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Great Trip Car Needs Larger Trunk And Rolling Recharge Capability

AutoblogGreen's Gary Witzenburg takes a Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid on a long trip to Branson, and discovers a few things he likes, a few he doesn't

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The annual autofest known as the North American International Auto Show previews a plethora of exciting new products that we'll see and drive later in the year, from tiny urban commuters to family sedans and crossovers to hard-working big pickups and SUVs. It's also a once-a-year cornucopia of auto executives and leaders from around the world.

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A refreshed Ford Focus is in the works and that means a few details are leaking out. Spy shots from last month indicated the Focus will have a gaping grille just like its "One Ford" global C-segment comrade, the Fiesta. While Ford is being quiet about it, the Focus could also be getting an "Energi" option, joining the C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi in Ford's plug-in hybrid family.

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The C-Max Solar Energi Hybrid's estimated combined fuel economy is 100 mpg

Ford plans to unveil at this month's International CES gadget show a solar-powered concept car that offers the same performance as a plug-in hybrid but without the need for a plug.

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In a sort of "man bites dog" development for the green-car set, Ford plug-in hybrid drivers are hooking themselves up to charging stations at a greater frequency than drivers of the automaker's pure battery-electric Focus, Green Car Reports says, citing a presentation Ford's Mike Tinskey made in oh-so-green Portland, Oregon.

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When car owners brag about buying a plug-in electric vehicle, it's not unusual to hear them mention high occupancy vehicle (HOV) carpool lane stickers as one of the key perks. Thus, it wasn't surprising to see Ford issue a press release saying New York car buyers can now get carpool lane stickers for the all-new Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

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It was lucky for me that GM's recent media forum on its electrification efforts was in San Francisco, since I would already be there for the press launch for the Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid. And GM promised a session with its new global product guru, Mary Barra, and a brief drive of a prototype 2014 Chevy Spark EV.

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Who says being first to the party is all that and a bag of chips? Ford has announced a new deal where GE will buy 2,000 C-Max Energi Plug-In Hybrids, which is cool, but it's not the only batch of plug-ins that GE is interested in. The company previously made deals with both Nissan and GM.

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Adding EV Capacity To Ford's Ultra-Flexible C-Max

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Mercedes-Benz may have branded the Smart Car, but Ford is trying hard to lay its own claim to that title.

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In addition to achieving an EPA-rated 21 miles of electric range, Ford now has another thing to celebrate about its new C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid. California customers of the new compact MPV will get full rights to use carpool lanes with or without an additional passenger.

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Well, this certainly isn't going to end the way Ford continues to compare its C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid to its competition from the Toyota Prius family. Beating earlier expectations that it would be rated at 95 MPGe (but meeting even earlier expectations), Ford has announced that the Energi has been rated at 100 MPGe combined (that's 108 city, 92 on the highway). Yes, that makes it "America's most fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid," as Ford so proudly states in a new press release, available below

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To get an accurate reading of how a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle performs in battery-only mode and in overall extended range, two experiences are useful: lots of behind-the-wheel driving time under various driving conditions (altitude, climate temperature, average speed driven, stop-start, etc.) or a detailed conversation with the chief engineer who designed the car.

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While Ford's new Fusion Hybrid is designed to put money back into the pockets of fuel-conscious consumers, some patent attorneys may also be a little more flush as well.

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A lot happened at this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit. One way to sum it up: there will be stunningly beautiful hybrids coming our way. Detroit always has been the place for automakers to show off their latest and greatest, and now that includes the latest generation of hybrid and electric vehicles. Here are our favorites:

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Along with the standard and hybrid versions of the 2013 Fusion, Ford brought something completely different – for the mid-size segment, anyway – to the Detroit Auto Show this morning with the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid. It's the cleanest of the trio and it shows that Ford is ready to introduce a big change to the competitive (and somewhat staid) mid-size class.

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Along with the standard and hybrid versions of the 2013 Fusion, Ford brought something completely different – for the mid-size segment, anyway – to the Detroit Auto Show this morning with the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid. It's the cleanest of the trio and it shows that Ford is ready to introduce a big change to the competitive (and somewhat staid) mid-size class.

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Your eyes do not deceive you – the sleek, pretty, low-slung sedan you see above is indeed the 2013 Ford Fusion. But don't think that the 2013 Fusion is all beauty and no brains. Ford is preparing the new Fusion, as well as its Hybrid and Energi fuel-mizing siblings, to be the most fuel-efficient, best-driving, tech-packed range of sedans in the mid-size segment.

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Your eyes do not deceive you – the sleek, pretty, low-slung sedan you see above is indeed the 2013 Ford Fusion. But don't think that the 2013 Fusion is all beauty and no brains. Ford is preparing the new Fusion, as well as its Hybrid and Energi fuel-mizing siblings, to be the most fuel-efficient, best-driving, tech-packed range of sedans in the mid-size segment.

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