Ford Fusion Energi
The complete redesign of the Ford Fusion for 2013 has catapulted the model to many critics’ top choice for midsize sedan. Its sharp looks are characterized by a wide stance, Aston Martin-like front fascia, and a sloping roofline in the back. Moreover, the 2013 Fusion is the first sedan to come with gas, hybrid and plug-in hybrid options.
The high-volume option of engine choices for the Fusion is the mid-level 1.6-liter EcoBoost version with automatic transmission. It carries a fuel efficiency rating of 23 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway—quite good for its class. But the plug-in version known as “Energi” is in a different stratosphere when it comes to efficiency.
The EPA certified Fusion Energi to deliver 108 MPGe in city driving;
92 MPGe on the highway and a combined 100 MPGe. That makes it the number one most efficient sedan in America—even bypassing other plug-in hybrids, such as the 2013 Chevrolet Volt, which delivers a combined MPGe rating of 98, and the 2013 Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid with its combined MPGe rating of 95.
The difference between these extraordinary ratings is fairly negligible when it comes to fuel use, so plug-in shoppers should first look at design as the key differentiator. The Fusion’s styling provides a legitimate alternative to the nerdy shape of the Prius, while its roomy (although somewhat bland) interior provides generous space for five passengers—beating the Volt’s four-seat configuration.
The overall space and cargo advantage for the Fusion Energi is reduced because Ford uses part of the trunk to accommodate the battery pack. Packaging of the battery is what cost the Volt room for five—but Toyota was able to maintain all its hatchback space, finding room beneath the cabin for the relatively small 4.4 kilowatt-hour plug-in battery pack.
The Fusion Energi runs more like the Prius in terms of blending gas with electricity—rather than the Volt, which only provides electricity to the wheels (using the gas engine only to sustain charge in the batteries).
Yet, with its various modes especially “EV Now,” Ford gives drivers the option to drive almost entirely with electricity for the first 20 miles after a charge—meaning the Fusion Energi has much more of an EV feel compared to the Prius (which blends gasoline throughout most of its drive cycle). After the electric-only range is used up, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid remains efficient at about 50 mpg (in hybrid mode), while the Ford claims the Fusion Energi will get about 40 mpg after the 7.5 kilowatt-hour battery is depleted. This is only slightly better than the Volt’s efficiency after its 16-kWh pack is depleted.
Charging time for the Fusion Energi should be about 2.5 hours with a 220-volt source, and overnight from a standard household outlet. There’s a strong argument for saving the money on special EV charging equipment, and managing with a trickle charge from 110-volts. Adding the Fusion Energi to our EV garage would probably mean using 220V for the LEAF, and allowing the Energi to slowly charge with 110V overnight—except for the times during the day when I would want a quick recharge to return to EV miles.
Ford packs the 2013 Fusion with all the latest high-tech features, including the MyFord Touch infotainment system, adaptive cruise control, a lane-keeping system with drowsy driving detection, blind-spot monitoring, hill start assist and active park assist.
Ford Fusion Energi Stats
- Availability: Now
- Base MSRP: $39,500
- Est. tax credit: $3,700
- Technology: Plug-in Hybrid
- Body type: Sedan
- Seats: 5
- Range: 21 miles + gas
- Battery size: 7 kWh
- Charging rate: 3.0 kW
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