Forty percent of Americans are concerned about how far their vehicle can go on a full tank of gas or battery charge, according to a new survey, and Ford has a new car that can help alleviate that worry.
Ford, America’s best-selling plug-in hybrid brand, now offers a plug-in hybrid that can go further than any other. The new 2017 Fusion Energi can travel 610 miles on a full tank of gas and battery charge – according to EPA estimates posted to fueleconomy.gov – the highest combined range of any plug-in hybrid sold in America.
The March 2016 Harris Poll of more than 1,000 U.S. adults also finds Americans believe the longest-range plug-in hybrid can go 261 miles – less than half the Fusion Energi’s range. This significant underestimation shows the disconnect between reality and what consumers believe.
“Plug-in hybrids are electric vehicles until you run down the battery,” said Wade Jackson, marketing manager for Ford Fusion, “then they work exactly like a conventional hybrid. Fusion Energi – with a full battery and a full tank of gas – can go from San Diego, through Los Angeles and all the way up to San Francisco, and still have up to 110 miles of range remaining.”
Changes to the car’s hybrid powertrain software and regenerative braking, which recycles energy to the battery otherwise lost when drivers hit the brakes, means the 2017 Fusion Energi can travel up to 610 miles on a full tank of gas and battery charge – up from 550 miles for the 2016 model.
Plug-in hybrids use both electric batteries and gas-powered engines. Normally, a vehicle owner will run on all-electric mode until the electricity is depleted, at which point the engine turns on automatically. The Fusion Energi’s all-electric range is an estimated 21 miles. If there is gas in the tank, the car will then operate for about a mile using both battery and gas. After that, the gas engine kicks in for another 588 miles of range – according to EPA estimates.
Top-selling electrified vehicle lineup
Ford – the No. 1 seller of plug-in hybrids for 2015 and year-to-date 2016 – is leading the way in raising awareness of the advantages these vehicles offer. Through April, Fusion Energi sales are up 58 percent.
Kevin Layden, Ford director of electrified powertrain engineering, says Fusion Energi is a great option for people who might not live, work or play near electric-vehicle charging stations, or who take trips to places where the electric-vehicle infrastructure is not yet established.
“Fusion Energi gives them both the freedom to go gas-free for shorter trips and the fuel efficiency of a gas engine for longer trips,” he says. “And it’s very affordable.”
Fusion Energi is on sale now. Its 610 mile range is nearly triple that of the upcoming Tesla Model 3, which Tesla says has a projected total range of 215 miles. The Model 3 doesn’t run on gas, so it also must be recharged immediately when its battery is depleted.
Since introducing the plug-in hybrid vehicle in 2013, Ford has sold nearly 30,000 Fusion Energi cars in the United States. Fusion Energi is one of six Ford Motor Company electrified vehicles, including Ford Fusion Hybrid, C-MAX Hybrid, C-MAX Energi, Focus Electric and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. By 2020, Ford will invest $4.5 billion in electrified vehicles, adding 13 new ones to its product portfolio. More than 40 percent of the company’s nameplates globally will be electrified by the end of this decade.
Ford insights on plug-in hybrid drivers
Data Ford collected from more than 610 million miles logged by its electrified vehicle owners show these drivers put an average of 13,500 miles annually on their vehicles – similar to what owners of gasoline-only cars log – with about half those miles in electric mode. That breaks down to an average daily commute of 42 miles for Ford plug-in hybrid drivers.
So with the enhanced electric range, this means the average Fusion Energi commuter could go the entire day using no gasoline – if the car is fully charged before leaving for work and fully charged before leaving for home.
Ford concludes from the data that most customers are likely charging their vehicles only at home – leaving a wealth of opportunity for growth in workplace charging stations.
The 2017 Ford Fusion Energi has an EPA-estimated rating of 43 city/41 hwy/42 combined MPG, a 14 gallon tank and 21 miles all-electric range. Range calculation based on www.fueleconomy.gov. Actual mileage and range will vary.