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Ford Enters Electric Car Price War, Drops EV by $4,000

Ford announced it will drop the price of the battery-powered 2014 Focus Electric—just weeks after company executives said the automaker would avoid the trend of lowering EV sticker prices. By dropping the price of the Focus Electric by $4,000, Ford joins an ongoing electric car price war in which $199 a month leases have become popular.

The 2014 Focus Electric hatchback will be sold for $35,995, including a $795 destination fee. That’s $4,000 cheaper than the previous model, and well within reach of the most popular electric car, the Nissan LEAF. Even with the price cut, however, the base model Focus Electric—which comes loaded with high-tech features—is about $400 more expensive than the highest priced LEAF.

Last month, Nancy Gioia, Ford’s director of global electrification, said that Ford had no plans to follow Nissan, Chevrolet, Honda, and other plug-in car manufacturers in reducing sticker prices. “We’re not going to chase down to the lowest price possible,” said Gioia. “That doesn’t make sense to erode the brand image or the true value of the product.” Yet, carmakers are under pressure to sell enough electric cars to meet California’s mandate for zero emissions vehicles. In June, Ford sold only 177 Focus Electrics nationwide.

Sales of the Nissan LEAF dramatically increased since the Japanese automaker dropped the base price on the car to $28,800 for the 2013 model year. The car is also eligible for federal and state tax credits worth as much as $10,000. In May, Honda reduced the monthly lease price of its Fit EV from $389 to $259 a month.

The Ford Focus Electric has an E.P.A.-approved range of 76 miles on a full charge. The 2014 Focus Electric offers room for five, and a driving experience and design features that are familiar to drivers of conventional gas-powered cars. Ford believes that plug-in hybrids—such as the Energi versions of the C-Max and Fusion—will remain more popular than the all-electric Focus. Plug-in hybrids offer many of the environmental and economic benefits of electric cars when driving locally, but also feature efficient gas-electric hybrid systems to greatly extend driving range.

Article by Brad Berman, appearing courtesy ebay Green Driving.