Ford Motor Co. is slated to release its first ever hybrid sedan, the 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid within the next year. This will be a vehicle that company spokesmen say, features new hybrid technology that will enable it to surpass the fuel economy of other competitive hybrids such as the Toyota Camry. The Fusion hybrid will get 41 miles per gallon in cities and 36 miles per gallon on highways; 8 miles per gallon more in the city and 2 miles per gallon on highways more than the Camry hybrid, the closest competitive midsize sedan to the Fusion.
The 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid features a revamped battery, and overall a powerful, lighter structure, which allows the vehicle to operate purely on electrical power of up to 47 miles per hour, after which the four-cylinder gasoline engine will switch on as the main power source in order to recharge the battery. This is almost twice the speed at which the Toyota Camry hybrid transitions to gasoline power, making the Fusion much more efficient and environment-friendly. It’s estimated that this could potentially allow Fusion drivers to get somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 miles per tank while driving in the city; according to Ford’s Hybrid Applications Manager, Gil Portalatin, “Under the right conditions, you can drive in your neighborhood or mall parking lots without using a drop of gasoline.”
Another significant upgrade in Ford’s hybrid technology comes in the form of improved regenerative braking. This is a process which allows the energy that is normally lost during breaking, to be harnessed as usable energy by the car’s electric battery, which will become more efficient. According to Ford, it’s estimated that as much as 94 percent of the braking energy will be harnessed in the Fusion hybrid, elevating it significantly above its competitors.
Perhaps the most innovative upgrade featured in the Fusion’s new hybrid technology is Ford’s SmartGuage with EcoGuide, an LCD display located on either side of the speedometer that’s intended to coach drivers for optimal fuel efficiency. The displays will provide information pertaining to fuel economy, battery and fuel levels, while also featuring a screen that will show either growing or withering green vines according to the efficiency of the driving, offering drivers a simple way to determine whether or not their driving habits are saving or burning fuel.