Imagine driving to and from work during the week and never using a drop of gasoline. Now, imagine loading up that same car with the family and taking a long, weekend trip and averaging 100 mpge using the electric motor and gasoline engine.
Itís not science fiction.
I absolutely love the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid sedan.
Hereís the way it works. Every night you plug it into an electrical outlet to charge the batteries for the electric motor. In electric only mode, the Fusion Energi has a range of around 21 miles ó which is more than the average daily commute for most residents in North America. By the way, the average cost to generate a full charge is less than $1.
If you need to drive beyond the electric only range, the gas engine kicks in and the Fusion Energi operates just like any other gasoline-powered vehicle ó but with an EPA fuel economy rating of 43 mpg (100 mpg equivalent when the electric only range is factored in, providing a total range of 620 miles on a single tank of gas).
It seats five in comfort. Provides 8.2 cubic feet of trunk room. Delivers excellent performance on the highway and lots of torque for merging onto a busy freeway. It gets up to speed quickly and provides a smooth, comfortable ride on the highway.
And for those who are concerned about performance, itís capable of hitting a top speed of 85 mph in electric-only mode in just a few seconds.
The only noticeable difference from a gas-only vehicle is that when you press the button to start the car, it doesnít make any noise. You receive a signal indicator on the instrument panel letting the driver know the car is ready to go and waiting on you to put it in gear.
Other than that, it performs just like any other car youíve ever driven.
It is also loaded with standard safety features, including electronic stability control, dual front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, dual front knee airbags, side curtain airbags, adaptive seat belts, tire pressure monitoring system, SOS Post-Crash Alert System and LATCH child seat anchor system, to name but a few.
Itís also loaded with a long list of standard features, including leather power seats, ambient lighting, premium Sony audio system, intermittent wipers, cruise control, message center with trip computer, power locks and windows, remote start, rearview camera, Sync with MyFord Touch and many, many others.
In addition to the 118 horsepower electric motor, the Fusion Energi is equipped with a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle I-4 engine that produces 141 horsepower (188 combined horsepower) providing the Fusion Energi with a top speed of 102 mph.
Rounding out the hybrid powertrain is an eCVT (Continuous Variable Transmission).
The 2014 Fusion Energi has a base price starting around $39,000. For consumers looking to reduce their fuel bills without having to compromise, the Fusion Energi is and absolute must for the test drive list.
Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association.
The Nuts and Bolts
2014 Ford Fusion Energi
5- seat plug-in hybrid sedan †
Fusion Energi, Titanium
2.0L I-4 gas engine with AC electric motor (188 hp combined output ó 141 hp gas engine and 118 hp electric only output)
EPA: 108 mpge city, 92 mpge highway/ 21 mile range in electric only mode/ 620 mile range
FUEL: Regular unleaded
Electronic stability control
BRAKES: ABS with integrated regenerative braking
LENGTH: 191.8 inches
WHEELBASE: 112.2 in.
WIDTH: 75.2 inches
HEIGHT: 58 inches
WEIGHT: 3913 lbs.
FUEL TANK: 14 gallons
CARGO: 8.2 cubic feet.