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Hybrid but no full EV for Ford Focus

Mild rider: Ford’s new Focus will get a mild hybrid variant about 2020, but full electric powertrains are being reserved for a new model line now under development.

New Focus to go mild hybrid in 2020 as Ford keeps EV for secret new model line

Ford logo25 Jul 2018

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in FRANCE

FORD has revealed that it has no plans to release a full battery electric vehicle (BEV) version of the new Focus small car, electing instead to concentrate on a mild hybrid system for 2020 launch.
 
The company is reserving full electric powertrains for a separate, still-secret EV architecture that is now under development for launch early next decade.
 
Speaking to Australian journalists at the launch of the all-new fourth-generation Focus in France last week, Ford powertrain manager Thomas Wagner revealed that the decision was based on delivering the best possible outcomes with minimum compromises.
 
“We start with a 48-volt system and advance from there,” he said, but would not elaborate on any other details at this point. “A hybrid is high up on our agenda. The company has invested quite significantly in electrification, and we are rolling out electrification in the most profitable and top-end of the range globally throughout all the regions.
 
“What that means specifically is that we are going to have a hybrid in the 2020 timeframe, but relative to the (C2 platform that underpins Focus) obviously we are working on some further announcements to come later on.”
 
The 2020 Focus mild hybrid will mate the European-market 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with a 48V battery to provide an “extra burst of power” to help save fuel and cut emissions.
 
The system reportedly consists of a starter-generator connected to a lithium-ion battery and engine via a belt.
 
Mr Wagner said that experience with the previous-generation Focus Electric launched in 2012 (but never sold in Australia) showed that there were too many compromises turning a platform designed with an internal combustion engine into a dedicated BEV, so this time Ford had decided to split the two.  
 
“Making the platform fully hybrid-compatible as in the past, to avoid compromise, we have decided to go for a fully dedicated BEV platform,” he said. “We deliberately divided the platform.
 
“We started with considering a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, but that was not the right approach, because of too many compromises, so there will be a dedicated BEV platform instead.”
 
The outgoing Focus Electric variant was unveiled globally in early 2011, and was initially promoted as having a range of about 120km and requiring “three to four hours” for full recharging of its LG Chem-developed 28kWh lithium-ion battery pack via an optional 240-volt home charging station.
 
A 2017 update to a 33.5 kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack extended that range to about 185km. 
 
Among other limitations were price and packaging constraints, with less room than in the regular Focus version. Weighing in at 1700kg, it was also heavy for its size, blunting both performance and efficiency.

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