DEARBORN — The first Ford dealers have been officially certified to sell the company’s first all-electric car,  the 2012 Ford Focus Electric.

The Focus Electric is America’s most fuel-efficient five-seater with an EPA rating of 110 MPGe city that is capable of being recharged in nearly half the time as Nissan Leaf.

The 67 dealers are in California, New York and New Jersey — markets that account for a large percentage of electrified vehicle sales and will begin seeing the Focus Electric later this spring. By the end of the year, Focus Electric will be available nationwide.

Certification means the dealerships have met the automaker’s guidelines for dealers selling electric vehicles — including installation of at least two onsite charging stations and participation in highly specialized training in the field of electric vehicles.

“The amount of hard work and resources dealers put into becoming certified really is a testament to how excited they are, how excited customers are and how excited we are about electric vehicles, starting with Focus Electric,” said David Gutman, Ford’s field operations manager.

With more motor power, standard features, passenger room and faster charging time than Nissan Leaf, dealers have been eager to start selling Focus Electric.

First, however, they had to satisfy a list of other requirements to become certified, including:

* One of the two required charging stations at the dealership must be in the customer area and the other must be in the service area
* At least one Focus Electric must be available at all times for demonstrations and events
* Of the sales consultant, sales manager, service advisor and service manager jobs at each location, 80 percent must meet specific electric vehicle training certification requirements that cover topics including advanced knowledge of electrification
* Each showroom will have point-of-purchase display materials including digital assets and window signage
* Participation in a Ford Go Green Dealer Onsite Facility Assessment to identify energy and cost saving opportunities with a goal of facilitating energy efficiency, lower operating expenses and carbon footprint reduction

The Focus soon will be joined by the new 2013 Ford Fusion — aiming to be America’s most fuel-efficient gas- and hybrid-powered midsize sedans — to help create one of the industry’s most fuel-efficient car lineups. The Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid is projected to become America’s most fuel-efficient midsize sedan by achieving more than 100 MPGe in electric mode.

“Ford is giving customers the power of choice for leading fuel economy regardless of what type of vehicle or powertrain technology they choose,” said Eric Kuehn, chief nameplate engineer, Focus Electric. “The Focus and Fusion are great examples of how we transformed our fleet of cars, utilities and trucks with leading fuel efficiency.”

Focus Electric has been certified by the EPA to offer 110 MPGe in the city and 105 MPGe combined, beating Nissan Leaf by 6 MPGe.

Focus Electric also offers a faster charging system that allows for a full recharge in nearly half the time of Nissan Leaf thanks to a larger on-board charger. A unique value charging feature powered by Microsoft is designed to help owners charge their vehicles at the cheapest utility rates, which makes charging Focus Electric less costly than charging Nissan Leaf.

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

After first being available in California, New York and New Jersey, Focus Electric will be available in 19 markets across the U.S. by summer’s end, nationwide by the end of the year.

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