Given a longer straight, the Ford would beat the Leaf to 62mph by half a second, at 11 seconds dead. It does so via brute force, however, employing a 107kW electric motor versus the Nissan’s 80kW unit. The gap would be bigger if the Focus hadn’t scoffed so many pies, carrying around an extra 160kg or so over the Leaf’s kerb weight.
The Focus Electric is as quiet and refined as you’d expect of an EV, and it handles rather better than most. There’s plenty of grip, neatly curtailed roll in corners, and a very pleasant suppleness over lumps and bumps. The steering, electrically assisted of course, has a nicely judged weight to it and is much more informative than the Nissan equivalent.
Braking feels reassuringly firm and entirely normal. With feet off both pedals, the Focus Electric does a fine job of mimicking engine braking. As far as I could tell there’s no way to call up a lower or higher level of energy recuperation, as there is in many other electric cars. From a standstill, the Focus EV mimics a fossil-fuelled car with an automatic gearbox, gently creeping forward unless held in check on the brake.