By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Ford, one of the world’s largest automakers, has finally plugged in to the electric car craze. The company has just unveiled its first electric vehicle, the Ford Focus Electric. But will consumers get behind the wheel?

It’s called the Ford Focus Electric, and it is expected to hit showrooms in the next few months. According to Mike Tinskey of Ford, “It can go up to 100 miles on a single charge. This vehicle is very low cost to drive. You could be looking at less than a dollar to do up to one hundred miles. So, about one eighth the cost to drive a vehicle on electricity than on gasoline.”

Ford claims it will only take three hours to charge the battery completely, compared with the Nissan Leaf’s seven hours. Some of the biggest buzz could be generated by Ford’s partnership with Microsoft, which allows you to program the car to charge at times when electricity rates are at the lowest in your area. In addition, a mobile app lets the driver to communicate directly with the car.

It’s still unknown whether consumers will embrace a car that needs to be charged all the time. CNET Editor Brian Cooley says, “Electric cars are still very weird to most Americans. Then they go look at the price, and they’re rather expensive, because this technology is not cheap. You can go as green as you want, and you’ll only get about one percent of the buying market, and the rest will say, ‘Hmm, no. I’ll give it lip service, but I’m still going to buy what I like.’”

And what price will drivers pay for being green? The Ford Focus Electric will be in the $40,000 range. While Ford is a little slow to get into the electric car business, the company predicts that up to a quarter of its vehicle will be electrified by 2020.

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