2012 Ford Focus Electric vs. Its Competition

2012 Ford Focus Electric, New York City, April 2012
John Voelcker John Voelcker Senior Editor

The 2012 Ford Focus Electric is the first battery-electric car from a Detroit maker since GM's ill-fated EV1 a decade ago.

Its main competition is the Nissan Leaf, a purpose-built five-door compact hatchback that is Nissan's high-stakes gamble on dominating the global market for fully electric cars.

Unlike the Leaf, the Focus Electric looks just like its regular gasoline counterpart, so no one will know you're driving electric--which may appeal to some buyers.

It also gets marginally better EPA efficiency ratings than this year's Leaf, although Leaf upgrades expected for 2013 could change the equation.

Two other battery competitors are the Mitusbishi i minicar, which is far smaller, and the Coda Sedan, from a startup maker and also conventionally styled.

Both of those are available only in certain states, though that applies to the electric Focus too.

Two other competitors, the Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, pair their battery power with gasoline engines, though the Volt is powered only by electricity, with the engine powering a generator after its 25 to 40 miles of electric range is depleted, while the plug-in Prius adds more electric range to a conventional gas-electric hybrid.

For 2012, the electric Focus will be only be offered in very limited markets--whereas the Leaf and Volt are now available nationally.

2012 Ford Focus Electric, New York City, April 20122012 Ford Focus Electric
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2012 Mitsubishi i2012 Mitsubishi i
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2012 Nissan Leaf, Electric Avenue, 2010 Detroit Auto Show2012 Nissan Leaf
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2012 Toyota Prius Plug In 5dr HB (SE) Angular Front Exterior View2012 Toyota Prius Plug In
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2012 Coda Sedan2012 Coda Sedan
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Quick Specs
The 2012 Ford Focus Electric is fun to drive, matches the Nissan Leaf for range and efficiency, and looks just like a "regular" car, which may appeal to some buyers. It's available only in very limited markets, however, and its $40,000 price will likely turn off some potential customers.
Want a practical electric car for commuting, or as a second car? The 2012 Mitsubishi i is the simply the most affordable and efficient pick.
The 2012 Nissan Leaf is, quite simply, the first battery electric vehicle built in volume by any major carmaker; if you can get comfortable with its range of 70 to 100 miles, it's the greenest car you can buy.
The 2012 Coda Sedan is an unknown quantity, and a no-nonsense electric-propelled four-door compromised by odd design decisions and low build quality.
MSRP From    
Gas Mileage    
51 MPG City / 49 MPG Hwy
ElectricN/AElectricGas/Electric I4N/A
EPA Class    
Style Name    
5-Door HBN/A4-Door HB SV5-Door HB (GS)N/A
Front Wheel DriveN/AFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveN/A
Passenger Capacity    
Passenger Doors    
Body Style    
HatchbackN/A4 Door Hatchback5 Door LiftbackN/A
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Ford Focus Electric vs. 2012 Mitsubishi i2012 Ford Focus Electric vs. 2012 Nissan Leaf2012 Ford Focus Electric vs. 2012 Toyota Prius Plug In2012 Ford Focus Electric vs. 2012 Coda Sedan