The Nissan Leaf and GM's Chevrolet Volt are proving to be strong performers in the US market's fledgling electric and plug-in hybrid segment, but Ford will soon bring its own contender: the Focus Electric.
Coming as Ford's first all-electric passenger vehicle, the Focus Electric is based on the all-new 2012 Focus hatch. No petrol nor diesel engine in sight, power is provided solely by a 91kW and 245Nm electric motor.
As the Focus Electric's pre-production testing draws to an end, Ford has one more important item on the agenda: sound.
The disquieting 'quiet' of electric vehicles has long been a source of concern for carmakers and pedestrian groups alike, and many companies have begun to experiment with making the approach of a quiet vehicle much more obvious.
For the electrified Focus, Ford is calling on the general public to vote on four sound patterns - some futuristic, some emulative of a regular combustion engine - currently under consideration for integration into the production car.
You can check out the sounds, and have your say, by visiting Ford's EV Facebook page: facebook.com/FordElectricVehicles
The Focus Electric's production debut is slated for sometime in 2012 or 2013, so an Australian debut remains unclear.
Speaking with TMR today, Ford Australia's Neil McDonald confirmed that Ford's Australian arm is monitoring the rollout of electric vehicles in our market.
"Ford Australia understands there's a lot of interest and customer demand for greener technologies - as evidenced by our commitment to EcoLPi in Falcon, EcoBoost in the Mondeo, and the upcoming EcoBoost engine for Falcon."
"[The Focus Electric is] clearly on our radar but there are still technology questions like the various support systems that would be need to be in place - like recharging stations," Mr McDonald said.
As for the regular 2012 Focus, expect that in Ford Australia showrooms from August.