The Fusion Energi is the first in a large wave of mainstream, plug-in Fords in the mid-term future. The extra EV power doubles silent range and EPA efficiency of the already-stellar Fusion Hybrid for only about $6,000 more than a loaded Hybrid Titanium model.
Who killed the electric car? Was it you?
No, it was coal. Coal killed the electric car.
Until 2012, the idea of an electric car faced not only the technical challenges of building one but also the significant consumer hurdle of buying something without knowing the actual savings over gasoline.
Anyone who has ever gotten a $400 power bill for a hot summer month would certainly think twice about the cost and hassle of plugging in the car constantly. Consumers rightly wondered: How high could an EV charger spike that utility bill?
Large-scale U.S. energy shifts to natural gas power stations mean home electricity is at record lows and expected to stay low for years. ‘Natty G’ costs about a fifth as much as coal per megawatt and significant savings are coming to home users in the U.S. as well.
Suddenly, Ford ’s plug-in hybrid electric car not only satisfies Eco-minded hybrid buyers but also the hardcore-green BEV owners in Nissan Leaf and Tesla vehicles. There’s simply no drawback to this Fusion Energi PHEV when the equation is close to $1 of juice (very roughly) equaling $10 in gasoline.
Add in the peace of mind of a gasoline backup and less cord fumbling… and it all starts to make sense. The Chevrolet Volt the first to a market that also includes the Honda Accord Plug-in and low-tech Prius Plug-in .
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi including an exclusive video tech overview of the interior.
The Fusion Energi shares all major styling with the Fusion Hybrid . This is a good thing compared to the hatchet job Honda has inflicted on the nose of the new Accord Plug-in . The only differences are the badges and the LED-lit exterior charge port on the Energi’s front quarter panel.
The Fusion Hybrid model already has extensive aerodynamic changes, resulting in that deep chin spoiler, numerous air deflectors and additional under-body panels to smooth the airflow. The under-body is not nearly as smooth as a Tesla Model S, but does offer significant shielding around the sills, the entire engine compartment floor, the passenger cell, deflectors ahead of the rear suspension and another panel below the trunk.
The gallery below shows some TopSpeed exclusive images of the car’s smooth under-tray while on a servicing lift.
The Fusion Energi’s style is very crisp and greatly enhanced by solid paint colors and the optional 18-inch wheel upgrade.
It is somewhat surprising to see no advanced LED lighting up front in this power-conscious Energi model. Halogen bulbs consume a lot of electricity and are often one of the first things replaced when on an Eco mission. LEDs are expensive and likely not viable, considering the costly battery upgrade on this plug-in model.
2014 Ford Fusion Energi – Standard Exterior Features:
- Integrated spotter mirrors
- Body-color exterior power mirrors
- Fog lights
- Security approach lamps/heated exterior power mirrors
- Body-color exterior door handles
- Body-color front and rear bumpers
- Chrome grille
- Roof-mounted antenna
- Halogen projector headlamps
- Parking lamps integrated into headlamps and fascia
- LED taillights
- Body-color rocker extension
- Single exhaust with bright tip
- Solar tinted glass
2014 Ford Fusion Energi – Exterior Dimensions:
|Overall length||191.8 in.|
|Overall width||72.9 in.|
|Overall height||58.0 in.|
|Track (front/rear)||62.3/62.0 in.|
The interior of the Energi model packs most of the Hybrid Fusion’s options as standard, including MyFord Mobile. This is required in order to remotely manage and schedule the Energi’s charge intervals, check the charge status and many other features.
The Energi comes standard with MyFord Touch SE Technology package that brings more knobs to control basic functions but also has a touchscreen. The above video demo shows the SE MyFord Touch.
The Energi Titanium comes standard with the full Sony kit that is not as well-liked. Both models need the $900 HDD-based navigation upgrade in order to have mapping functions in the touchscreen.
Interestingly, the map data is on an accessible SD card that can be updated by buyers every few years via MyFord.com to include all the newest map data. This is an easier and cheaper way to future-proof the navigation. Most DVD-based nav systems cannot ever be updated.
The Energi’s design maintains quality of the Fusion’s interior, which feels huge and well-built inside. Standard leather on all Energi’s banishes some worries about the cheap-feeling cloth and plastic steering wheel.
The doors thunk with a reassuring “thud” sound in contrast to many Fords over the years. The only place to hear the old Ford “clatch” is when slamming the trunk. The trunk is easy to close, thanks to a conventional hinge but does not open as high as some gas strut trunklids. On the plus side, when opening the trunk from the key fob, it does not just unlock but pops up to allow easy access.
The trunk. The Energi model has a much larger battery pack that the hybrid and is down to 8.2 cubic-feet on the Energi versus 12 cubic-feet on the Hybrid. Both models have a low load floor near the rear of the trunk and the battery box closer to the rear seat. The seats still fold down to increase total possible cargo capacity.
Buyers needing a bigger cargo area will like the Ford C-Max Hybrid and new C-Max Energi.
The Energi also comes standard with a 110-volt plug inside the car. This will help for charging laptops on the move or even providing (limited) home electricity during power outages.
The only other change inside versus the Hybrid is the Energi’s EV button to the right of the gear knob. For 2014, optional heated and ventilated front seats make an appearance on the loaded Energi model. The Energi also comes standard-fit with leather trim.
2014 Ford Fusion Energi – Interior Dimensions:
|Headroom (Front/Rear)||39.2/37.8 in.|
|Legroom (Front/Rear)||44.3/38.3 in.|
|Hip Room (Front/Rear)||55.0/54.4 in.|
|Shoulder Room (Front/Rear)||57.8/56.9 in.|
|EPA Cargo Volume||8.2 cubic-feet|
2014 Ford Fusion Energi – Standard Interior Features:
- 10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar and 2-way power passenger seat with front 4-way adjustable head restraints
- Leather seating, steering wheel and gear knob
- Dual-Zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (DEATC), Cabin air filter
- AM/FM Stereo with CD Player, MP3 Capability, Six Speakers, Audio input jack
- SYNC With MyFord Voice-Activated Communications and Entertainment System
- Three 12-volt power points; in-car 100-volt plug
- Steering wheel with cruise and audio controls
- Automatic headlamps
- Dual LCD SmartGauge Cluster with Eco Guide
- Cruise Control with EcoCruise
2014 Ford Fusion Energi - Interior Options:
- Navigation system ($795)
- Moonroof ($995)
- Remote start ($100)
- Rear proximity sensors ($295)
- Rear-seat DVD players ($349 for one, $729 for two)
- Illuminated door sill plates ($200)
Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes
The Fusion Energi is a plug-in hybrid that delivers faster acceleration than the Fusion Hybrid by half a second to 60 mph. Still powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 141 horsepower, the Energi is also quoted at a higher combined power figure of 195 horsepower versus 188 for the Hybrid.
The 8-second dash to 60 mph requires home-charged batteries. When depleted, the time will drop significantly to the mid-11-second range.
The Fusion Energi runs a much larger capacity 7.6 kWh lithium-ion battery that is more than five-times larger than the Hybrid model. The battery can be fully recharged in 7 hours from any three-prong 110-volt outlet or just 2.5 hours from a dedicated 220-volt outlet. 220-volt outlets are commonly pre-wired in newer homes for use with refrigerators and washing machines, among other high-power appliances.
For outdoor charging, Ford works with industry leader Leviton to offer customers a weather-resistant charging module.
The Energi has only gained about 250 pounds versus the Hybrid but is designed for regular charging to achieve the best-ever MPGe scores of 100-plus mpg equivalent. Leaving the batteries depleted will result in economy worse than the 47/47/47 of the Hybrid model.
The Fusion Energi’s trump card is its 21-mile certified EV range that doubles than both the Accord Plug-in and Prius Plug-in . Unlike those cars, the Energi also has highway potential in EV mode via a battery-powered 85-mph top speed. If drivers need to go faster than 85 mph, the gasoline engine will push the car up to its 102-mph top speed.
2014 Ford Fusion Energi – Mechanical Details:
|Engine Size and Type||DOHC, four valves per cylinder, intake variable camshaft timing (iVCT)|
|Peak power||141 horsepower|
|Peak torque||129 pound-feet|
|Peak torque – electric||117 pound-feet|
|Total power with charged battery||195 horsepower|
|0-to-60 mph||8.0 seconds|
|Top Speed||102 mph|
|EPA Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined)||44/41/43|
|EPA Plug-in MPGe (City/Highway/Combined)||108/92/100|
The Fusion Hybrid’s results can reliably be extended to the Energi model due to the shared engine and crash structures.
The Fusion Hybrid is a Top Safety Pick Plus by the IIHS and a five-star car from the NHTSA. You can see the strength of the car’s car structures in the very difficult new IIHS small overlap test. Ford modified the vehicle structure in December 2012 following less impressive original results in the new test.
The Fusion Energi includes eight standard airbags, including the front knee bags that really help minimize injuries during frontal collisions.
The long-running Ford keyless entry pad continues in the latest models via a subtle touch panel on the car’s B-pillar. This continues the helpful lockout and family-entry benefits in a subtle package without the body-mounted number pad.
A groundbreaking safety innovation is the availability of rear seat belt airbags for 2014. These promise more support area than belts alone during a crash. This lessens potential rope burn injuries that are possible across passenger chests and shoulders.
2014 Ford Fusion Energi – Standard Safety Features:
- Dual front airbags, Front seat side airbags, 1st- and 2nd-row side air curtains, Driver and front passenger knee airbag
- Inside trunk safety release
- Tire pressure monitoring system
- Torque Vectoring Control
- AdvanceTrac with Electronic Stability Control
- LATCH (lower anchor and tethers for children) system
- Child Safety Locks - rear doors
- SOS post-crash Alert
- Perimeter alarm, SecuriLock passive anti-theft system
- SecuriCode keyless entry keypad, Keyless Entry Keyfob
- Emergency Brake Assist
2014 Ford Fusion Energi – Optional Safety Features:
- Driver assistance package: BLIS, Lane-Keep Assist, automatic high-beams and rain-sensing wipers ($1140)
- Active parking assistant with forward proximity sensors ($895)
- Adaptive cruise control ($995)
- Blind-spot alert system
The Fusion Energi comes in two trim levels, the Energi SE for $38,700 and $40,100 for the Energi Titanium. There are deals available with Ford offering a variety of incentives and discounts such as $2500 off on cash purchases.
The Energi Titanium offers a few key upgrades that are either optional or not available on the Energi SE:
- Full MyFord Touch by Sony
- Push-button start with proximity key
- Reversing camera
- Customizable interior mood lighting
- MyFord Touch by Sony
The Accord Plug-in’s final stats are not available yet, but the car offers near-identical engine and battery outputs at 196 horsepower combined. The Accord runs a smaller battery pack and has a much-shorter EV range than the Fusion Energi. Unlike all other Accords built in Ohio for 30 years, the Plug-in will come from Japan and is expected to include a serious price hike to the mid-$40,000 range.
Gallery Honda Accord PHEV
The Prius Plug-in competes with the Fusion Energi mostly based on its existing sales momentum. The Prius PHEV is actually only capable of 2 miles in EV mode at less than 25 mph. In all modes, it is extremely underpowered compared wit the Fusion.
It is also seriously expensive, despite being unrefined and extremely loud inside. From the back seat, it sounds like a window is open... but all are closed. The Prius PHEV Advanced in similar specification has a base price of $38,000.
Gallery Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
So if coal killed the electric car, natural gas is bringing it back to life in a new, plug-in hybrid form. The Fusion Energi’s biggest stumbling block is the price increase over a $22,000 stripped-out Ford Fusion S.
Granted, the price premium is a lot easier to swallow versus the $32,000 Fusion Hybrid Titanium that includes similar equipment. Even at $39,000, Ford is subsidizing these ultra-expensive Li-Ion batteries and likely taking a loss on every Energi it sells.
Any time that happens is a great opportunity for buyers to pounce. It applies here as much as with the Bugatti Veyron .
With the Fusion Energi, buyers can feel far more secure and confident in a few previously ’unknown’ areas about Plug-in hybrid EV’s.
Here are some of the buyer concerns the Fusion Energi helps put to rest:
- Will my electricity bill spike to unreasonable levels with an EV charger?
- Will a plug-in hybrid’s price premium pay for itself in less than four years?
- Will this car be safe and reliable in daily use for 10-plus years?
- Is it from a major manufacturer with easy servicing and fewer flaws than low-volume cars like the Fisker Karma ?
- EV driving is great but will I run out of juice or constantly have range anxiety?
- Do all plug-in hybrids make major cabin compromises like the tiny Chevrolet Volt back seat?
- Is it a flimsy econo-box with poor refinement and zero handling like all Prius models?
- Will a normal driver be able to understand and make best use of the on-board technology?
That’s a long list of previously unanswered questions. All resolved in one fell swoop by the Fusion Energi.
This is truly a template for future Fords and will define how all automakers pursue electrified models as part of a broad efficiency push.
|Driving||A-||Long-Range EV Potential Even At Highway Speeds|
|Performance||B+||Quicker Than Hybrid Model If Batteries Are Charged|
|Look||B+||Needs Wheel Upgrade; Pick Any Color Except Ice Storm (Light Green)|
|Value||B-||Pricey To Buy But Ford Is Absorbing A Lot Of Li-Ion Battery Price|
|Overall||B+||A Real Contender Among Prius Avoiders With A Garage Plug|
- The EPA’s most-efficient sedan... ever
- Looks upscale and classy in solid colors with 18-inch wheels
- Huge and high-quality cabin with interesting tech features
- Needs LED driving lights a la Fiesta ST; No xenon option?
- Good seats and driving position options via very adjustable steering wheel
- Titanium package is not a must; mid-level SE’s MyFord Touch with knobs is easier
Gallery Ford Fusion Energi
2014 Fusion Energi Overview
- 2014 Ford Fusion Energi sedan is Ford’s newest plug-in hybrid; it has an EPA-estimated range of 620 miles when starting with a full tank of gas and fully charged battery
- Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid has an EPA-estimated rating of 21 miles in electric-only mode – nearly triple the electric-only range of the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid and nearly double the Honda Accord plug-in hybrid
- New for 2014 are inflatable rear seat belts, heated steering wheel and two exterior colors – Dark Side and Sunset
Such capabilities mean the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi may travel from Boston to Virginia Beach on one tank of gas and one full charge or traverse scenic Highway 101 from Sacramento to San Diego. Or even make one-half of the average commuter’s daily trip, estimated to be 20 miles each way.
Its range only adds to the benefits Fusion Energi provides, including EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 108 MPGe city, 92 MPGe highway and 100 MPGe combined – up to 5 MPGe greater than Prius plug-in hybrid. These are numbers the EPA anticipates could help save customers an estimated $6,850 in fuel costs compared with an average new car over the course of five years.
Similar metrics across its entire lineup have helped the Ford brand climb to No. 1 in fuel efficiency customer satisfaction – J.D. Power says Ford now beats Toyota for leading fuel efficiency in every segment where both compete.
Fusion Energi Highlighted Features
- Eco cruise: Saves vehicle energy by relaxing acceleration compared to standard cruise control
- EV mode button: Conveniently mounted on the console to the right of the shifter, allows a driver to switch vehicle operation between three modes – all-electric (EV Now), normal hybrid operation (Auto) or conserve battery power for later use (EV Later)
- Regenerative braking: Capable of capturing and reusing up to 95 percent of the kinetic energy of a vehicle coming to a stop
- Hybrid transmission: Designed by Ford engineers in-house, this transmission is capable of operating at high speeds and in a smooth, fuel-efficient manner at the same time
- Advanced lithium-ion batteries: The batteries used in Ford’s electrified vehicle lineup – covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile component limited warranty – are smaller and lighter than previous-generation nickel-metal-hydride batteries
- Charge port with LED light ring: Conveniently located on the driver’s side and near the front of the car, it features a light ring that illuminates to indicate charge status