2017 Ford Fusion Energi 610 MiIe Range - Larry Nutson Review

2017 Ford Fusion Energi
EPA-Estimated 610-Mile Range

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

My wife and I spent a mid-October long weekend in Florida’s Tampa/St. Pete area to help celebrate the marriage of close friend’s daughter. We added in a visit with my brother and his wife a bit further south in the area of Sarasota/Brandenton.

I was able to schedule a drive in a Ford Fusion Energi, the plug-in hybrid version of Ford’s mid-size, 5-passenger sedan. I was certainly interested in driving the Fusion Energi to see what kind of real world driving experience it provided.

As mentioned above, the Fusion Energi is rated to have a 610-mile driving range on a full tank of gasoline and full battery charge. Ford says it’s the highest combined range of any plug-in hybrid sold in America. Ford made changes to the Fusion Energi for 2017 and increased the range from 550 miles in the 2016 model.

Yes, MPG’s are important but how far you can go and for how much time and money before refueling is really what it’s all about. Ford says that an online Harris Poll finds 40 percent of U.S. adult drivers frustrated with their vehicle’s range.

Plug-in hybrids use both electric batteries and gas-powered engine. Normally, a vehicle owner will run on all-electric mode until the electricity is depleted, at which point the engine turns on automatically. The Fusion Energi’s all-electric range is an estimated 21 miles. And, that’s actually quite a lot. From my personal driving experience living in Chicago I can do a day’s worth of household errands and end up driving only about 10 miles or so.

Plug-in hybrids and also pure battery-only electric vehicles perform very well in big-city environments. The key, of course, is the ability to plug-in and recharge the battery. We very often wrongly think of everyone having a garage. That’s really not the case. Just look around where you live and take note of all the vehicles that are parked on the street overnight. I’ve seen data that says 82% of homes in the U.S. have two-car garages but only 15% use them. I guess a lot of us need to de-clutter

Kevin Layden, Ford director of electrified powertrain engineering, says Fusion Energi is a great option for people who might not live, work or play near electric-vehicle charging stations, or who take trips to places where the electric-vehicle infrastructure is not yet established.

Our mid-Florida 2017 Fusion Energi had a base price of $34,120. Options totaled $4,895 and included White Platinum Metallic tri-coat ($595), Enhanced active park assist ($995), Adaptive Cruise Control with stop and go ($1,190), Voice-activated Navigation ($795) and the Driver Assistant Package ($1,320).

With the $875 delivery charge the total came to $39,890. However, there’s a $2,000 Fusion Energi discount rolled in by Ford, knocking the price down to $37,890.

I’ve previously driven other versions of the Fusion and this Energi model drove no differently. There is regenerative braking that comes in to play when slowing and puts charge back in to the battery.

There was one notable difference. The battery takes up a good bit of the trunk space. We had room for our two roll-aboard suitcases and two small attachés, but that was it. Trunk volume in the Energi is a smallish 8.2 cuft. v. 16 cuft. in a regular gasoline Fusion or 12 cuft. in the Fusion Hybrid. From our experience, I would say that the Fusion Energi has enough trunk space for normal household errands such as grocery shopping. However, even though there is seating for five, there is not enough space for luggage for five. This might be a road-trip shortcoming for some.

The 2017 Ford Fusion Energi has an EPA-estimated rating of 43 city/41 highway/42 combined MPG, a14 gallon tank and 21 miles all-electric range. In our Florida trip we averaged 36 mpg over 124 miles of mostly highway driving.

By the way the overall driving performance does not disappoint. The 2.0-Liter 4-cylinder together with the electric motor has a combined 188-HP and delivers a very satisfying driving experience with good acceleration from stop, and highway merging and passing.

More information and specifications on the Fusion Energi can be found at www.ford.com. Earlier this year I drove the Fusion Sport. Now it’s a different animal than the Fusion Energi, but you can read a bit about it right here

By 2020, Ford will invest $4.5 billion in electrified vehicles, adding 13 new ones to its product portfolio. I certainly hope that our electric vehicle charging station infrastructure improves significantly across the U.S., especially in major-metro areas. Charging at both ends of a work-commute will enable much greater use of plug-in hybrids. More and more business are installing EV charging stations. And, new construction striving for LEED certification is helping to drive this.

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