Ford Motor Co.'s rate of technology is being accelerated in order to enable its new Fusion to beat the Camry Hybrid of Toyota Motor Corp. once it goes on sale later this year, Ford revealed. The automaker now has 461 patents related to gasoline-electric systems compared to only 30 ten years ago, according to chief engineer for hybrid and electric powertrains Chuck Gray.
He added that there are more on the way. The automaker has previously disclosed last month that the hybrid variant of its refurbished Fusion will get 44 miles per gallon in highway driving and 47 mpg in urban driving.
The latest Camry hybrid that went on sale in 2011 is rated at 39 mpg highway and 43 mpg city. Gray commented that it's good for the customer, adding that they "like to have this competition." He further stated that engineers may not be "the best athletes" all the time, but they are "very competitive people."
The rivalry between Toyota and Ford in hybrid sedan fuel-economy claims started when Ford launched the 2010 Fusion Hybrid, beating out Toyota's first gasoline-electric Camry.
While Toyota is still the biggest seller in terms of hybrids (thanks to its Prius models), Ford and other rivals want a larger market share for advanced technology autos. By 2020, Ford anticipates that hybrids, electric vehicles and plug-in automobiles will comprise 10% to 25% of worldwide sales, company spokesperson Wes Sherwood disclosed.
According to Ford, the 2013 hybrid Fusion will be available for sale in the second half of the year. Toyota has at least 2,000 patents for its hybrids, including at least 1,000 for the current Prius only, company spokesperson Jana Hartline said.
The U.S. rated the Prius hatchback as getting 48 mpg highway and 51 mpg city, or 50 mpg combined. This is the highest rating for any non-rechargeable auto. Last year, the automakers disclosed plans to join forces on a hybrid system that could be used for heavier models like large sport-utility vehicles and pickups.