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PHOTO CAPTION: Ford Fusion Energy electric hybrid

Will Ford's Electric Hybrid Really Get 100 MPG?

MPGe refers to how many miles the car can go on an amount of electricity equivalent to a gallon of gasoline.

Published: 12-Jan-2012

Ford unveiled its new Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week. It didn't say much about the car, except that it will get something like 100 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe), which is better than the Chevrolet Volt or the upcoming Toyota Prius plug-in, and that it will go on sale toward the end of this year.

Of course, 100 miles per gallon equivalent sounds impressive. Unfortunately, the MPGe figure is not very meaningful. It's useful as a way of comparing the efficiency of cars when they are operating in electric mode, but for a plug-in hybrid, which can run part time on gasoline, it doesn't tell drivers what they really want to know: how much gas the car will use and how much it will cost to operate.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency definition, MPGe is meant to describe the efficiency of the vehicle when operating using electricity alone, which in a plug-in hybrid is typically only a relatively short range—the Chevrolet Volt can go about 35 miles on the electricity stored in its battery. MPGe refers to how many miles the car can go on an amount of electricity equivalent to a gallon of gasoline.

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