NASCAR Nation may be in for a shock when April 28 rolls around: That’s when the Ford Focus Electric will become the first all-electric vehicle to serve as a pace car in Sprint Cup competition, leading the Ford Fusion racer—and its rivals—around Richmond International Raceway for the start of the Richmond 400.
You can consider it a modern twist on the ol’ “race on Sunday, sell on Monday” strategy, which Ford says remains highly effective even today. Per the company, about 35 percent of all current new-car shoppers are motorsports fans; of those, some 78 percent follow NASCAR; then, looking at Ford race fans in particular, those folks are 67 percent more likely to consider Blue Oval products for their next ride than in-market vehicle-shoppers in general.
In addition, the Focus Electric’s track time is being viewed as a learning experience—for potential buyers.
“Ford research shows the majority of Americans would consider buying an electrified vehicle but do not yet understand the different technologies,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. “Highlighting the Focus Electric as a pace car is a fun way to educate consumers about the kinds of benefits our electrified vehicles deliver and show people our commitment to provide Ford customers the power of choice for leading fuel economy in the vehicle that best meets their needs—from EcoBoost-powered gasoline vehicles and hybrids to plug-in hybrids and full electrics.”
Notable among those aforementioned benefits: EPA ratings of 110 MPGe city/99 MPGe highway/105 MPGe combined. Those are advantages of 4 MPGe/7 MPGe/6 MPGe as compared to the smaller Nissan LEAF, and the Focus Electric achieves this kind of performance even though it’s notably bigger than the LEAF, too. In fact, the Blue Oval’s new green leader is now the most efficient five-seat car available in the U.S., while also being more powerful and quicker to recharge than the Nissan.
“The Ford Focus Electric is a major statement of Ford’s commitment to bring green innovation and performance together, demonstrating for NASCAR fans how conserving the environment, creating jobs and strengthening our country can be made to happen without compromise,” said Mike Lynch, managing director of Green Innovation for NASCAR. “With the largest sustainability program in sports, the NASCAR family is proud of Ford Motor Company’s accomplishment with the Focus Electric pace car and what that means in terms of the tremendous impact of American innovation now and in the future.”
The 2012 Ford Focus Electric is on sale now in New York, New Jersey and California, and it’s expected to be available in a total of 19 markets before the end of the year.