Californians Get $10,000 To Buy a Ford Focus Electric, Drive It In The Carpool Lane

By Blake Z. Rong | March 12, 2012
Coming quick on the heels of the Chevrolet Volt's acceptance into the vaunted HOV Access Club, the Ford Focus Electric now qualifies for carpool lane duty on California's perpetually gridlocked freeways. Perhaps it's not a surprise, after all, that the Ford Focus Electric also matches the same criteria as the Nissan Leaf: criteria that was so contentious for the aforementioned Volt. The Volt, after all, still uses some gasoline, and after California nixed the HOV privileges for hybrid vehicles it wasn't clear whether the Volt was enough of a gas-sipping hybrid or a zero-emissions EV. With the Ford Focus Electric, however, there's no confusion. The Focus Electric is slated to reach a range of 76 miles per charge—which, Ford points out, is 3 miles more than a Leaf, or just enough to limp to Pink's. Ford also touts the Focus Electric's 110-MPG equivalent (whatever that means, right?) and the increased room and flexibility over the Leaf as selling points—but none are as dramatic as the $10,000 state and federal tax credit that Californians can get. That's $7,500 from the federal government and $2,500 from Jerry Brown's checkbook.
Marketing, however, is key; on paper, one would think this car sells itself, but witness Nissan's media bonanza with the Leaf compared to GM's fumbling of the Volt campaign. Heck, there are still people out there that think they'll become Pinto-ized in a Volt. Dealers are taking deliveries for the Ford Focus Electric in the first quarter of this year. If Ford gets the word out, then soon enough us SoCal types will see a lot more traffic parity in the normally fast-swimming carpool lane. Source: Ford