Ford claims new Fusion Energi trumps Toyota with 620-mile range

Ford is once again making bold mileage estimates in regard to the fuel economy and range of one of its new plug-in hybrids — and also noting that its hybrid vehicles achieve better fuel economy than those from Toyota.

Ford says new Fusion Energi trumps Toyota with 620-mile range. EPA fuel-economy figures for the plug-in hybrid are 108 mpge city/92 mpge highway and 100 mpge combined.

This time it’s for Ford’s latest plug-in hybrid, the new Fusion Energi, which Pinnochio the company says is capable of driving up to 620 miles without having to stop for gas or to recharge the battery.

Ford also says the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid can drive up to 21 miles in electric-only mode — almost triple the electric-only range of the Toyota Prius plug-in, and double that of the Honda Accord plug-in hybrid. EPA fuel-economy figures for Fusion Energi are 108 mpg-equivalent city/92 mpge highway and 100 mpge combined. That’s up to 5 mpge more than the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid, Ford points out. The hatchback C-Max Energi posted the same EPA results.

“We want Ford to be known to customers who want fuel-efficient vehicles,” Mazen Hammoud, Ford’s chief engineer for electric powertrains, told MSN Autos at the New England International Auto Show in Boston.

Ford added that the EPA predicts that this type of fuel economy could help save car owners an estimated $6,850 in fuel costs compared with an average new car over five years. Given that the EPA has recently looked into mileage claims for Ford’s other hybrids, chances are the fuel-economy figures for the Fusion Energi are legitimate.

Just two months after Hyundai and Kia admitted to overstating EPA mileage estimates and were forced to relabel window stickers on the new vehicles to reflect the lower mpg ratings, the federal agency next turned its attention to Ford for mileage claims on its new Fusion hybrid and C-Max hybrid models. This grew out of a Consumer Reports claim that the two hybrids weren’t even close to achieving their 47-mpg ratings. (Both hybrids claim 47 mpg in city, highway and combined driving.) After purchasing and breaking in the two hybrids, Consumer Reports says it achieved an average of only 35 mpg city/41 mpg highway for the Fusion and 35/38 for the C-Max. The publication said that other owners have reported similar disappointing results.

“Yes, the disclaimer on EPA fuel-economy labels notes that your results may differ,” the magazine said. “But the overall mpg for these C-Max and Fusion models is off by a whopping 10 and 8 mpg, respectively, or about 20 percent. Our overall-mpg results are usually pretty close to the EPA’s combined-mpg estimate.”

The EPA investigation of Hyundai and Kia is ongoing, and the agency is also considering civil penalties for the automakers’ inaccuracies, according to Bloomberg. Ford could face similar trouble — and lawsuits — if the EPA determines the mileage estimates are off.

Ford’s Hammoud said customer driving styles were the real issue. He said high fuel-economy numbers were also dependent on “how aggressive you brake,” referring to how the hybrid system generates more electricity for the battery during harder stops.

The EPA also acknowledges that hybrids have far more inconsistency in estimating fuel economy. “There’s absolutely no doubt: A hybrid is going to be far more variable than a conventional vehicle,” Linc Wehrly, director of light-duty vehicle center compliance division at the EPA’s Ann Arbor, Mich., laboratory, told The Detroit News.

[Source: Ford]