Yesterday, we reported on how Ford CEO Mark Fields is telling anybody who will listen that people have little to no interest in buying electric cars, a message we are getting from BMW as well. Today, Inside EVs released their most recent EV sales figures, which show that one out of every ten Ford Fusions sold is a the plug-in hybrid Energi model. In fact, Fusion Energi sales are up 70% for the year through the end of November.
Since January, sales of the Fusion Energi have surged, despite the fact that gasoline prices remain at historically low levels. Fields may believe that consumer have little interest in electric cars, but he clearly overlooks their strong interest in cars that are fuel efficient. Last month, Ford sold 1,817 Fusion Energi plug-in hybrids. That is up 92% over November, 2015. In all, the Fusion is one of Ford’s best selling cars, accounting for 44% of all its car sales last month. Since the Fusion Energi was introduced, Ford has sold over 42,000 of them.
What’s the takeaway from all this? Mark Fields should definitely get out of his office more and talk to his senior managers. While he is yapping about how there is no market for electric cars, the market is making him look like a fool. Part of the surge in Fusion Energi sales may be traceable to Ford’s claim that it has the longest range of any PHEV in America. While that is technically true, the vast majority of that range comes from burning gasoline in the car’s internal combustion engine. The Fusion Energi only has a fairly modest range on battery power of just 21 miles.
The success of the Fusion Energi is good news for one of Ford’s competitors. The new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan is also a plug-in hybrid and actually has even more total range than the Fusion Energi. It has a battery only range of 30 miles, which is close to how far the average American driver travels during a normal day. That means the owner of a Pacifica Hybrid could potentially drive most of the time on electric power alone.
Interests in plug-in hybrids seems to be climbing as more and more people learn how efficient they are. Although they are not true battery electric vehicles, they offer many of the same benefits at significantly lower cost. Plug-in hybrids may prove to be the critical link between conventional cars and electric cars. In battery only mode, the look, feel, and sound like an electric car. That’s a good thing. The more people who learn the pleasures of driving on electrons rather than hydrocarbons, the sooner the electric car revolution will be complete.
Source: Inside EVs