Mike Stevens | Apr 27, 2012

Ford's electricifed Focus hatch has been promoted to pace-car status, leading the pack at this week's NASCAR Capital City 400 race in the United States.

For now, the Focus Electric is available only in North America, with the absence of a right-hand-drive model ruling out an Australian debut.

Speaking at the launch of the EcoBoost Falcon range this week however, Ford Australia boss Bob Graziano confirmed that hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric models will begin appearing from 2015.

"We have an electrification strategy within Ford," Mr Graziano said. "We want fuel efficiency as a reason to buy Ford vehicles."

As the headline act in Ford's electric-vehicle program, the Focus Electric is powered by an electric motor that produces 91kW and 245Nm of torque - 43Nm more torque than the current Focus 2.0 litre petrol engine.

Ford promises a driving range of around 160km from a single charge - equal to the all-electric Nissan Leaf, which goes on sale in Autralia this year.

Ford's hybrid and plug-in hybrid program was recently boosted with the European debut of two new C-Max people-mover variants, in the form of the C-Max Hybrid and the C-Max Energi.

ford c max hybrid and energi 03

Both cars utilise an Atkinson-cycle 2.0 litre petrol engine, mated to an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack - technology usually reserved for pure electric vehicles.

The hybrid system allows the two powertrains to operate separately - meaning the electric motor can drive the car on its own - or in the more regular parallel mode.

The petrol engine also can operate independently of vehicle speed, charging the batteries or providing power to the wheels as needed. On its own, the electric motor can drive the vehicle at low speeds, while working with the engine at higher speeds.

Whether these C-Max cars will come to Australia remains unclear - Ford spokesperson Sinead Phipps told TMR recently that, for now, it is unlikely - but it is likely that their hybrid and plug-in hybrid systems will soon migrate to other Ford models.

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