There's just something about 100 miles per gallon that makes people sit up and take notice. It's only fitting, therefore, that a car that is expected to have an EPA rating of 100 mpg equivalent should also have styling that makes people sit up and take notice. The Ford Fusion has that.
I had a chance to chat with Julie D'Annunzio, Ford Motor Company's Global Electrified Fleets Manager, about the car on the eve of opening the Boston Auto Show.
You've just introduced the new Ford Fusion, a car that Autoweek just named Best of Show in Detroit. The line includes the plug-in hybrid Fusion Energi to be released for 2013. Did I hear correctly that you expect to get an EPA mileage rating of 100 miles per gallon for this car?
D'Annunzio: Yes, that's 100 miles per gallon equivalent. The mile per gallon equivalent is a new EPA standard to deal with vehicles that are basically hybrids, plug-in hybrids that are powered by gasoline and electricity as well. It takes the total miles traveled divided by the total energy used as a combination of gasoline and electricity. We are expecting that it will get 100 miles plus per gallon.
What range do you expect for all-electric operation of the Fusion Energi?
D'Annunzio: I don't know the all-electric range, sorry about that. The fact that we are expecting to beat the competition in miles per gallon equivalent tells me that it will be competitive. Overall, the vehicle will have a 500-mile range using a combination of the gasoline and electricity together. If you start off with a full charge and a full tank of gasoline, you should be able to go 500 miles. That will beat the Chevy Volt.
What separates the Fusion from other hybrid vehicles?
D'Annunzio: We've come up with what we call "the power of choice." Basically, that's giving the customers the ability to choose a level of electrification based on their wants and needs. Drivers have a diversity of needs so Ford is offering a product line-up that gives them a chance to match those needs with varying levels of electrification technology.
The all new Fusion is the only mid-size sedan that really offers consumers a choice. It's going to have a 2.5 liter gasoline engine. It's going to have two Eco-Boost engines, a 1.6 liter and a 2.0 liter. That 1.6 liter Eco-Boost engine is going to get 37 miles per gallon on the highway. The hybrid will get about 47 miles per gallon in the city. The plug-in will get 100 miles plus per gallon equivalent. The alternatives and choices within the Fusion line, I think are a big new story.
You expect that these down-sized Eco-Boost engines will provide the power to which people are accustomed from much larger engines?
D'Annunzio: Yes, exactly. Eco-Boost technology is turbo-charging and direct injection combined. That allows us to improve fuel economy by 20 percent. Basically, we have a V6 engine acting like a V8, an I4 acting like a V6.
If you go the website www.ford.com and build a Focus, basically, everything is standard, except, I think, leather seats and there are two colors that aren't standard that you have to pick. It gives you a great view of everything that's in the Focus.