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Shameless plug(-in): Ford updates Fusion Energi for 2017

Ford's updated sedan posesses the longest total range of any PHEV.

The plug-in hybrid Fusion Hybrid Energi features a 7.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery for an expected range of 19 miles using electric power only. Fusion Energi automatically switches to a 2.0-liter I-4 Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine when the battery is depleted, allowing customers to drive extended distances of more than 500 miles using the combination of electric and gas power.

Range is a beautiful thing. As battery technology improves, automakers are seeing their electrified efforts reach into the hundreds of miles. When it comes to plug-in hybrids, total range can expand well beyond traditional gas or electric cars. And now, the newest plug-in has pushed the envelope once again.

Earlier this year, Ford unveiled its updated 2017 Fusion midsize sedan. Now, that update extends to the Fusion Energi, the Blue Oval's plug-in hybrid variant. Thanks to updates to its powertrain software and regenerative braking systems, total range (including both gasoline and electricity) jumps to an EPA-estimated 610 miles.

That figure puts it ahead of every other plug-in on the market, with a solid 60 miles more range than before.

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Ford's 2017 Fusion Hybrid Energi is good for 21 miles of electric-only range.

Ford

However, its worth noting that the Fusion's electric-only range is but 21 miles, which puts it behind other PHEVs like the Hyundai Sonata, which has nearly 30 miles of all-electric range. So while it does have one best-in-class figure, it's not the true king of the mountain. Nevertheless, it's bound to be a solid cross-shop for buyers who plan to go electric but want the safety of a gas engine.

Not that the public necessarily understands plug-in hybrids yet. In the Fusion Energi's press release, Ford cites a March 2016 Harris poll, where respondents believed that the longest plug-in range available is 261 miles. So, before folks start buying these in droves, a bit more education might need to happen first.