Ford Focus Electric pictures and hands-on

The Ford Focus Electric was at IFA - Europe's largest consumer electronics show, in Berlin, Germany - and Pocket-lint had the chance to take a gander at the compay's first all-electric car. In particular it was the MyFord Touch experience, Sync and those Butterflies which you might have heard about, that caught our techy attention - and if you're thinking, "Eh, butterflies?" then read on to find out more.

The reason all this is important is that the Ford Electric is one of the first Ford's we've seen with the new MyFord Touch technology and a few other tricks besides.

Ford is bringing its smart in-car technology Sync - the voice-control system built in collaboration with Microsoft - to the UK next year in the electric Focus. The MyFord Touch element comes in the guise of an 8-inch touchscreen through which much of the car's functionally can be controlled.

Sync has been available in the US for a while now, and seems to have blessed cars with some of the intelligence found in the average smartphone. The system allows you to control specially designed apps on your iPhone, Android or BlackBerry device and through these add more features to the car, such as access to streaming internet radio.

As you might expect, there's access to traffic and navigation information and local details. You can also monitor the car's systems and generate reports on how the car is being driven, the state of the engine, along with information about tyre pressure and the like.

The system uses an internet connection to access certain features, and a handy byproduct of this is that you can also use the car as an internet hotspot.

Clever safety features will also call the emergency services automatically in the event of an accident. There's time to cancel the call if it's only a small collision and you don't need help, but if it's a bigger accident and you're unconscious or unable then the car will do the important work for you - including providing GPS co-ordinates. The service is available in an expanding number of languages and - because the car knows where it is - it will call the services in the relevant language.

Then there're those aforementioned Butterflies. This feature comes into the equation via a new user interface called Smartgauge that enables owners to monitor, manage and reduce energy consumption to help maximise vehicle range.

The idea is that Butterflies appear on screen to reward efficient driving. The better your drive the more Butterflies you'll see.

Smartgauge also calculates and displays range based on remaining energy; the driver’s unique vehicle use, across braking and acceleration inputs; and the use of accessories such as climate control and audio systems.

"The coaching systems on Focus Electric also help ensure Smartgauge adds to the fun factor of owning a Focus. Efficient driving is rewarded with animated butterflies, but if you’re in a hurry, the Butterflies fly elsewhere," says Ford.

And if you're wondering "why the Butterflies?" It's all inspired by the "Butterfly Effect" theory - that concept that small actions can drive significant change.

The Focus Electric will go on sale in 2013.



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