I was not surprised to see Ford’s impressive Fusion hybrid made North American car of the year for 2010. This handsome Mondeo-size saloon benefits from a proper fully-hybrid system, which has been fitted into an otherwise standard car. Under the bonnet is a 2.5-litre four-pot petrol Atkinson cycle engine and automatic transmission, with a substantial electric motor (see picture below) sandwiched between the two. Behind the rear seat is a chunky nickel-metal hydride battery.

Because it’s a full hybrid, the Fusion can manage 47mph on batteries alone and with the electric motor and engine both fully on stream, it can put out 191bhp. The Fusion Hybrid even has an affordable base price of $28,000, around £18,000 at today’s exchange rate.


I was particularly intrigued by the car when it was launched earlier in the new year, because the next Fusion will be merged in the next-generation Mondeo world car project. So something very similar to this Fusion could appear in the UK in 2013.

However, when I got face-to-face with the Fusion’s technology and Ford’s techy Detroit stand, I was shocked by the sheer complexity and expense involved in engineering the Fusion Hybrid. In an instant I also wondered whether the car industry has sent itself up a developmental dead-end.