It wasn’t even a tanker truck either. A Ford Fusion hybrid could have been the new record holder for the pure stock “hypermiling” distance record with 15 more miles and would be the record holder for the gasoline powered mid-sized sedan had the Guinness Book of Records showed up. So Ford gets to bask in the glory even as the overall crown is retained by a diesel, a Peugeot 406 HDi model. Ford got this close with the efficiency and density disadvantage of gasoline. All things being equal the Ford Fusion could calculate another bunch of percents on to the total. It is a great way to show off. Works for me as the result is 81.5 mpg. That’s about triple of what I’m accustomed to, and when gas goes back up again I’m sure going to wish I had a Fusion.

Ford's Record Setting Fusion Hybrid Model

Ford's Record Setting Fusion Hybrid Model

The team of drivers included such luminaries, OK, I’m taking a license here, as the hypermiling king, Wayne Gerdes and the NASCAR driver Carl Edwards. They and the other drivers tag teamed the drive over three days on a loop course in and around Washington D.C.

Ford has the published range of the Fusion at about 700 miles making the trial a doubling of the “average” drivers expectation. Ford’s idea is to show that the simpler techniques used by hypermilers such as smooth and gentle acceleration, keeping to the speed limit, cutting back on things like heaters and air conditioners and keeping the aerodynamics intact with closed windows will have a dramatic effect on the fuel bill. Ford made clear that the sophisticated tricks and the dangerous ones were expressly not included in the driving techniques. It seems that the assertion such things as drafting behind big trucks and other high-risk techniques have a nearly useless payoff compared to the results from sound applications of the basics.

This maybe a bigger hero effort than many would suppose as Ford hasn’t needed to draw on the Federal government’s bailout money so far. With the world’s strongest pickup popular across the working world over the other manufacturers and a slim line of marques, just Ford, Lincoln and Mercury to support, Ford is enjoying less pressure than the other U.S. automakers. One has to give credit, the union has seen the light in the Ford plants, so much so that their jobs and benefits look to be much safer than workers at other companies. But when the GM Fed bailout takes effect and the bankruptcy court tosses the union contract at Chrysler, the need to reach deeper will again fall to the union members. Maybe they will remember the great value of their leadership in being constructive partners in the company can pay off handsomely and proudly. In full disclosure, this writer has exclusively owned Ford or Ford owned brand vehicles and it has been so for over 40 years. Fix Or Repair Daily days included.

But the car, or accurately the engineers and designers are the heroes here. At an EPA rated 41 mpg and still 36 mpg on the longer highway test the midsize Fusion is for most comparisons a large-scale improvement. Its also a much larger and comfortable car than the Pruis or Insight. While gas prices might be down for now, anything or anyone that uses fuel at prodigious rates will only bring the day of high prices back to everyone sooner. The Fusion only carries 17.5 gallons and that should get you past 700 miles. Much further than I can hold out from stopping.

One key that smart buyers and even smarter owners of all vehicles can learn was the team made a point of keeping speeds down. The savings apply to any vehicle, but Fusion hybrid owners can learn that under 47 mph the battery plays a much bigger role so helping get that total range so large. Considering the number of 45 mph roads I travel, that 47 mph setting is a great engineering choice.

Just so you know the course included elevation changes, the George Washington Parkway for some speed and a three-mile section with no less than 30 traffic signals. Drivers handed off to the next driver in 2 to 3 hour intervals and Edwards drove the night of the spectacular crash earlier in the day at Talladega.

One wonders though about minds like Edwards’ as after such a crash he’s excited by the Fusion. He is so impressed that he bought one.

Ford Fusion Hybrid Dashboard. Click image for more.

Ford Fusion Hybrid Dashboard. Click image for more.

One more bit. Ford has let some creativity slip loose. Across the automotive world there is acclaim over the new Fusion hybrid model’s new dashboard. It’s certainly cool enough with LED displays matching on the sides. The one on the right includes the fuel tank, a Miles per Gallon gauge and a slick running average of the miles per gallon. It even tells you the range remaining and changes the background to alert the careful about the near instant results of the driving techniques. Very slick. Proud to be an American product indeed.


2 Comments so far

  1. Dirnov on May 10, 2009 9:32 AM

    Greetings, Super post, Need to mark it on Digg
    Thank you

  2. Internet Marketer on January 16, 2010 3:48 PM


    You have a Great Blog, I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep it up.


Name (required)

Email (required)


Speak your mind