My recent story explaining that the cost to operate an EV vs. a hybrid drew sharp criticism from EV owners. Most owners objected to the efficiency ratings assigned to the EV by the EPA, the cost of electricity I used, and the general premise that anyone should ever question EVs in any way. This story will be hard to call one-sided since the car we did the fuel cost calculations for is both an EV and also a hybrid and can be operated in either mode. What I found is that the 2015 Ford Fusion Energi is a very polished car that sips electrons or gasoline.
Ford Fusion Energi Used as an EV
In my examination, I was able to lock out the gasoline engine and operate the Fusion Energi in EV-only mode to see how it does an EV. I recorded 2.8 miles per kWh and 3.7 miles per kWh on short trips totaling 20 miles. The type of driving and the type of driver make a difference just like with a gasoline car. Splitting the difference and calling it 3.25 miles per kWh means that at my 18.8 cents per kWh NSTAR rate for electricity in Mass., the vehicle would cost me 5.8 cents per mile to operate.
I had intended to do a calculation of the gasoline-only mode, but the car objects. The way the Fusion propels itself, and the way I was able to record the gasoline used, did not allow me to drive simply without the EV mode on for at least part of the time. However, we can use the EPA’s estimated 38 MPG combined to get a guestimate of what the cost per mile might be if the Fusion Energi was able to run strictly a gas-fueled hybrid vehicle. Using the fuel prices in my area of $2.90 for regular unleaded the Fusion Energi would cost about 7.6 cents per mile.
Total Energy Costs of the Ford Fusion Energi
Over 464.5 miles of driving the Fusion Energi consumed 8.345 gallons of gasoline (measured at the pump), and the car tells me it used 35.1 kWh. Doing the math the Fusion Energi provides a very respectable 6.6 cents per mile. By comparison, a Ford Fusion with the standard 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine would cost 11 cents per mile. Fueleconomy.gov says that the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in costs drivers $800 less per year in fuel costs. Over a 10-year life span that would equate to $8,000 in fuel savings.
Fusion Energi Compared to Fusion Gasoline Engine Cost
The 2014 Ford Fusion Energi had an MSRP of $40,535. Deduct from that $4007 in federal tax deduction, and the $1,500 the taxpayers of the commonwealth of Mass. would return to an owner, and finally the $8,000 in fuel savings and the car would “cost” $27,008. Just about the same as a similarly equipped Ford Fusion with a conventional gasoline engine.
- Added post publication However, the 2015 Fusion costs $3k less, and at the time of this story, Ford was offering $5k off the vehicle in incentives. Based on our analysis, the Fusion Energi Plug-in is less expensive by between $3k and $5K. An amazingly great deal.
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Note: Vehicle tested was a 2014 Ford Fusion Energi SE. The drivetrain and ratings are the same for 2015. At the time of publication the 2015 model year vehicles were on dealer lots.