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Google Buys First Ford Focus Electric

Google has taken delivery of the first Ford Focus Electric car, according to news reports.

The search giant received its Focus Electric just before Christmas, Engadget reports. The company began taking orders for the vehicle in November in its initial markets, California and the New York/New Jersey area. Expansion is expected this year in 15 more launch markets, covering Atlanta; Austin and Houston, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Denver; Detroit; Los Angeles; San Francisco; San Diego; New York; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.

Ford expects the vehicle to be the first five-passenger electric car to reach 100 miles per gallon equivalent. It also says the Focus charges from a 240-volt outlet in a little over three hours, or roughly half the time of a Chevy Volt. The company says drivers will get up to 30 miles per charge hour, and a top speed of 84 mph.

The car includes a feature developed with Microsoft that will help owners charge their vehicles at the cheapest utility rates, lowering the cost of ownership.

The Focus electric headlines what Ford calls a transformed vehicle lineup for 2012. One-third of the vehicles – including the Focus SE, Fiesta, Focus Electric, C-Max Hybrid, C-Max Energi and three vehicles yet to be announced – achieve 40 mpg or more. In a Ford survey of Americans in 36 cities, nearly 45 percent of respondents said fuel economy is their top consideration when buying a vehicle.

Ford began rolling out electric vehicles in December 2010 with the 2011 Transit Connect Electric, a small commercial van built together with Azure Dynamics. Last May Ford announced that its researchers were using Google’s Prediction API to identify technologies that could make future vehicles smart enough to independently change how they perform, to deliver better fuel efficiency and drivability.

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