By any measure, the release of Ford’s 2012 Focus Electric is a big deal. It’s the company’s first all-electric car, and Ford says it can be recharged in nearly half the time it takes to juice up the Nissan Leaf. As Ford gears up for the release sate, it will also make some serious environmental upgrades to dealerships that sell the new EV. The company announced this morning that any dealership that is authorized to sell the 2012 Ford Focus Electric must first must install EV charging stations and participate in a facility assessment aimed at reducing energy use.

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So far, 67 Ford dealerships have been certified to sell the 2012 Ford Focus Electric, and all of them are located in New York, New Jersey and California — states where the car will be sold later this spring (a nationwide release will follow later in the year). To be certified to sell the electric car, dealerships must meet Ford’s guidelines, which call for installing at least two EV charging stations and giving staff specialized electric vehicle training.

The part of the certification process that we’re most intrigued by, though, is the condition that dealers must participate in the Ford Go Green Dealer Onsite Facility Assessment, which seeks to identify energy-saving opportunities at Ford dealerships. Launched in 2010, Go Green has been a voluntary program up to this point, but now Ford will require dealers to participate in order to be certified to sell the 2012 Focus Electric. The program looks for ways to improve energy-efficiency and cost-saving measures at existing dealerships, regardless of the age and design of the facility.

With an EPA rating of 110 MPGe, the 2012 Ford Focus Electric is America’s most fuel-efficient 5-seater. According to the EPA, the car has a range of 76 miles on a single charge, but depending on driving habits it can be driven up to 100 miles per charge. The car will debut at $39,200 before the $7,500 federal tax credit.

+ Ford