Ford Motor Co. had some good news for California drivers Thursday: Its Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid had been approved for use in the state's carpool lanes.
The Fusion plug-in is the third Ford vehicle currently sold that is eligible for the much-coveted HOV sticker, which allows owners to use their cars in the carpool lanes with only a single passenger.
Ford's all-electric Focus EV and it C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid are also eligible for the stickers.
The Dearborn, Mich., automaker said it's one of only two companies offering three vehicles that are HOV eligible. Toyota's also a trio that is welcome to use carpool lanes: the Prius Plug-in, RAV4 EV and Scion iQ EV.
The Energi is the plug-in version of Ford's recently redesigned Fusion sedan. Its $39,495 starting price is a hefty increase from the base gas model's $22,495 window sticker. To offset the cost, Ford points out that the plug-in version is eligible for a $1,500 state tax rebate and as much as a $3,750 federal tax credit.
The Energi is powered by a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine, which Ford pairs with an electric motor for a total of 188 horsepower. Power is fed to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission.
The electric motor is powered by a lithium-ion battery, which owners can charge with either a 120- or 240-volt charger.
Ford said the Fusion Energi is rated by the EPA at 100 miles per gallon equivalent. Its electric-only range is 21 miles and its gas and electric range is 620 miles. The car's regular EPA ratings are 41 mpg in the city, 44 on the highway, and 43 combined.
When the Fusion Energi rolls into dealerships in the coming months, it will join the Honda Accord as the only mid-size sedans currently sold with a plug-in hybrid model available. Like the Ford, Honda's Accord plug-in is also eligible for carpool access.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times