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The Focus Electric will be available from July (Photo: Ford)

Ford has started production of the Ford Focus Electric, the first full electric vehicle the carmaker is building in Europe.

Ford said the Focus Electric is built in Saarlouis, Germany. It will be followed in the near term by two hybrid models, the C Max Energi plug-in and the Ford Mondeo Hybrid. The first electric Focus models will go on sale next month.

"Focus Electric marks the dawn of an exciting new age of full-electric Ford passenger vehicles in Europe," said Barb Samardzich, vice president product development at Ford of Europe.

The Focus Electric is a new model that will be rolled out worldwide by Ford as part of the carmaker's One Ford strategy. The car features an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack that produce 145 bhp and will give the Focus a top speed of 84 miles an hour. Fully charged, the car has a driving range of about 160 km.

The model has a new user interface - SmartGauge - that shows driving range based on the energy left in the car's battery. SmartGauge also takes into account driving habits and the use of climate control, infotainment and other systems that affect energy consumption.

The Focus Electric recaptures up to 95 pc of the kinetic energy normally lost during the braking process. A system that encourages gradual braking helps return even more energy to the car's battery.