Ford said today its Focus Electric sedan has the highest EPA rating for fuel efficiency, nudging out the all-electric Nissan Leaf.
The Focus Electric was certified with an EPA rating of 105 miles per gallon equivalent for combined city and highway driving, according to Ford. On city alone, it's 110 MPGe and 99 for highway. MPGe converts the fuel economy of gasoline-powered cars for electric vehicles.
The range of the Focus Electric is 76 miles on a full charge and the fuel economy label will indicate that a driver can save $9,700 in fuel course over five years compared to an average new vehicle. Ford also noted that drivers can get up to 100 miles of range, a reminder of how much driving habits can affect the range of electric cars.
The EPA stats are better than the Nissan Leaf which is rated at 99 MPGe combined and a range of 73 miles.
In terms of price, the Focus Electric costs just under $40,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit. The Nissan Leaf's price starts at $35,200. The electric Chevy Volt, which has a gas engine to extend the range, costs just under $40,000 and the low-end version of Toyota's 2012 Plug-in Prius is $32,000.
Later this year, Ford intends to release the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, a mid-size sedan Ford expects to top 100 MPGe and the Fusion Hybrid sedan which Ford projects will get 47 MPG.
The introducing of the Focus Electric brings more competition to the electric car segment. At the same time, all electric cars which run on expensive batteries face competition from hybrids and more efficient gasoline powered vehicles.
In its first year, sales of GM's Chevy Volt fell short of the company's targets, having sold 7,671 in 2011 and 9,297 to date. Nissan, which is now making the Leaf available nation-wide, said in February that it sold 10,000 Leafs in North America.
Updated at 10:41 a.m. PT to correct release date of upcoming Fusion Energi and Fusion Hybrid.