Volunteers required to trial electric Ford Focus

After the request for volunteers to trial the electric Mini, now it’s the turn of Ford, as the company seeks drivers to live with the Focus BEV.

However, similar small print applies – only drivers in a very specific geographical area are eligible – and this time it’s the London Borough of Hillingdon.

The Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) prototypes based on the Ford Focus have been specially developed for the UK Government’s “Ultra-Low Carbon Vehicles” demonstration next year.

Up to 20 households from the borough will run the Ford Focus BEVs for a three-month period. They will take part in research testing the technology’s suitability for potential future application in Ford’s European passenger car range.

Hillingdon Council will ask residents to apply to participate, accessing a charging infrastructure to be installed in and around the borough from early 2010.  Properties will be provided with domestic charging points.

The five vehicles will come from a fleet of Ford Focus BEV prototypes being produced for a consortium that includes Ford, Scottish and Southern Energy and Strathclyde University, as well as the London borough.

This new BEV demonstration fleet is being developed 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.

The Ford Focus BEV prototype is based on the current European Ford Focus and will use a new all-electric powertrain from supplier Magna – a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery pack with the capacity of 23kWh and a chassis-mounted 100kW permanent-magnet electric traction motor. It will have a range of up to 75 miles and a top speed of up to 85mph. Charging the batteries will take between six and eight hours using a household 230 volt electricity supply.