LAS VEGAS - Saying that Ford Motor Company is "fully charged," Alan Mulally, the automaker's chief executive, unveiled a fully electric version of its 2012 Ford Focus compact car during a keynote address Friday at the Consumer Electronics Show here.
Nearly simultaneously in New York City, the company's chairman, William Clay Ford Jr., was making a similar announcement.
"Our vision is unique and compelling, and we offer powerful choices," Mr. Mulally said in a brief interview after his remarks. "This vehicle will be in production by the fourth quarter of this year, and it will be followed in 2012 by the introduction of a plug-in hybrid vehicle. This will be in addition to a wide array of choices in the Focus lineup of fuel-saving vehicles."
Mr. Mulally said the electrification of Ford's model range would spread rapidly to "a wide range of our platforms and vehicles in our global lineup."
In New York, Mr. Ford expanded on Mr. Mulally's points, saying that the Focus would be offered four ways, including the battery-electric version. There will also be a conventional gasoline car, a plug-in hybrid and a conventional hybrid. "The customer will decide" how many of each is produced, Mr. Ford said, noting that the cars' assembly line in Wayne, Mich., had been designed to easily adapt to market demand.
The electric Focus is to be officially introduced on Monday at the Detroit auto show, along with other versions of the Focus. Asked whether the announcement at the electronics trade show had "stolen the thunder" of the auto-show reveal, Mr. Mulally said, "No, we have plenty of additional information to provide in Detroit."
This was Mr. Mulally's third successive keynote address at C.E.S., the annual technofest held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and it was also his most ambitious, as he strove to demonstrate how the realms of consumer electronics and automobiles are converging. It was a theme expounded on a day earlier when Rupert Stadler, the chairman of Audi, also delivered a keynote address.
The Ford announcement was much more comprehensive, devoting an entire hour to demonstrations of various systems that power the Focus E.V. and make it economical. One of the more innovative features would seem to be an optional 6.6-kilowatt, 240-volt charging unit that can replenish the Focus battery in as little as three hours, Ford said - pointedly noting that the charge time is less than half that of electric car rivals like the new Nissan Leaf.
Ford did not disclose the size of the battery packs, which would be a significant factor in both the charging time and the driving range.
The Focus E.V. is said to have a range "comparable to competitors," which, benchmarked against the Leaf, could be interpreted as about 100 miles. In New York, Bill Ford said the range would be "better than" the Chevrolet Volt, which is designed to go 40 miles on battery power before the gasoline engine kicks in.
Ford said the car's top speed would be 84 miles per hour, also noting that the car would be equipped with range-extending telematics systems that will "not only be a driver's coach, but also his co-pilot" in achieving optimal mileage. Taking a cue from the Ford Fusion Hybrid's so-called SmartGauge system - which rewards a judicious foot on the throttle with sprouting green leaves - the Focus Electric's instrument screen would depict blue butterflies gradually disappearing as the car's battery is depleted.
A price has not been set, but Mr. Mulally said it would be "very competitive" with other electric cars. The Leaf's sticker price is about $33,000, before federal incentives.
The Focus E.V. is among five new "electrified vehicles," as Ford calls them, scheduled to go on sale by 2013 in North America and Europe.
A high level of technological connectivity distinguishes these Ford E.V.'s, including a specialized version of the MyFord Touch driver interface system and a new smartphone app, MyFord Mobile, that owners can use to charge their vehicles remotely. This feature would be used to plan multiple-stop journeys within the car's range and to locate charging stations.
The Focus Electric's basic charger, a 120-volt unit, will come with a clever mounting system. The charger can be detached from its mount and moved to additional locations - the driver's workplace, for instance - where similar mounts have been installed. Best Buy and Geek Squad will have exclusive setup rights for the optional 240-volt charging units; at the convention center, a demonstration of the installation of the unit took mere minutes.