In the beginning, there was only one, Toyota Prius, which dared to bring something new into the automotive world, a vehicle partially gasoline-powered and electric-powered. By combining the best characteristics of both electric motors and internal combustion engines, the Prius hybrid electric vehicle [HEV] set the fuel-efficiency bar higher than possible with just gasoline power alone. The Toyota Prius is now the world’s best-selling hybrid, but it’s not alone, as most other automakers have started producing their own hybrid vehicles.
The latest generation of HEVs, though, adds more electricity to the mix, and allows drivers to precharge their batteries, which are larger than in standard HEVs. With this charge, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles [PHEV] can drive around short distances on electric power alone before the gasoline-powered engine kicks in to generate electricity and drive the vehicle. While fuel economy is important, the new standard for measuring PHEVs has become range, not only electric, but overall.
The new 2013 Ford Fusion Energi, a PHEV, has already claimed a top spot in efficiency, at 108 MPGe maximum on the highway, and 92 MPGe in the city. Range, though, is another matter, and again it’s tops for Ford, impressive for a hybrid newcomer, at 620 miles total range. This is 120 miles more than the Honda Accord PHEV, and 80 miles more than the Toyota Prius PHEV.
Additionally, the Ford Fusion Energi PHEV offers more electric-only range at 21 miles up to 85 mph, where the Accord only offers 10-15 miles, and the Prius 11 miles. Before you jump to the conclusion that Ford just dropped a bigger battery and fuel tank into the Fusion Energi, don’t forget that battery and fuel weight reduce fuel economy, so kudos to Ford for coming up with a more efficient design!