2013 Ford Fusion: Designed with Fuel Economy in Mind
October 2, 2012
October 2, 2012
Most often build-your-own products are relegated to the food industry. We’re invited to choose our ice cream type, and then either add on our toppings of choice or watch someone mash them in before picking from one of the 12 cone choices. It’s a dessert option that says goodbye to simply choosing a flavor, just as our vehicle options are no longer just selecting a model.
With or without the more stringent CAFE standards, fuel economy is now the #1 factor buyers take into account when choosing which vehicle to purchase. Ford seems to tap into this concern when designing the 2013 Ford Fusion, a vehicle that has been decked out with advanced systems such as lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, parking assist, review cameras and more. In addition to these driving aids the Fusion offers a number of features designed to increase fuel economy, including EcoBoost engine options and start-stop technology. Perhaps most exciting for vehicle fleets is the wide array of powertrains that the Fusion offers, with 5 options available and a sixth on the way. Since there is no one-size fits all Fusion configuration, drivers and those purchasing new vehicles need to take an introspective look at their own habits and demands in order to determine what vehicle has the performance they require at the lowest cost over the service life of the vehicle. Let’s take a closer look at some of the fuel economy options available:
Using data from FleetCarma’s database, vehicles spend on average 31% of their operating time idling. In order to address the issue of idle times Ford developed Auto Start-Stop and made it available as an add-on to all Ford Fusions. Previously offered on their hybrids, they are built using a 12-volt battery and a more efficient starting motor. The technology even takes climate control into account, with the temperature and humidity sensors indicating to the start-stop control when to turn the engine back on so that the cabin is more comfortable. Ford estimates that the Start-Stop technology can improve overall fuel efficiency by 3.5 to 10% depending on the drive cycle. The ‘engine stop’ technology is initiated when the vehicle is stopped and the brake pedal is applied; the start is initiated as soon as the driver’s foot releases the brake pedal.
EcoBoost Technology is available on 4 of the 5 conventional models as well as the Hybrid model. EcoBoost provides 20% improvement in fuel economy and a 15% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, while improving the overall performance of the engine. An EcoBoost engine features both turbocharging as well as direct injection in order to increase fuel efficiency for a downsized engine.
Turbocharging involves forcibly pumping more air into the engine. The pump works by using the engine exhaust to rotate a turbine wheel. This turbine is coupled with a compressor which pressurizes the air entering the engine for a better fuel efficiency. Direct injection involves injecting very precise amounts of fuel into each combustion chamber in order to maximize the vehicle’s performance.
The Ford Fusion Hybrid is rated at 47 MPG in both highway and city, and Ford is claiming it will be the most fuel-efficient vehicle in its class. The 4 cylinder Atkinson gasoline engine has been downsized to 2.0 liters for an even greater improvement in fuel economy. The Fusion switches between battery and gas power seamlessly, with most drivers only noticing due to the onboard display.
One of the most interesting developments concerning the Fusion Hybrid is an EV+ mode. The EV+ mode studies a driver’s habits and patterns over the course of 2-4 weeks and then takes this data into account when deciding which energy source to use. For example, with this mode engaged the Fusion can detect when you are approaching home (or another frequent destination) and switch to electric only mode.
The Fusion Hybrid will soon be joined by the Fusion Energi, which is a plug in model which Ford expects will achieve more than 100 MPG equivalent.
Fuel Economy: A ‘Fusion’ of powertrain and performance
It was recently reported that with the 1.6 L EcoBoost engine the Ford Fusion can hit a whopping 47 mpg with EcoBoost. Although to be fair, that particular test was run under extremely ideal conditions: a warm August day, closed track, where the vehicles traveled between 30 and 40 mph (48-64 kph). Officially that version of the Fusion is EPA rated at 25 mpg in the city and 37 mpg highway. This type of test indicates the importance of driver behavior no matter what version of the vehicle is purchased. We’re excited see some real world data from driver’s to show the fuel economy achievable by ordinary drivers in everyday weather conditions. EPA ratings for all 2013 Ford Fusion powertrains can be found here.
Overall it is an exciting trend, inviting potential buyers into the conversation about what vehicle best suits their needs and putting them in the ‘driver’s seat’ in terms of how their vehicle will end up. Perhaps in the vehicle market of tomorrow driver’s will walk into dealerships aware of their driving styles and habits and knowing what exactly they need out of a vehicle.