Ford says it is giving Facebook users the chance to take a virtual road trip in the all-new Focus Electric before the car is available in most markets.

Called “Plug N Play in Electric City with the 2012 Focus Electric,” the Facebook-based game gives the user and four of his or her friends the ability to take a short trip in a virtual version of the car using MapQuest mapping data to calculate how far different destinations are in proximity to charging stations along the way.

“This is a great way for consumers to both have fun and learn about the new Focus Electric at the same time,” said Chad D’Arcy, Focus Electric marketing manager. “We want to offer people the opportunity to experience the car now, especially those on Facebook who have supported us for so long.”

Ford says it is building on social media innovations such as the Fiesta Movement by taking the Focus Electric to consumers in a ‘very targeted, digitally focused manner with an educational foundation because the company’s research shows many Americans simply do not yet understand the technology’.

“Social networking allows Ford to meet customers it might not connect with through traditional advertising, making it easier to open a dialogue with a whole new audience,” said D’Arcy.

Ford announced earlier this week it is casting for “Plugged In,” Yahoo !’s first reality competition series pitting teams of two against each other in a competition for the chance to win a Focus Electric. The series highlights many of Focus Electric’s features as contestants rely on the vehicle to complete various challenges.

Ford’s Electrified Vehicles Facebook page – home to the Plug N Play in Electric City game – was developed and launched in late 2010 to help consumers understand the differences between electrified vehicle technologies so they can make informed decisions about alternative-fuel vehicles. Now with more than 38,000 subscribers, the page can be found at

“We worked diligently to provide an experiential application that offers both entertainment as well as education for our fans,” said Scott Monty, Ford global digital and multimedia communications manager. “It’s fun to share experiences through Facebook – and we hope to educate our customers on Focus Electric features along the way.”

Production of the Focus Electric began in December 2011 at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich.

Ford says it will ramp up Focus Electric retail production in the first half of 2012 for dealership availability in California, New York and New Jersey. By the end of 2012, Focus Electric will be available in 19 markets across the US.