Tedfredrick says:

      I’m on my second Ford focus EV. The second one cost me $9500 Brand New. Pretty hard to beat

  12. PHEVfan says:

    “Turning radius is pitiful”

    It’s a Ford, what did you expect? I’ve owned Fords for decades, they’ve almost all sucked on the turning radius. My ’07 escape is probably the best at it, but the wheelbase is short, so that’s probably why. Don’t even get me started on the F250 Crew cab 4X4 turning radius %#(@&!)#&$

  13. georges says:

    Great story Mark. I especially liked the parts about your wife and especially the FOB story. I’m pretty sure that some machines can tell if the person operating them like them or not……my wife has the same problem with computers.

    After having a Volt for 3 years I have come to some conclusions about the Big 3 car makers. I don’t want to go too hard on GM. They are the best of the three.

    When I got the Volt I was feeling pretty good about what I had done….that I was supporting GM in their valiant efforts.

    What I have since concluded is that the big three have no interest in selling electric cars. They are only doing it because they have to.

    So next time you want an electric give your money to Tesla as they are the only company interested in making a stand alone business out of it.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      Oh I think GM is trying. But they have the inventor’s dilemma.

  14. Larry351 says:

    The real bargain is a used Focus EV for around $10K. At that price the limited range & other shortcomings are a lot more tolerable.

    I leased one of these for the HOV access decal, and ended up liking it a lot more than I expected. I love its handling, styling, and electronics. However I have given up on the phone app after several failures.

  15. Jeffrey Songster says:

    My wife and I have 2 Nissan LEAFs and the advantages are clear… we can take separate trips individually for the single charge range or even 1 hop each way with a DCFC CHAdeMO. Or we can take 1 car… come home when done and take the other one for another 85 miles or so. Neither of us like to do more than 1 CHAdeMO hop in a day. I would argue that the eGOlf, VOLT, ELR, i3, Kia Soul EV and Nissan LEAF are worthy these days for a pure economy model EV… otherwise wait until the 200 milers.

  16. Doug Bostrom says:

    There’s no actual lock/unlock button on the dash?

    1. Texas FFE says:

      Yes there is.

  17. Bloggin says:

    Great article!

    Asside the dislikes from the wife and daughter(women buy clothes with big holes in the back, wear shoes trying to balance on a point under the heal…on purpose, along with maintaining the idea that the ‘departure’ time can be the same as ‘arrival’ time….with no idea why they are late upon arrival…lol), it sounds like the FFE is a solid EV, using the tools available that could eliminate range anxiety, but still needs more range and better battery storage.

    Sadly, the range boost and Combo Charger for 2017 is about 3 years too late. It gets enough of an upgrade to remain about the same position….last.

    However, there is a possibility that Ford may have found a way to better store the battery, with a modification to the rear suspension for the 2015MY.

    (FYI…MY2015 Blue ICE Focus in the article is NOT a Focus Electric)

    Then there is the price. Ford has hinted that the 2017 Focus Electric will be more ‘economical’, which could bring the MSRP down to $25k. Which could make the range deficit tolerable, with a lease price close to $99/mo.

    But the biggest issue is battery capacity. With the FFE battery having thermal protection, leasing or then buying a used FFE offers a safe bet for longest range over the lifetime of the vehicle of it’s sub-100 mile competitors.

    The product forecast shows a new focus and new ‘hybrid/electrified vehicls’ coming in 2018/MY2019, so the updated Focus Electric will just have 2 years to go before replacement with what is expected to be a purpose built EV with 200+ mile range.

  18. Texas FFE says:

    Would I buy a FFE today? That’s a pretty ridiculous question. I felt buying an FFE was the right choice at the time and I still think the FFE is the right choice for some people but the EV market is changing rapidly.

    There are more new FFEs on the market than there has ever been before, over 350 in the US per AutoTrader. At least Ford thinks people still want to buy FFEs. Maybe Ford thinks the media frenzy stirred up by the Model 3 and the Bolt is going to spur FFE sales.

    I wanted an FFE for years before I found a great deal on an off lease. If you have never owned a modern EV then the FFE can be very attractive. My FFE is in excellent condition right now and I currently have no burning desire to get rid of it.

    I still think my FFE is a fantastic car and I use it to commute every day. Charging time and range are never an issue but I do plan my trips very careful. Honestly, there’s nothing on the market right now for a price I’m willing to pay that would be much more use to me than the FFE.

    I have never noticed the turning radius issue mentioned in the article. The turning radius would not discourage me from buying the car again. I can’t think of any time the turning radius would be an issue with me.

    My wife doesn’t like the range limitations of the FFE but she’s only driven it once. She drives our Fusion Energi all the time so she is very comfortable with the controls of the FFE. I think my wife likes the FFE, she just doesn’t like having to plan her trips around the range limitations.

    I don’t know when I’ll buy another EV but I know I’ll never buy another gas car, not even a PHEV. Right now the FFE is not costing me very much and I like that a lot. I might just decide to hang on to the FFE for awhile and try to add CCS charging and larger capacities when the aftermarket guys start providing them.

    The biggest problem with the FFE, just like with all the EVs isn’t with the car but with the charging infrastructure. As long as you can home charge every day then life is good. But unless you have an awful lot of time on your hands, long distance driving is out of the question.

    Until the infrastructure situation improves dramatically I don’t see much point in upgrading from my FFE. Even then, if I’ve added CCS charging and maybe a larger battery, I still might not have a strong desire to upgrade. In the forty years I’ve been buying cars I consider the FFE one of the best, if not the best, I’ve ever owned.

    1. georges says:

      “I wanted an FFE for years before I found a great deal on an off lease.”

      That is a good option for people that want an EV at a decent price. One of the guys at GM-Volt picked up an off lease Spark EV and got a good deal. Nice thing is short commitment time. That might be a decent way to go for people waiting for the TM3. (well me anyway now that I’m Voltless).

    2. Speculawyer says:

      No shame in getting an early EV. I have one too and I won’t even say which one. We are pioneers that moved things forward and we should be proud of that. I also have lots of outdated processors, GPUs, GPS systems, cable modems, and HDTVs.

    3. Unplugged says:

      I’m turning my Focus Electric lease in tomorrow after three years. A slight tear will be shed because I love the handling and the amenities. As Car & Driver stated, “The Model S for the rest of us.”

      I leased a Fiat 500e for my daughter last year, and it has been a reliable EV. I ended up replacing the Focus Electric with another 500e for me. Until my Model 3 order comes in, the 500e will be my regular car.

      There is a world of difference between the 500e and FFE. The FFE is refined, the 500e is more of a toy. But the lease price on the 500e was only $95 a month with $2000 down (refunded by the CA rebate). I call it my “throwaway” EV.

      I looked at the Leaf three years ago, and like you, there was no real competition to the FFE. The looks of the FFE made the decision much easier.

  19. Rick Danger says:

    An entertaining as well as informative article, Marc, thanks!

  20. Texas FFE says:

    BTW, the Focus on top IS NOT a 2015 FFE. I’m surprised no else mentioned this. All of the FFEs are virtually identical.

  21. KenZ says:

    Here’s the question: if knowing what you know now you could go back in time, would you still buy it, lease it, or buy or lease something else?

    1. Marc Lee says:

      Good question Ken. If I were on the West Coast I think I would buy the LEAF, just for the quick charge. But here on the East Coast and in my part of Southeast Virginia there is practically no quick charge available and the prices are ridiculous. And the other big factor is the liquid thermal control on the battery. So yes I probably would buy it again.

  22. AddLightness says:

    Sounds like a very similar experience I’ve had for 30 months in my leaf. We love the car and will never buy an ICE again but my wife does hate driving it because of the extremely touchy brakes. The one that drives it 95%+ of the time and they can even be bad for me especially in wet conditions they tend to grab really bad. It was interesting to read a long term review on this low volume EV.

  23. Stretch2727 says:

    Funny. I had one on lease 2 years. Same issue with getting the doors unlocked although my wife was closer to 90% opening sucess and myself about 40%. Other than the cargo space issue I prefer my Focus Electric over my current eGolf.

  24. Rick Bronson says:

    Hello Mr. Marc

    My sincere appreciation to you for buying Focus Electric and driving 60,000 green miles on electricity.

    Yes its risky to go to some places and return home with just 76 mile range in your vehicle.

    Focus Electric cannot be compared with Leaf for these reasons.

    With 105 cu. ft. interior space, it falls 11 cu. ft. short of Leaf which has 116 cu. ft.

    With 10 cu. ft. of trunk space, it falls 14 cu. ft. short of Leaf which has 24 cu. ft. You cannot pickup/drop someone in the airport if they have even 2 medium sized suitcase.

    Leaf has an extra 8 mile range.

    Above all everyone knows that Leaf is a dedicated EV and is sold the World over where as Focus is just US only model and when we sell it, we have to explicitly specify that its an Electric model.

    Ideally Ford should reduce the price of Focus Electric by few 1000 $ given its shortfalls.

    BTW the 2017 Focus Electric will have only 100 mile range and the expected 200 mile range model will arrive only in 2020.

    Once again thanks and keep enjoying your Focus Electric and drive within the range.

    1. Texas FFE says:

      Well Rick, it sounds like you have never actually ridden in a FFE. There’s 31 cubic feet of space with the rear seat folded down plus it’s a very functional space back there. And I can tell you that I have put a heck of a lot more than a couple of bags of luggage back there, as a matter of fact I carry a lawn mower, leaf blower, a weed eater and several weed eater attachments back there every other weekend and there room for a bunch more stuff.

      I’m happy you like your Leaf. I’m sure I like my FFE at least as much as you like your Leaf.

      1. Foo says:


        I’ve picked up people form the airport with MORE luggage than that. People don’t seem to realize that the cargo organizer is OPTIONAL and can be removed, which opens up a lot more space.

    2. Foo says:

      Rick, why so jerky?

    3. Unplugged says:

      Rick – When Marc purchased his FFE, the Leaf was an ugly EV with not much to offer against the FFE. In fact, at that time, the rated range on the Leaf was slightly less than the FFE, if I recall. In any case in a comparo, Car & Driver came out with exactly the same range in its driving of the two cars.

      The Leaf STILL is an appliance that handles like a refrigerator. As Car & Driver accurately noted, “The Leaf lists and rolls with languid motions, like a sailboat tacking in a middling swell.”

      That is why the Leaf placed two places below the FFE in the C&D comparison.

    4. Anon says:

      Focus Electric is not US only. In addition to being sold in Canada, it’s also built in the German Focus plant and sold in several European countries from there.

  25. M Hovis says:

    So refreshing to hear from you Marc. His eye twitches, but he prints it all the same. It never stopped you before. I for one love your writing style and willingness to share.

    As for the touchy brakes, I drove a friend’s new 2017 Volt this week and man were they touchy. It was noticeably more than mine, but then again so was the 290 ft-lbs of torque.

    200 mile EVs on the way, fun times…

    1. Marc Lee says:

      Thanks Mark. He does print it all the same doesn’t he. I’ll keep that in mind next time.

  26. Louis Mengoli says:

    I recently turned in my 2013 FFE after the lease was up and leased a 2016 model. Love driving it but my wife does not – she did not like driving my Porsche 944 either (too low to the road). The brakes are not touchy on the 2016 but the turning radius is still poor. I am retired and 75 miles covers my day easily. I believe I lost 10% in range over the three years. With fob in my pocket trunk never fails to open and if I go for the front door first just about always works. The 2013 would frequntly fail to open if I tried to open the rear doors first.
    With $2,400 down I pay $270/month (leather seats).

  27. Jimmy says:

    I leased a 2013 FFE for 3 years and really enjoyed the car. For me (and my wife) the Focus fells so much better to drive than other low priced EVs. We are “car” people and the FFE was the first non-manual car I’d ever “owned”.

    My wife was the most anti-Leaf. It’s ugly and no fun to drive. Sure, ex-Prius drivers think the Leaf is fun.. but her car was an Audi/Sport package/6-spd manual.

    The 3 years with the FFE convinced me to reserve a Model 3.

    1. Foo says:

      +1 (except I reserved two Model 3s)

  28. Joeski1 says:

    Love my Tesla MS.. skip the Ford and Leaf altogether and get a certified 2014 or 2015 pre owned Tesla instead.. the higher the production number the better.. it will be worth every cent in interior space,ride quality , performance , and reliabilty and will get you 10 times the attention of either the leaf or the ford.. funny article.. your wife is right..

    1. Texas FFE says:

      Thanks for trying to bankrupt people and trying to make everyone feel inferior. A used FFE can be found for less than $10,000 and new ones can be found for as little as $24,000 before incentives. You can’t find a used Tesla for less $50,000 and the minimum price for a new one is $70,000.

      The only real advantages Teslas have is range and being able to use the Supercharger network. Those features are not important enough to make me want to go that deeply into debt. What really turns me off with the Tesla is the elitist attitudes of owners like you.

  29. Long says:

    I’ve got 2 focii? The wife and I both drive one. We bought ours and I considered it because it was normal looking and had a great base to begin with. The base ffe is also the equivalent of the titanium package. After incentives it was also cheaper than a base gas focus at MSRP. It has tight enough handling and provides enough space in the back for toting people around during lunch.

    The turning radius is the biggest complaint from both my wife and I though. You notice it all the time during parallel parking. These make for great daily drivers. These are also more comfortable than the other cars in its class except for maybe the egolf. Those cost a lot more at the moment though.

  30. AC says:

    I have a 2014 FFE and still love it. averaging 12k a year. It is performing just like the day i got it.Never had a problem opening the door and it drives like a dream. All front wheel drive car have a limited turning radius. I did buy a spare tire and jack because of being stranded 2 times. I am going to drive it till the Tesla model 3 I ordered arrives. Model X due this summer for the wife. With Tesla’s infrastructure it is the only way to go in the future for me. I have never regretted buying my FFE.

    1. Marc Lee says:

      Not having a spare tire really concerned me. When I replaced the original tires I kept the one that was in the best shape and bought a rim for it.

      Its too big to carry around but if I flat I can get the wife or the daughter to bring it to me and I’m back on the road.

      Of course now that I’m “prepared” I will never need it…and that’s just fine too.

      Here is the rim:×4-25-Partnumber-83B-7714/dp/B00C6E7HO0?ie=UTF8&psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage

  31. jimstack007 says:

    My 2013 Focus EV has been in use for 3 HOT years in the Phoenix Arizona area. It has ZERO battery capacity loss so far. I leased it and will turn it in this month.

    It’s a great EV with a 7.2 kW on board charger. Super long battery life and very reliable.

    The LOWS are no efficient Heat Pump for passenger cooling, no DC Fast Charge port, the battery hump in the back and FORD won’t stock them and encourage sales. Seems like a COMPLIANCE car so I can’t support that.

    1. jimstack007 says:

      Oh by the way I get 100-120 miles on a charge by driving SMART. Clara FORD would be proud she only drove a quiet ,clean Detroit Electric while Henry made lots of noise and pollution in hard to start gas cars.

  32. FFE leasee says:

    Hear Hear Marc, Too funny. 2 1/3 years into 3 yr lease, 27,000 miles and no problems. All the same quirks with the 2014. Brakes feel funny when you hit a bump while braking, sort of a ABS/regen switch that has to happen when the tire bounces and momentarily loose some traction and the car sees this and backs off regen, applies mechanical ABS, and then switches back to regen. I know the car well enough that it is predictable and safe, but yeah, each time that happens, I notice it.
    I love the car. 50 miles in the pit of winter sucks. Would a 100 mile FFE with DC charging help that, yeah. I like the chassis dynamics of the FFE. The Leaf was a couch with poor handling. At 6’7″ I didn’t fit in the leaf as well as I do in the Focus.

    The traction of the focus is amazing. Torque will skoot you along with a big smile on your face. There’s so much of it that it will spin the tires and torque steer some. I think Ford even reduces the available torque because the car seems to pull hard from 20+mph than from stand still.

    My wife too couldn’t deal with the decision making on the range piece. Strange because she only ever put $20 of gas in her car at every stop, instead of filling it up, so you’d think that’s like running with less range.
    I came from a 340hp Audi Quattro S4 Avant to this car and have no regrets. $600-700 in electricity to drive 12,000 miles Vs $3000 in gas, Never been to the dealer for anything except a recall that didn’t affect my use. It’s the future today, and only getting better.

    1. Marc Lee says:

      “Brakes feel funny when you hit a bump while braking” Agreed. It feels like the vehicle stops braking momentarily. Suspect an ABS thing as well.

      “The Leaf was a couch with poor handling.” Have a friend who tried to go around an interstate cloverleaf at the same speed he does in his Volt, and almost crashed his LEAF into the retaining wall because it just could not handle the turn at that speed.

      “At 6’7″ I didn’t fit in the leaf as well as I do in the Focus.” Now this surprises me. They spec out pretty close, but the LEAF has the higher roof line so I would think it would be more spacious up there.

      “Ford even reduces the available torque because the car seems to pull hard from 20+mph than from stand still.” Ford has stated that they optimized it for accelerating from 30 mph to 50 mph.

    2. Kakkerlak says:

      The highway exit I use every day has a little sunken spot about ten inches wide in the asphalt where a drainage pipe collapsed years ago. I’m decelerating on an decreasing-radius downhill turn when the FFE’s right wheel hits that spot and every time it does that weird ABS hiccup. I’ve done it hundreds of times and the traction control indicator never comes on. As you said, once you are familiar with it, it’s not a surprise or danger.

      And it’s the very definition of a first-world problem that I can’t make the U-turn across 2nd avenue to the parking garage when I go to the Symphony.

      Ford claims a 49/51 balance but the FFE sure does feel light in the front, and while I’ve never tried to measure it, I do know basic math and where the heavy parts are. I go super light on the accelerator when I’m in start/stop traffic, uphill in the rain.

  33. Texas FFE says:

    I want to expand on the discussion of cargo storage of the FFE. I’ve already identified above that the FFE has 31 cubic feet of very usable storage behind the front seats with the rear seats folded down. Ford Accessories offers a Thule roof rack and Torquelift offers a receiver hitch for the FFE so cargo storage can greatly increased using these options.

    The roof rack can carry bicycles or kayaks or can be fitted with a cargo carrier for luggage and the like. The Torquelift receiver is rated for a 200 lb. tongue weight and a 2000 lb trailer weight but the FFE owners manual does not recommend towing. Even so, you can still stick a bike rack or cargo rack in the receiver.

    It also might be possible to greatly increase range of the FFE in the future using the receiver option. eBuggy is working on producing battery trailers of up to 85kW that can connect up to the receiver hitch. The eBuggy trailers are being designed for the Leaf and i3 which also don’t recommend towing.

    The restrictions on towing mostly relate to warranty. If my EV is already out of warranty then anything that goes wrong with my EV from towing an eBuggy trailer is on me. To get an extra 100 or so miles out of my first generation EV I might be willing to risk towing an eBuggy battery trailer.

    So you can see that there is great versatility in these first gen EVs. These first gen EVs are going to be with us for a very long time. I think they will only get better with time if they are well maintained and the aftermarket providers keep offering products that improve performance.

  34. lithium78 says:

    We considered the FFE, because we are Ford fans, but we decided to wait for the 200 mile second generation instead. This car would be useful for local driving, but we really want something we can use as a single all-purpose car, so we opted for the C-Max Energi instead for now. With careful driving, I’ve gotten the EV range on the C-Max Energi up to 28 miles, which takes care of all our local driving.

  35. Bill Michel says:

    We’re near the end of our 3 year lease with
    about 40k mi. Range hasn’t been a problem,
    but you definitely need to *plan*. The home
    charger helped a lot. Here on San Francisco
    Peninsula, public chargers are pretty plentiful,
    which also helped.

    Agree about lack of cargo space, and horrible
    traction control. The weight comes off the
    wheel, and that’s where all the power goes…
    I thought we had figured that one out.

    Lack of tactile feedback from the controls
    (esp HVAC) seems really dumb. The interface
    didn’t work very well with our phones,
    and the NAV system is not ready for prime-
    time, unless you’re looking for Starbucks
    or Wallmart (it actually *tells you this*!).

    I like the handling, and wouldn’t have
    complained about the turning radius (our
    other cars are Dodge 2500 extended cab(!),
    and 2010 Subaru Outback).

  36. HK says:

    Awesome. We just purchased a 2013 FFE last week with 30k miles for $8,000. I feel this is a great deal since it’s fairly “new” and the price under $10k, which was icing on the cake.

    I get to save money on gas, since I commute 40 miles each day to and back from work. Work provides free electricity, which is awesome. When I get home, my wife takes the FFE to do her errands, instead of using her gas car… which saves us even more money. When she gets home, she simply plugs the charger in and the next morning, I get to take it to work. It works out for us.

    On the weekends, as long as we give enough buffer with mileage, we use it to go places… and if we need to charge when we are out… we look for public charging places using our plugshare app.

    I previously had a CNG Crown Victoria 2002… so I am used to limited fill up stations and a smaller range (200 miles).

    The FFE however has a smaller range than my Crown Vic, so it just takes a little bit more thought with where I am going and how far I am driving.

    To be Eco friendly… shouldn’t this always be a habit, so that we are not such wasteful creatures?

    1. Angelll says:

      Nice Just got myself a 2012 FFE with only 14k (!) miles for $10k, still had the new car smell. I definitely never saw one for $8k though!

  37. Chris says:

    Has anyone noticed their FFE responding very well to 63 degree temperatures? I had a week of outdoor temps between 62-65 and noticed regen came easier and energy used seemed to drain slower than usual. Tip on door opening. Try using a hand without jewelry especially after u just unplugged.