Ford is set to release two plug-in vehicles this year, responding to competing vehicles from General Motors, Nissan, and Toyota.

The automaker is ramping up production of its all electric Focus, delivering the first vehicle to Google last week. The electric Focus has a range of 80-100 miles, with Ford boasting it can fully charge in 3 hours – half the time of Nissan’s Leaf using a 220 volt charger.

Like other electric vehicles on the market, the electric Focus comes with a premium price – $39,995 before a $7,500 federal tax credit. 

Ford this week surprised some observers by announcing a second plug-in vehicle, the 2013 Fusion Energi.  The mid-size Sedan will feature a hybrid system similar to its current model that utilizes an electric motor paired with a 4 cylinder gasoline engine. On a full charge the vehicle can travel up to 20 miles fully electric provided it does not exceed 62 miles per hour. 

When running on gas Ford projects the vehicle will achieve 47 mpg in the city and 44 on the highway. When factoring in the electric only portion of travel, they say the car will achieve 100 MPGe (mile per gallon equivalency).  That will exceed the rated fuel efficiency of both the Chevy Volt and the upcoming Toyota Prius plug-in when those vehicles are running on gas.

Non-hybrid versions of the Fusion will also get an economy boost this year. The gas-only Fusion will use a 4 cylinder engine model that offers the same performance as the current model’s larger engines.  Fuel economy overall is estimated at 26 mpg city, 37 mpg highway on the 1.6 liter 4 cylinder engine offered in the base model.  The engine will also shut off automatically when at a stop light and will restart when the driver lifts his or her foot off the brake pedal. 

While the brand is American, initial production won’t be.  The car will be manufactured at Ford’s facilities in Mexico with additional production taking place in Michigan.  It will begin appearing in Ford dealerships in North and South America this fall, followed by Europe and Asia next year under its Mondeo brand.  Ford will be building a number of vehicles off the Fusion’s platform, reducing overall production and design costs. Pricing for the new vehicle will be announced later this year.

Toyota, Mitsubishi, Tesla, and Honda are also slated to introduce new plug-in vehicles this year. General Motors will be releasing a Cadillac based on the Chevy Volt’s platform as well. 

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