Focus and Transit Connect to form the backbone of an all-electric fleet. [fimg=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/2008_European_Ford_Focus1.jpg[/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - June 24, 2009 An honest to goodness European Ford Focus (a far better variant than the choices we have here ) BEV fleet about to be launched. Brentwood, Essex, UK – Ford’s commitment to the development of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) is being reinforced with a small fleet of demonstration models offered to the UK for its Ultra-Low Carbon Vehicle fleet. With support from Scottish and Southern Energy, a fleet of zero emissions prototype Ford Focus BEVs will be used by both the energy company and a number of evaluation drivers based in Hillingdon, Middlesex. A consortium of Ford, Scottish and Southern Energy and Strathclyde University will provide the prototype vehicles and a charging infrastructure in and around Hillingdon from early 2010. Ford of Europe is specially developing the prototype Focus BEVs to participate in the program to test the technology's suitability for potential future application in Ford's European passenger car range. This new BEV demonstration fleet is being created partly with public funding from the UK Government's Technology Strategy Board (TSB), which promotes innovative industry-led projects that reduce CO2 while benefitting the country's transport system. "Battery electric vehicles represent an important step in Ford's pursuit of delivering more efficient and sustainable mobility solutions,” said Joe Greenwell, Ford of Britain chairman. “Ford is looking forward to working with its project partners on developing a viable market for electric vehicles both in the UK and Europe." "I am absolutely thrilled that Ford and Scottish and Southern Energy have won funding to deliver innovative electric vehicles onto the capital's streets,” said the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. "I want to make London the electric vehicle capital of Europe and these trials will provide us with valuable information on what is needed to ensure they can become an everyday choice." The Mayor is spearheading an ambitious plan to make London the BEV capital of Europe by pledging to deliver 25,000 charging points to form an integrated network across London by 2015; add 1,000 electric vehicles to the GLA fleet and guarantee to retain the congestion charge exemption. Ford of Europe's involvement with the fleet of electric Focus prototypes complements the development work already undertaken to showcase the Ford Tourneo Connect BEV Concept first revealed at this year's Geneva motor show. Project managed in the UK Ford of Europe's BEV projects are being led by its UK research and development centre at Dunton in Essex. Home to an engineering team of almost 3,000 vehicle specialists, Dunton Technical Centre is responsible for developing powertrains for all Ford vehicles in Europe, as well as every part of the company's commercial vehicle range. The full BEV powertrain showcased in the Tourneo Connect Concept was developed in collaboration with Smith Electric Vehicles, the UK's leading battery electric specialist converter of commercial vehicles. Smith Electric Vehicles is part of a separate consortium that also has secured TSB funding to further develop the Tourneo Connect BEV Concept. Smith Electric Vehicles already converts and offers the Ford Transit commercial vehicle to customers in the UK and Europe as the Smith Edison. Smith will also offer the Transit Connect van for sale in Europe as the Smith Ampere from 2010. For the Tourneo Connect BEV Concept, latest level battery electric technology was chosen. A 21kWh lithium ion phosphate battery pack accumulates the energy to drive a 50kW permanent magnet motor, while the drive torque is transmitted to the drive shafts by a single-speed transmission. This set-up offers a range of up to 100 miles and a top speed of 80 mph. Recharging is easy: the onboard battery charger can be plugged directly into a standard mains socket, and a full battery charge is accomplished in six to eight hours. Prototype fleet Further technical details of the UK zero-emission Ford Focus BEV evaluation fleet will be revealed later this year. The vehicles will use prototype technology announced by Ford at the 2009 North American Auto Show in January and under development for introduction in North America in 2011. "The development of this fleet is an ideal way to evaluate the potential for this technology in the UK and broader European markets," said Greenwell. "By gaining real world experience with a number of prototypes we can look at the practical and business potential for us to develop battery-electric cars for the European market."