Ford has showed off a prototype of what is being called called the Model T of the company’s electric car strategy – the battery-powered Focus sedan.

To keep costs down, the Focus will be built on the company’s global “C” platform, which is used in two million cars a year.

“This is about affordable transportation for the masses – this is not about a small niche,” said Nancy Gioia, Ford’s director of global electrification. “The assembly line in Michigan will produce the battery-electric Focus and also, with minor modifications, the gas Focus, We can change production as the market shifts.”

The production electric Focus, due in 2011, will be powered by lithium ion battery packs and will be based on the European version of the car. It will have a range of about 160 kilometres and a top speed of around 145 kilometres an hour.

Ford Focus EV

Ford Focus EV

Ford executives focused on their strategy to work with utilities and other groups to create open standards for electric cars and ensure that a charging infrastructure is in place when the cars reach the showrooms. They pointed out that, although there were only a couple of power utilities in China (compared with some 3,000 in the United States), each Chinese city is developing a different electric car charging infrastructure.