Ford has announced that the new 2012 Ford Focus Electric is set to become the first all-electric pace car ever to lead the field for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the Richmond 400. The Focus Electric pace car will be officially unveiled to the public at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond on April 25. It will then perform all pace car duties at Richmond International Raceway on April 28.

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“Ford research shows the majority of Americans would consider buying an electrified vehicle but do not yet understand the different technologies,” said Mark Fields, president of The Americas. “Highlighting the Focus Electric as a pace car is a fun way to educate consumers about the kinds of benefits our electrified vehicles deliver…”

In addition to making history by having the Focus Electric be the first all-electric pace car at a NASAR event, Ford also was the first automaker to use a hybrid at a NASCAR event when the Fusion Hybrid served as pace car for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2008.

The Focus Electric is America’s most fuel-efficient five-passenger car with the a rating of 110 miles per gallon (MPGe) city and 99 MPGe highway. According to the EPA, the Focus Electric can travel up to 76 miles on a single charge. Pricing starts at $39,200 before any available tax credits. Production of the 2012 Ford Focus Electric kicked off in December and California, New York and New Jersey will be among the first markets to receive the all-electric Focus. By the end of the year the Focus Electric will be available in 19 U.S. markets.

+ Ford