Still months away from going on sale, Ford is hyping the all-new Fusion sedan with boasts of its fuel economy. Clearly, Ford is aiming squarely at hybrid leader Toyota with its claims that the Fusion Hybrid will be America’s most fuel-efficient, non-rechargeable sedan.
To make this claim, the Fusion will need to best the redesigned Toyota Camry Hybrid. The EPA rates the battery-augmented Camry at 43 mpg city, 39 mpg highway, with a rating of 41 mpg combined.
Ford has announced its hybrid family sedan will achieve 47 mpg city, 44 mpg highway. And its plug-in hybrid version, dubbed Energi, is projected to deliver more than 100 MPGe. By Ford’s calculations, it will beat the imminent Toyota Prius plug-in. (We bet Toyota is looking closely at its numbers.)
The key to Ford’s accomplishments with this upcoming car is its redoubled engineering efforts, as reflected in its volume of patent filings. Back in 2000, Ford claimed just 10 patents for hybrid technology, despite being the first domestic automaker to offer a hybrid vehicle with the Escape. The company now holds 461 such patents.
Ford engineers cite a more efficient team process and dedication to creating technology for widespread use, rather than one-off applications, as being critical to the automaker’s accomplishments. It also bodes well for the proliferation of hybrid drivetrains throughout the product portfolio, complimenting Ford’s focus on small-displacement, turbocharged engines to meet its power and efficiency goals.
Throwing the gauntlet down on Toyota fuels anticipation with the corporate posturing. In the end, car shoppers win. Just as muscle car competition has resulted in amazing performance machines that are truly civilized, the hybrid wars will drive innovation, efficiency, and pricing.
May the best hybrid win!
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