The first 2012 Ford Focus Electric hatchbacks started trickling into dealerships a couple months ago and the other day, Consumer Reports was finally able to pick up one for its very own. The logistics of that purchase, though, caused the first complaint.
The publication, which buys rather than borrows its long-term test vehicles, hasn't gone out of its way to be kind to "green" vehicles recently. Its coverage of the Honda Civic Hybrid, Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Toyota Prius C and Mitsubishi i all seem to accentuate the negative. (Okay, we understand its frustration with the Fisker Karma that needed to be towed back to the dealer after a couple days, but still.)
That trend seems to continue with CR's latest electrified Focus piece titled, "Our new Ford Focus Electric exposes a challenge in buying an EV." With the EV thus far only available in California, New Jersey, and New York, CR had to make a 100-mile trip to fetch its car. Of course, the car only has an EPA-rated range of 76 miles – the one it purchased showed just 64 available miles when the journey back to Connecticut began – so arrangements were made to aid the return trip in the form of a tow vehicle stationed at the halfway point.
Now, far be it from us to criticize that particular auto-delivery methodology, but would it not have made more sense to have it transported straight to the testing facilities? Or, if the driver wanted to road trip outside the Ford's range, to go whole hog and try the charge-along-the-way experience. The latter would have made for a more interesting story, no doubt.
Despite the whole range situation, the driver did seem to enjoy driving the Focus Electric. Whilst tootling up I-95 at a leisurely 60-miles-per-hour pace – being careful not to to overtax the brand new all-electric's abilities – the driver did, reportedly, stab at the right pedal a bit and found the response more rewarding than that found in its gas-powered variants. We'll see if, when the car begins its formal testing regimen, CR's drivers find reasons to write some positive headlines.