With battery-car sales lagging expectations, automakers have been slashing prices in a bid to spur demand. The latest to announce a big discount is Ford, which will trim the manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP) on its Focus Electric model by $6,000.
That's on top of the $4,000 discount the Detroit maker took on the compact battery-electric vehicle just a year ago. Originally introduced in January 2011 at $39,995, buyers now can plug in a Ford Focus Electric for just $29,995 — plus delivery charges and the usual fees and taxes. And Ford is by no means alone in this price war.
With rare exception, automakers have been cutting prices of both plug-in and pure battery-electric vehicle (BEV) models in a bid to boost sluggish sales. And with gas prices now near or below $3 a gallon in much of the U.S., industry analysts suggest it will be even more difficult to persuade buyers to opt for vehicles that plug in rather than tank up.
The Focus Electric is nearly identical to the conventional Ford compact model—except for an electric drivetrain and various gauges and displays that allow motorists to monitor energy consumption. Among other things, BEV owners need to keep close tabs on their range, to make sure they can either get back home, or find an available place to charge up.