Recently, we had the opportunity to test out a 2017 Ford Fusion Energi for a week. We thought it would be fun to see what it’s like to live with an Electric Vehicle.
There’s no denying that EVs are the future. Every year, there are more offerings popping up in this segment. They range from econoboxs to high end luxury cars. The Fusion Energi falls somewhere in the middle.
The Energi is a plug-in hybrid. Simply put, it’s a hybrid with the ability to drive on electric only mode for extended periods of time, and the ability to charge the larger battery pack by plugging in.
So what did Mr. like most about this Plug-in Hybrid?
What He Likes
How much it drives like a normal car.
Other than the complete silence in EV mode, there’s nothing unfamiliar about the driving experience. The acceleration is smooth and linear. The regenerative brakes work seamlessly. One of the most memorable things that happened during the week was seeing Leaf owners standing by their cars in the IKEA parking lot, waiting for the plug to be freed up so they can plug in. One guy even had a little sign he put on the windshield that said “in need of a charge, please plug me in!” (They had 4 EV parking spots but only 2 plugs). A plug-in hybrid like the Energi is the EV for people that want an EV without the EV “lifestyle”.
Nice place to be; easy on the eyes.
Inside and out, the Energi is a beautiful car. The Interior is filled with soft touch material. The dash, the door panel, and the centre console are thickly padded with beautiful brown leather. The seat bolsters are cross-stitched like you’d find on expensive Italian furniture. It’s also got all the toys you’d expect from a $50k car. You are taking no comfort penalties from this EV.
The exterior holds all the good looks of the standard Fusion, with smooth yet strong lines running front to back. The only thing giving it away was the LED lit charging port cover, which is a subtle yet practical touch (it shows you the charging status).
The week long gas bill
Starting from a full tank of gas but no battery, we drove 408km and paid $12 to fill up. That’s an average of 2.9L/100km!
Fully charged, the Energi has an EV range of 35km. That may not sound a lot, but with the gas motor on board you have nothing to worry about. For me 35km was more than enough for me to get to and from work.
What She Likes
Don’t touch my seat!
For those who never met Mr. and me in person, we’re 10 inches apart in height. So you can imagine what a pain in the you-know-what it is to adjust the driver’s seat back and forth in our older vehicle. Manually. Every single time. Cue the Memory Power Seat of the Energi. There are two preset buttons that allow us to remember our respective seating preferences. When it was my turn to drive the Energi, all I had to do is to press a button, and voila, it’s in the perfect position, perfectly for me! Oh, and the side mirrors adjust themselves as well! What a time saver!
Watch the leaves grow
As a marketer, I totally understand how gamification works. Reward users with something and they will be hooked. On the dash, you can switch to the “Efficiency Leaves” screen and you can see leaves fall off or sprout on the branch based on how you’re driving. The more efficient you’re driving, the longer and the more leaves would be on the branch. What a cute idea to demonstrate fuel efficiency — and it did motivate me to pay more attention when braking, or giving it more or less gas.
Is the car on?
It’s amazing how quiet the car is when you first start the engine. Every time I would ask myself, is the car on? Then, when driving on the electric-only mode, it’s just as quiet even though I may be driving 50-60km/h. I enjoy the quietness so much, I wish the EV range could be longer. 35km is not bad for city driving; but for me who sometimes travel between Richmond and Coquitlam, 35km isn’t even enough for a one-way trip.
Where’s the next charging station?
Because this is my first time driving an electric vehicle, I wasn’t sure how easy it is to charge the car. Turns out it’s quite convenient to charge your EV in Vancouver. Many big box retail outlets have EV charging stations in their parking lot to attract customers, such as IKEA and Canadian Tire. One evening we went to Granville Island for dinner and they have charging stations right there, so our car ate while we ate! Many major parking lots in downtown Vancouver also have charging stations. In fact, there’s one right at my office building parkade!
Most charging stations are free to use, either by using a credit card to activate, or by signing up for a free account using an app. To look up charging stations, we suggest PlugShare. It’s well reviewed and we found it very easy to use.
Here are the couple drawbacks of the Energi as per Mr.:
The biggest issue is the lack of trunk space. The added battery pack had to go somewhere, and so the trunk suffered. It might be just good enough for a weekend get away, but there’s no space for full or even midsized luggage.
The Energi is on the slow side, and you do feel the added heft over the standard Fusion. But that’s a small price to pay to achieve 2.9L/100km.
The Fusion Energi is a great choice for someone that wants the experience of an EV, with the good looks of the Fusion (which arguably is the best looking midsize sedan), and the convenience of a gas motor, without suffering any range anxiety.
Disclosure: The vehicle was provided to us for a one-week test drive complimentary of Ford Canada. However, the views and opinions expressed in this post are purely our own.