Ford Motors unveiled its first all-electric car, Focus, which is expected to get up to 160km on a single charge. While it is not the first electric vehicle to hit the U.S. consumer market, the company hopes the car's added communications and interactive features will make it not only a means of transport, but change the way people think about driving entirely.

Ford is more than just a car company, we're also a technology company, said Alan Mulally, Ford's chief executive officer (CEO), at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Friday.

The car will be available in North America late 2011.

Although the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan is just days away, Ford executives chose instead to announce the vehicle's public debut at one of the largest and most influential consumer electronics conventions in the world.

The new Focus just felt more at home at CES, said Derrick Kuzack, the company's chief technology officer and head of product development.

The Focus Electric is designed to offer enough range to cover the majority of daily driving habits of Americans and a mile-per-gallon equivalent better than Chevrolet Volt and competitive with other battery electric vehicles.

A full recharge is expected to take three to four hours at home with the 240-volt charge station, which is half the time required to charge Nissan Leaf.

Focus Electric introduces new features and technologies - including a unique version of the MyFord Touch driver connect system especially for electric vehicles, a new value charging feature powered by Microsoft and a smartphone app called MyFord Mobile that helps plug-in owners control their vehicles remotely.

Both Focus gasoline and electric variants to be sold in North America will be built at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., with production powered in part by one of the largest solar energy generator systems in the state.

Focus Electric is one of five new electrified vehicles included in the Ford electrification strategy. Initial deliveries of Transit Connect Electric began in North America at the end of last year and the vehicle will be launched in Europe later in 2011.

Focus Electric will be powered by an advanced lithium-ion battery system engineered by Ford in cooperation with supplier LG Chem. The battery system utilizes heated and cooled liquid to help maximize battery life and fuel-free driving range.

As an all-electric vehicle, Ford Focus will qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit. Taking the $7500 tax credit into account the net cost to the buyer will thus be $33,500.

According to a recent report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, plug-in electric vehicles, including plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles, have the potential to make up 9% of auto sales in 2020 and 22 percent in 2030 (1.6 million and 4 million vehicle sales respectively).