David Perry is an Instructional Developer with Ford Motor Credit Company who earned the opportunity to travel to New York to be @Ford Online’s correspondent for Ford’s Green Week activities by submitting a report of the many things he does to support a “green” lifestyle. These activities included the very first test drives by media of the Focus Electric. Below is his report from New York City.
NEW YORK - The driver looks cautiously over his shoulder, eyeing the flow of yellow blurs rushing down the street like New York taxis – because they are taxis and this is New York.
He sees a break in the traffic, hammers the pedal, and pulls cleanly away from the shadowed curb into the morning light, joining the rushing stream of vehicles. But that's not a gas pedal he's stepping on - it's a pedal sending an electric charge from a battery pack to the high-voltage electric motor of the new Ford Focus Electric. And the driver isn't starting his morning commute - he's Andrew Del-Colle, assistant editor at Popular Mechanics, one of many journalists taking a test drive as part of the New York Focus Electric Media Drive, held last week in Manhattan.
Before taking test drives in three different sessions over two days, groups of journalists listened to presentations by Chief Electric Engineer Eric Kuehn on Ford's Power of Choice. Kuehn deftly fields questions about the Focus Electric's features and functions. Ford's Power of Choice message is clear: Consumers buying the new Ford Focus can choose between a gas-powered vehicle with a fuel-efficient EcoBoost engine or a plug-in high-voltage electric motor that runs completely on electrical energy. Both cars are built on the same line in the Michigan Assembly Plant. A third choice is the Fusion Hybrid, powered by gas and a battery.
Back on the test drive, Andrew chats with his passenger, a journalist from MSN. Their conversation about vacations and jazz festivals is interspersed with comments about the Focus Electric.
“It looks like a regular Focus.”
“I do like the interior.”
After a ten minute ride filled with quick accelerations and hard braking, Andrew pulls the Focus back to the curb where he started, along a line of journalists awaiting their turn at the wheel. “This car is really a lot of fun,” he says. “I was wondering what the electric would do to it. It seems pretty smooth.”
A man passing by on the sidewalk stops to ask what all the commotion is about. "These people are test-driving the new Ford Focus Electric" he is told.
"Electric?" he asks in amazement. "No gas?"
"Yes, all electric." A smile slowly breaks across his face, his eyes widening as he looks at the cars in disbelief. "Electric..." he murmurs to himself, nodding as he continues down the sidewalk.
A steady stream of vehicles on the street rolls past him, punctuated by the ubiquitous Escape Hybrid taxis, a vehicle New Yorkers now take for granted, but still on the drawing board just ten years ago. In ten more years, Ford electric vehicles could conceivably be just as common here.
Ford has once again envisioned the future; this man has just seen it. And he likes what he sees.
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Focus Electric on media test drive in the streets of New York.
Electric Focus ready for a test drive at the New York Focus Electric Media Drive.
Chief Electric Engineer Eric Kuehn speaks with journalists on Ford’s Power of Choice.
Focus Electric and charger on display at the New York Focus Electric Media Drive.
Fox News shoots video of the display at the New York Focus Electric Media Drive.
EV Infrastructure Manager Donna Bell shows journalists how to find charging stations with My Ford Touch.
Fox News shoots video at the New York Focus Electric Media Drive.
Journalists line up to test drive the Focus Electric at the New York Focus Electric Media Drive.