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2017 Ford Fusion Energi Overview
Plug-in hybrid electric cars are spreading through automakers’ fleets faster than any other type of green vehicle. Ford was one of the first to electrify a midsize sedan, the Fusion, and now the 2017 Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid receives important changes to its body style, interior design, infotainment system, and drivetrain.
The Ford Fusion Energi was the fifth-leading seller among electrified cars in 2015 and moved up to fourth place in January 2016. Only the Volt, Leaf, and Tesla Model S outsold it, making the Fusion Energi the number-one-selling midsize family electric car. There are many reasons that buyers choose the Fusion Energi when shopping for a green car. Its most important advantage is probably its ability to run as a hybrid without any electrical charge. Once it exhausts its estimated 19 miles of all-electric range, the Fusion Energi’s 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, which is coupled with a hybrid electric-motor powerplant, takes over, and the Fusion performs very much like any other midsize gasoline-powered hybrid car. That means excellent fuel economy, significantly reduced emissions, and the high-torque feel of an EV. And the ability to drive without a charged battery means owners can avoid the range anxiety commonly associated with EVs.
But what really makes the Fusion Energi special is, of course, its ability to fully charge in 2.5 hours when plugged into a normal 120-volt wall outlet. This extremely fast charge rate is a function of the Fusion Energi’s limited EV capacity: its lithium-ion battery is only rated at 7.6 kWh (kilo-Watt-hours). Yet the Fusion Energi will cover those 19 miles of all-electric driving with excellent acceleration and no tiresome engine noise. The range is probably even sufficient for most people to get to work and back, or to get to work and recharge while there, meaning the Fusion Energi can function as a pure EV in many situations. Ford claims the 2017 Fusion Energi’s electric motor has improved efficiency.
The Fusion Energi’s battery pack is smaller than the Camry Hybrid’s, leaving ample trunk space for groceries or a small overnight bag. You cannot, however, drop the rear seatbacks, a small price to pay for such an energy-efficient design.
Final mileage numbers have not been released yet for the 2017 Fusion Energi, but shoppers should expect to find an EPA-rated 90 MPGe of combined hybrid and electric operation, and mileage of close to 40 mpg when the Fusion Energi is operating as a hybrid (without any external electric charge). The Fusion Energy scores a perfect 10 on the EPA’s smog scale, rated at just 129 grams per mile of CO2 production.
The Fusion Energi should receive the regular 2017 Fusion's new front fascia and optional LED headlamps and rear taillights. Inside, we expect to find the new Sync 3 infotainment system; Ford promises its latest Sync technology will be even more intuitive and easy to operate than the previous generation, and that the voice-recognition system will be tweaked for better functionality.
As a midsize sedan, the Fusion Energi is a family car, so its ability to be a safe car is important. The regular 2016 Fusion model was rated Acceptable on the important Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) small-frontal-overlap crash test. Ford may re-test the Fusion, but for now that score keeps it from receiving the IIHS's top safety rating. The Fusion also needs to add more advanced front crash-mitigation technology, which we'll expect from the 2017 model.
The Base SE will start at about $35,000, and the leather-equipped Titanium trim adds various features for a price of about $36,000. Selecting the optional Driver Assist Package, adaptive cruise control, and forward-collision prevention with auto braking and park assist will add about $3,000. Most buyers, however, will be eligible for a $4,000 federal tax rebate, and some states offer an EV plug-in rebate as well. Buyers should be sure to research these incentives carefully to see exactly which ones apply. A 2017 Ford Fusion Energi that qualifies for both federal and state rebates should run from about $30,000 to around $35,000. Coupled with fuel cost savings, the Fusion Energi is a good value compared to the regular Fusion.
Look for the new 2017 Ford Fusion Energi to arrive mid-2016.
John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. In the early 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric race car from scratch. In addition to his work at CarGurus, John covers automotive news at Torque News and GM-trucks.com and is a contributor to CarTalk and BestRide. Aside from all things automotive, John loves fishing and hockey, preferably in the company of his two boys.
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