Ford Focus Electric Permanently Plugs In at Petersen Automotive Museum

Ford is donating to Petersen Automotive Museum one of the two Focus Electric prototypes used on ‘The Jay Leno Show’ during a celebrity driving segment called Green Car Challenge. Used throughout the 2010 season, the Electric Orange battery electric prototype was outfitted with Recaro racing seats, a full roll cage and a five-point racing harness for use on a racetrack designed specifically for the show.

The all-new Focus Electric – Ford’s first-ever all-electric passenger car – is a zero-emissions, gasoline-free vehicle that will be available in North America and Europe. You might remember seeing the bright orange Ford Focus Electric prototype running around a track and being driven by your favorite celebrities during the Green Car Challenge on ‘The Jay Leno Show’ last year. Now, you will be able to see the same vehicle permanently plugged in at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

Today, Ford officially handed the museum the keys to one of two Focus Electric prototypes used during the show’s Green Car Challenge segment.

‘This donation signifies Ford’s transition from a prototype version of Focus Electric to the real production vehicle,’ said Matt VanDyke, Ford director of U.S. Marketing and Communications. ‘We still believe the Focus Electric prototype can continue to create awareness and excitement for electric vehicles like it did during the Green Car Challenge. The Petersen Automotive Museum is the perfect place for the car to do that.’

Based on the European five-door production Focus ST, the racing prototype was specifically designed for ‘The Jay Leno Show’ and used throughout the 2010 season. Tuned to perform on a racetrack, the Focus Electric was outfitted with Recaro racing seats, a full roll cage, five-point racing harness and an eye-catching Electric Orange paint scheme.

Actress Drew Barrymore was the first celebrity guest to accept the show’s racing challenge. Other participants included Steve Carell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sheryl Crow, Serena Williams, Rush Limbaugh and more. Dr. Phil McGraw ended up having the fastest lap of all the celebrities to drive the vehicle.

The Focus Electric will now be the featured vehicle in the museum’s permanent Alternative Power exhibit. The display highlights vehicles that feature engineering solutions outside of the standard gasoline-fueled internal combustion engine. Some of the other alternative-fuel vehicles in the exhibit include an electric car built in 1897, a wood-burning truck and the 1974 Dutcher – a steam-powered car on loan to the Petersen from Jay Leno.

‘We are excited to add the Ford Focus Electric to our collection,’ said Buddy Pepp, Petersen Automotive Museum executive director. ‘It is a historically significant car on many levels. Not only is this prototype Ford Motor Company’s first all-electric passenger car, but it also has a local Hollywood connection. Vehicles like this reflect our mission to explore and present the history of the automobile and its impact on American life and culture using Los Angeles as the prime example.’

Focus Electric

Ford used the Focus Electric prototype built for the Green Car Challenge to test and further develop many of the same systems that will be incorporated in the all-new Focus Electric. The vehicle also helped educate consumers about the capabilities and technology behind electric-powered automobiles.

‘The Green Car Challenge was a win-win for everyone involved. Jay Leno and his guests got to participate in a fun and entertaining segment and consumers learned more about electric vehicles and the positive impact they can have on the environment,’ said VanDyke.

Focus Electric – the company’s first-ever all-electric passenger car – is a zero-emissions, gasoline-free version of the popular small car from Ford. The vehicle is designed to offer enough range to cover the majority of daily driving habits of Americans. A full recharge is expected to take three to four hours at home with the available 240-volt charge station.

Electrification is an important piece of Ford’s overall product sustainability strategy. Ford’s aggressive strategy includes the launch of five new electrified vehicles in North America by 2012 and Europe by 2013. In addition to Focus Electric, Ford launched the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van in 2010 and will introduce C-MAX Hybrid, a second next-generation lithium-ion battery hybrid and the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid in 2012. The range of electrified vehicles allows Ford to meet a variety of consumer driving needs.

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 163,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln.