Have You Plugged In a Ford Lately? EVs, Plug-ins, and Hybrids Live on in Detroit (Part One)

Nancy Gioia TreeHugger Radio image

In the smoking ashes of Detroit, Ford Motor Company looks a lot like the last man standing, which could have great big implications for the green car race. Nancy Gioia heads up Ford’s Sustainable Mobility programs—she shares with TreeHugger how her company is charging into the world of EVs, plug-ins, hybrids, clean diesels, and even some nice company-sponsored hypermiling.

Listen to the podcast of this interview via iTunes, or just click here to listen, right-click to download.

Full text after the jump.
TreeHugger: There's a tremendous amount going on in the automotive world when it comes to greener, lower carbon, more efficient technologies. There's a huge amount going on at Ford, as well. The Fusion, just to pull one out of the list, is a new hybrid that has just hit the market. Tell about the development of the Fusion and what a driver can expect when they get behind the wheel.

Gioia: We're so delighted with the Fusion Hybrid and how well it's been received in the field. We're selling them and the feedback from customers has just been phenomenal. It's a midsize sedan, for those who haven't had a chance to drive one, and I certainly encourage everyone to either drive the hybrid or the base car. Both are delivering the best fuel economy of any midsize sedan, vis-à-vis any competitor. Our Fusion Hybrid is 41 miles per gallon city, 36 mpg highway.

Just to put that in comparison to some competitors, that beats the Toyota Camry Hybrid by eight miles per gallon on highway. It also significantly beats the other competitors. It was really important to us in our vision of the product that it be not only fun to drive, but a a world class, quiet vehicle, with excellent ride, handling, and steering.

Then when we said okay, we're going to use this vehicle, we're going to make it a hybrid also. What's going to distinguish it from others?

Number one, it has to be absolutely, unquestionably, best in class, real-world and label fuel economy. Real world was the most important—that customers can really get that fuel economy.

Number two, the most refined hybrid drive experience. When we say "refined" what we mean is in addition to all of the other great things on the car, the way it handles, et cetera. It's quiet, it's very responsive, and then the third element it's fun to drive. So, when we went about doing this the team worked very hard on the technology and I'd just like to point out we have well over 200-plus patents or pending patents on the Fusion Hybrid, which makes it, if not the, one of the most patented vehicles in history.

So, again, it's 100% Ford technology on our hybrid moving forward, and on top of that, great fuel economy. You can run in electric vehicle mode up to 47 miles per hour, which is the highest EV drive speed of any hybrid. You can get far greater than 700 miles on a tank of gas. So, for a lot of customers that means they're going to fill up, maybe, once a month. So, we've got a whole bunch of technology in this car and we've been progressing at every step along the way.

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