Ford Fusion Energi Approved For Carpool Lanes

By Staff Reporter , Feb 22, 2013 11:47 AM EST

Ford announced its Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid is approved for California carpool lanes.

Carpool lane access was granted to the vehicle by CARB (The California Air Resources Board), Ford announced Thursday, Feb. 21. It is the ninth Ford vehicle to qualify since 1993 and the third Ford vehicle currently sold to qualify. The two others include the all-electric Focus EV and the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid. To gain access to the lanes, a vehicle must be eligible for tax rebates through California's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, which CARB oversees. Qualifying vehicles earn an HOV sticker.

"That Ford has the most 2013 vehicles eligible for HOV lane access in the largest electrified vehicle market in the U.S. underscores our success in truly offering power of choice, especially when it comes to electric and hybrid powertrains," says Group Marketing Manager for Ford Electrification C.J. O'Donnell.

Those who buy a Ford Fusion Energi are eligible to receive a tax rebate of $1,500 as well as $3,750 federal tax credit. Tax rebates and carpool lane access are geared toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting lower gas consumption. To qualify for the programs, CARB must classify the vehicle as a super ultra-low emission vehicle. The vehicle must also earn certification through the U.S. EPA by offering fuel economy of at least 45 mpg for highways. This makes cars such as the Fusion Energi ideal candidates.

"Fusion Energi is Ford's most fuel-efficient sedan and offers a top electric-only speed of up to 85 mph," O'Donnell says. "Californians clearly appreciate the environmental benefit, too, which is why we are seeing the state's programs embrace Ford's electrified lineup."

The Fusion Energi is a plug-in version of the company's redesigned Fusion sedan. It includes a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that is paired with an electric motor to make for a total of 188 horsepower. The electric motor is powered by a lithium-ion battery that drivers can charge with a 120- or 240-volt charger. The EPA rates the vehicle at 100 miles per gallon equivalent. It has an electric-only range of 21 miles and a gas and electric range of 620 miles. Its regular EPA ratings are 41 mpg for city, 44 for highway and 43 combined.

Programs such as those in California are being embraced at a growing rate in other states as well. In Ferndale, Mich., drivers can park for free at parking meters if they drive a hybrid that gets 30 mpg or better. Hybrid vehicle drivers in Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia also get lane-driving benefits.

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