The new EV will be displayed in a ceremony at the Virginia State Capitol, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling will deliver it to Richmond International Raceway.
If we had to name the demographic group least likely to be interested in EVs, it would probably be NASCAR fans. So we were surprised (and impressed) to learn that a 2012 Ford Focus Electric will serve as NASCAR’s first-ever electric pace car at the Sprint Cup Richmond 400 on April 28. The new EV will be displayed in a ceremony at the Virginia State Capitol, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling will deliver it to Richmond International Raceway.
“Ford research shows the majority of Americans would consider buying an electrified vehicle but do not yet understand the different technologies,” said Ford’s US chief Mark Fields. “Highlighting the Focus Electric as a pace car is a fun way to educate consumers about the kinds of benefits our electrified vehicles deliver and show people our commitment to provide Ford customers the power of choice for leading fuel economy in the vehicle that best meets their needs – from EcoBoost-powered gasoline vehicles and hybrids to plug-in hybrids and full electrics.”
Ford’s EV policy might be called a “powertrain-agnostic” approach. The Fusion/Focus platform is available in EV, PHEV, hybrid or EcoBoost (ordinary gas-powered) versions. This strategy allows the company to save on development costs, and to quickly adapt to the fashion of the season. It also causes EV partisans to wonder whether Ford considers the Focus Electric more as a marketing tool than as a serious product, but time will tell.
“The Ford Focus Electric is a major statement of Ford's commitment to bring green innovation and performance together, demonstrating for NASCAR fans how conserving the environment, creating jobs and strengthening our country can be made to happen without compromise,” said Mike Lynch, director of Green Innovation for NASCAR. “With the largest sustainability program in sports, the NASCAR family is proud of Ford Motor Company's accomplishment with the Focus Electric pace car and what that means in terms of the tremendous impact of American innovation now and in the future.”
The Focus Electric, which has earned an EPA rating of 105 combined MPGe, will go on sale soon in California, New York and New Jersey, and will be available in 19 US markets by the end of the year.