Ford has announced the first US markets slated to receive the Ford Focus Electric, which debuts in late 2011.

The Focus Electric is Ford's first all electric passenger car, and the company is targeting up to 100 miles of zero CO2-emissions, gas-free driving on a full charge.

The first markets selected for Ford Focus Electric: Atlanta, Austin and Houston, Texas; Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Orlando, Fla., Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh Durham, N.C.; Richmond, Va., Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

"There is a great deal of excitement for the Focus Electric across America and Ford wants to build on this enthusiasm by making our first all electric passenger vehicle available in as many pilot markets as possible," said Mark Fields, President of the Americas, Ford Motor Company.

"This is the first step in rolling out the Focus Electric. As the country continues to build up its electric vehicle infrastructure and demand for the Focus Electric grows, Ford will continue to evaluate additional markets and consider making this vehicle available in more cities across the country."

Ford said that the Focus Electric initial markets were chosen based on several different criteria including existing hybrid purchase trends, utility company collaboration and local government commitment to electrification. As part of the collaboration with dealers, utilities and local governments, Ford will help develop 'consumer outreach and education programs' on electric vehicles as well as share information on charging needs and requirements to ensure the electrical grid can support customers' needs.

Last month, Ford launched a new educational Web site on electric vehicles (http://www.fordvehicles.com/technology/electric/). The site offers video, text and diagrams to help consumers understand differences in the technologies of electrified vehicles.

Focus Electric, available in late 2011, will be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. Production will occur on the same line as the gasoline version of the Focus. Using an existing vehicle platform and assembly line will give Ford the ability to vary production based on demand for the Focus Electric.

Instead of a traditional gas engine, the Focus Electric's motor will be powered by a 23 kwh lithium-ion battery. The system utilises liquid heating and cooling system to maximize battery life and driving range.

Ford says it has been working with local government agencies and utilities in several of the selected markets to help prepare for the adoption of electric vehicles.

"Making electric vehicles a viable option for consumers requires teamwork across a variety of industries and government entities," said Mike Tinskey, Global Manager of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure, Ford Motor Company. "Working with utilities, governments and technology companies is a key part of our electric strategy to make sure the infrastructure and support for electric vehicles is in place as we begin rolling them out."

As part of its electrification outreach, Ford has been conducting the "Charging Into the Future: The Ford Electric Vehicle Tour." The 14-city tour promotes Ford's electric vehicle strategy and educates consumers about what to expect from electrified automobiles and what is needed from the public and private sector to support the new technology.