Ford’s Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid electric car has obtained an EPA rating of 108 MPGe in city driving, making it “America’s most fuel-efficient midsize sedan,” according to a Ford press release. Ford said the model will be able to deliver up to 92 MPGe when driven on the highway.
The EPA rating comes just days after we told you about Ford’s being sued over alleged overstating of fuel economy ratings on its C-Max and Fusion Hybrid models. Consumer Reports is among those complaining that they can’t squeeze anywhere near the models’ EPA rated 47 mpg combined out of either model. To that end, it will be interesting to see just how close the Fusion Energi comes to achieving its 108 MPGe in the real world when tested.
MPGe, short for Miles Per Gallon equivalent, is the EPA’s way of allowing consumers to compare vehicles with different drive systems— hybrids, electrics, propane, and compressed natural gas, for example– in a familiar, consistent way. The rating is intended to measure how far the car travels on the equivalent of the energy content of one gallon of gasoline. The EPA considers 33.7 kWh of electricity to be equivalent to one gallon of gasoline in terms of energy content.
In its press release, Ford said it expects when the numbers for the last quarter of 2012 are tallied, the Motor Company will have sold 19,000 hybrids and electric vehicles. One might expect the bulk of those sales to come from the C-Max Hybrid Ford said was the fastest-selling hybrid model upon its introduction, which took place during the quarter.
The Fusion Energi comes loaded with Ford’s top tech bits and bobs, including SYNC with MyFordTouch for your connectivity and infotainment needs. On the telematics front, the Fusion Energi’s SmartGauge with EcoGuide can present customizable displays, including fuel economy read-outs and coaching functions to help the driver eek out every last MPGe. Meanwhile, Ford says a feature called EV+ uses the car’s navigation system to learn frequent destinations and routes in an effort to give drivers more electric-only driving time.
Other tech features include the MyFord Mobile app that allows owners to keep an eye on key information, such as the car’s state of battery charge, current expected driving range, and charging station locations via smartphone or web-based interface. An Eco Cruise feature works the same as cruise control, but relaxes the acceleration rate in an effort to improve efficiency, and an EV Mode button mounted in the console allows the driver to select between propelling the car solely on battery power, in a conventional battery + engine hybrid arrangement, or in a special “conserve” mode intended to save battery power for later– for instance, when you know you’re likely to hit heavy city traffic on your commute that will see the freeway turn into a parking lot.
All in all, the Fusion Energi sounds like a tech-rich car that could save owners a lot of cash at the pump. However, given the recent track record of electrified Fords failing to live up to the MPG hype, we’d like to get our hands on one and see just how much– or perhaps in this case, the proper term is how little— fuel it uses.