The drumbeat for the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf has been inescapable. As the first two mainstream electric cars to hit the market, the Volt and Leaf are leading the way and creating awareness. As folks become accustomed to the reality of mainstream electric vehicles (EVs), the shortcomings challenges of electrification come to light.

Charge time is one of the sticky issues with electric cars. While overnight home charging has been the accepted norm (with 240V), folks in need of a faster charge haven’t had any alternatives in their own garages. With the debut of the 2012 Ford Focus Electric, the game has changed.

The new Focus Electric offers a home charging time of 3-4 hours while using the optional 240V Leviton home charging station — roughly half that of the Nissan Leaf. And unlike many other charging stations, the Leviton is simply plugged into a high-voltage outlet, rather than hard-wired.

Microsoft technology allows the Focus Electric to charge at the lowest utility rates. Park the car in the garage, plug it in, and it will automatically charge at the optimal time of day.

You not have heard about the Focus Electric, yet. Ford’s marketing efforts have been quite low-key leading up to the car’s debut last week. Get ready for the amplification of the automotive electrification message…

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