"On a test drive of a Fusion Hybrid last week in West L.A. traffic, I managed, without much trouble, to get 52 mpg in mixed city-highway driving.
Wait, so, has somebody invented the car of the future and didn't tell us?"
For all the game-changing glow around the Ford Fusion Hybrid, it's actually a fairly conservative and programmatic approach to gas-electric propulsion. The system is an evolution of the hybrid system in the Ford Escape. The battery is nickel-metal hydride, not lithium (lithium chemistry batteries are lighter and more energy-dense, but they are also expensive and finicky, which is to say, flammable).
The nickel battery will please many in the green-car movement who argue that the search for the perfect battery -- a la the Chevy Volt -- has only delayed development of the good.
So, is this the better mousetrap we've been waiting for? Well, there's a problem. The price of gas has dropped by two-thirds in six months, thereby de-motivating buyers who might have been willing to bear the incremental cost of a hybrid. What we really need is an increased federal gas tax, but the chances of that getting passed in Congress are comparable to my chances of being named Miss Universe."
Thanks to Mike Keenly