2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: the new pace car for the Ford 400 race

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 26, 2010

Given the privileges to serve as the official pace cars for this year’s Ford 400 competition are the new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and the new 2010 Fusion Sport. To serve as the pace car at the start of the race – leading the field – is the Fusion Hybrid. Meanwhile, the pace car for the remainder of the race is the new 263-hp Ford Fusion Sport.

Having the Fusion Hybrid as the pace car in Ford 400 marks a new milestone, since this will be the first time in NASCAR history that a hybrid vehicle is the pace car in the Sprint Cup Series. The Ford 400 is the third and final race of Ford Championship Weekend.

According to Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas, the new Ford Fusion raised the stake in the mid-size sedan segment by offering outstanding fuel economy and fun-to-drive factor. He quipped that the new Fusion Hybrid serving as pace car for the Ford 400 demonstrates what their customers want -- fuel economy and fun – adding that the race will provide a peek of the capability of the hybrid model.

Fields is tasked to wave the green flag at the start of the Ford 400. Interestingly, the new Ford Fusion Hybrid could run in electric mode at speeds up to 47 mph. Moreover, a single tank of fuel is enough for the new Ford Fusion Hybrid to cruise on city streets to over 700 miles. Ford expects its hybrid offering to surpass the mileage numbers of the Toyota Camry hybrid by at least five mpg in city driving.

Ford’s latest hybrid offering features a smaller, lighter high-volt battery that has a higher charge capacity and wider range than those of its current generation battery that is installed in the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid. Gil Portalatin, Hybrid Applications Manager, noted that since the new Ford Fusion Hybrid could cruise at higher speeds in electric mode, it allows drivers to do more in city-driving situations.

He added that under the right conditions, the new Ford Fusion Hybrid could be driven in the neighborhood or mall parking lots without consuming a drop of gasoline. Carl Edwards, a NASCAR Fusion driver, remarked that it was only appropriate to have the 2010 Fusion Hybrid pace the Ford 400. He noted that the Ford Fusion already boasts of having great fuel mileage, just like his NASCAR Fusion race car.

He described as “cool” the hybrid version of the Fusion, which is already the best-in-class in terms of fuel economy. He remarked he hopes to be on the pole position next week at the Homestead so he would be driving right behind the Fusion Hybrid pace car at the start of the race.

Edwards has already claimed eight Sprint Cup races this season and is vying for championships in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races at Homestead.

During the race, the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Fusion Sport be in racing-inspired camouflage, since both cars are yet to be officially unveiled at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. Ford will commence sales of the new Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Fusion Sport in the spring of 2009.

Press Release

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid Will Set the Pace at Homestead

This year s race, however, will bring the Ford excitement to an all-new level, as the pace cars for the Ford 400 will be the all-new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, along with the all-new, 2010 Fusion Sport.
The Fusion Hybrid, which will debut Ford s next-generation hybrid system, will lead the field to the green flag for the start of the Ford 400, the third and final race of Ford Championship Weekend. This will be a truly historic occasion, as it will mark the first time in NASCAR history that a hybrid vehicle has served as a pace car in the Sprint Cup Series.

And after the Fusion Hybrid leads the field to the start of the race, the all-new, 263-horsepower Fusion Sport will serve as the pace car for the remainder of the race. Put simply, this is big news on a lot of levels an historic moment for NASCAR and for Ford Motor Co., the debut of a car that truly is a game-changer.

The new Ford Fusion ups the ante in the mid-size sedan segment with outstanding fuel economy but retains what made it standout from the competition from the beginning the fun-to-drive factor, said Mark Fields, Ford s president of The Americas, who will wave the green flag at the start of Sunday s Ford 400. The Fusion Hybrid pacing the Ford 400 showcases exactly what our customers want, fuel economy and fun and we re pleased to be able to offer racing fans a glimpse of what s to come at Sunday s race.

Just how revolutionary is the Ford Fusion Hybrid? It can operate in electric mode at speeds up to 47 mph with a range of more than 700 miles of city driving on a single tank of gas. Although final results aren t yet in, the Fusion Hybrid is expected to best the Toyota Camry hybrid by at least five mpg in city driving.

A smaller, lighter high-volt battery has greater charge capacity and range than Ford s current generation battery, as found in the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid, which is the most fuel-efficient SUV on the planet.

Because our hybrid can run at a much higher speed in electric mode, you can do so much more in city-driving situations, said Gil Portalatin, Hybrid Applications Manager. Under the right conditions, you can drive in your neighborhood or mall parking lots without using a drop of gasoline.

It s really appropriate that Ford is bringing the 2010 Fusion Hybrid to pace the Ford 400, said Carl Edwards, who already has won eight Sprint Cup races this season and will be competing for championships in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races at Homestead. The Fusion already gets great fuel mileage. And I sure know that my NASCAR Fusion gets great fuel mileage after the way we recently won the Texas race. But for Ford to come out with a hybrid version of the Fusion, that s best-in-class in terms of fuel economy, is really cool.

It makes a great car even better, Edwards continued. I just hope that I can be on the pole next week at Homestead, so I can be running up right behind it at the start of the race.

The Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Fusion Sport will feature racing-inspired camouflage, since they won t be officially unveiled until the Los Angeles International Auto Show three days later. They will be available in dealer showrooms in the spring of 2009.

The 2010 Fusion Hybrid has already been recognized for its significance in advancing green technology and improving environmental performance by the Green Car Journal. The Fusion Hybrid has been named one of Green Car Journal s Top 5 for 2009, being a finalist for the magazine s top award, Green Car of the Year, which is scheduled to be announced at the L.A. Auto Show.

The 2009 Ford Fusion is among the vehicles that have received SmartWay certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a partner of NASCAR. The SmartWay designation is earned by vehicles meeting EPA-set Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gas Scores.

Among NASCAR s vehicle partners, a variety of makes and models have received the EPA SmartWay designation, providing drivers with a range of options whether they re looking for a compact car, mid-size sedan or sport utility vehicle.

Consumers visiting the Ford displays at Homestead will see a variety of these EPA SmartWay vehicles, including the 2009 Fusion, 2009 Taurus and the 2009 Focus.

Ford has sponsored a racing version of the Fusion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since 2006. It has captured 22 series wins since its debut, including 10 this season.

The 2010 model NASCAR Fusion will make its competition debut at the 2009 Daytona 500 in February and will be unveiled to consumers during Ford Championship Weekend.

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