A 2015 Ford Fusion Energi came into my driveway one Friday, and I was immediately excited.  I knew enough about it, that it was a plug in hybrid version of the Fusion, and naturally would have pretty good driving dynamics, but I had no direct experience.  To be honest, its the first true plug-in hybrid car that I’ve spent any significant time in.  The result of my time?  The realization that things are changing, and that change is quite good.  Electricity is here to stay.

The first key to understanding what makes the Ford Fusion Energi a bit different than other hybrids I’ve had experience with starts with how it operates.  Certain hybrids, both plug in and normal, physically can’t use only their electric motors above certain speeds.  I’m happy to report the Fusion bucks this trend.  I went over 80mph (in the spirit of fair testing, of course) on purely electric propulsion.  The other difference keyed into this is that the Fusion will operate in purely EV mode if instructed to, and will not engage the gasoline engine without pressing a button.  I LOVED this option.  Being in total control of when you use your electric charge is fantastic- and the Fusion Energi gives you options here.  You can run the vehicle in EV mode, or you can switch it into ‘EV Later’ mode to preserve the charge for a more efficient driving situation (the electric range tends to go down a bit at high speeds), or simply let the car figure it out for you.

I charged the Fusion overnight with the 110V charger stored in the trunk floor.  Ford claims it will charge the car in 7 hours.  I just left it hooked up overnight, so I don’t have any reason to doubt that.  For security, I tucked the charging cord under the hood and locked the car to prevent wandering hands or eyes from unplugging the car or even seeing the cord easily.  The first time I drove in EV mode was pretty amazing.  It was a little strange at first, being able to go at highway speed with nary a hint of engine noise.  The tires and other parts of the car are pretty quiet, but they sounded louder than they were.  Let me explain about that detail a little bit.  Without the usual hum of an engine, the noises of everything else seem louder than they are- they are definitely very quiet.  Just talk to a friend, or listen to the nice Sony stereo while driving and it’s not a problem.

The dual screen LCD instrument cluster with center analog speedometer is simple to use and configure with exactly the data you need to to make your commute what you want it to be.  My Ford Touch, as usual, doesn’t disappoint.   Bluetooth is easy to use, media streaming works without a hitch, and the user interface is straightforward and comprehensive.  It’s nice to be able to look at the home screen and see all of the functions at once.  Even though the car has touch sensitive buttons for most functions, they were well calibrated and worked without fuss.  The radio has two knobs, one for volume and one for tuning, which makes all the difference versus touch buttons.

My fuel mileage definitely surprised me.  The Fusion with a full charge will do an honest 18 miles on electricity.  This is in mixed city, highway, and brutal Miami rush hour traffic. My calculations with regards to power cost showed that the car got around 120mpg equivalent, which basically means that for the price of a gallon of gas, you can pay that amount in electricity.   Basically $5 will get you two hundred forty miles of electric range.  Mileage when the big battery ran out was great too- 40mpg in a roomy 5 passenger car.   The shocking part?  The Ford Fusion Energi starts at around $33,000.  As tested, the vehicle was just north of $40k with all of the niceties and gadgets added.

Bottom line? This car changed my perception on electric and plug-in vehicles.  Amazing efficiency on both gas and electricity, all with room for 5 and a pretty normal looking exterior, because let’s face it, driving a hybrid should be about using less fuel, not announcing to the world that you drive a hybrid. Add  good performance, build quality, comfort, and very good driving dynamics, and you have a package that frankly has no equal right now.  It’s not often in this industry that a car completely changes your view on the automotive landscape, but that’s what the 2015 Ford Fusion Energi did for me.  Electricity is here for good, and after experiencing this car and the benefits of a true plug in vehicle, I’m more excited about what our automotive future holds.  Happy motoring!

Vehicle provided by Ford Motor Company.