2013 Fusion Hybrid helps Ford increase its hybrid patent portfolio to nearly 500

Article by Anita Panait, on February 15, 2012

The 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid is expected to become the America’s most fuel-efficient non-rechargeable sedan with its gas mileage of 47 mpg, thanks to the company’s electrified vehicle team and almost 500 hybrid technology patents. “Ford continued to invest to develop new products like our new Fusion hybrids during the depths of the economic downturn,” said Chuck Gray, the company’s chief engineer of Global Core Engineering Hybrid and Electric Vehicles, noting that the carmaker succeeded in transforming its line-up with leading fuel efficiency partly because of Ford inventors “who are helping make [its] Fusion Hybrid America’s most fuel-efficient sedan.”

One of Ford’s many inventors is Ming Kuang, who is responsible for increasing the company’s hybrid patent portfolio from 10 in 2000 to nearly 500 in 2012. The innovation of Kuang, a technical leader in vehicle controls at Ford Electrification Research and Advanced Engineering in Dearborn, Mich., are found all throughout Ford’s transformed hybrid line-up, with 40 of the 461 hybrid patents held by Ford carrying his name. Of the 40 patents, 25 are in production including key components of Ford’s innovative powersplit architecture system featured on the Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid.

The new Fusion Hybrid is expected to deliver 47 mpg in city driving and 44 mpg in the highway while Fusion Energi, which is due this fall, is anticipated to deliver over 100 MPGe, more than the projected efficiency of the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid model. One third of Ford’s hybrid line-up features a 40-mpg-or-more model this year. The company aims to offer fuel-efficiency-minded customers hybrid cars that suit their power drive. 

Kuang traces his dedication to creating hybrid-related inventions, which are currently among the most advanced technologies available on Ford’s hybrid cars, to his commitment to the environment. “The work on the Fusion Hybrid is all about a commitment I made a long time ago to have a positive effect on our environment,” said Kuang adding that his work is about helping make the world a better place for his children to live in.

Ford has long promised customers to release a vehicle that not only offers high visual quality but also makes use of enhanced materials with levels of craftsmanship brought to new heights. The model should also have that extra attention to detail placed on it. All of these are now possible with the new Ford Fusion.

Fusion chief engineer Adrian Whittle shared that for its craftsmanship process, the brand implemented a holistic goal of giving customers a vehicle that offers excellent visual experience while ensuring that quality is present. Program manager John Jraiche meanwhile commented that the Ford Fusion is truly a driver’s car. It has a number of features that make it a model that is fun to drive, he added.

Jraiche continued by saying that these include the electric power-assisted steering with the premium-level multi-link suspension in the rear and the MacPherson strut suspension for the front. With all of these, he further said, it makes the Fusion comparable not only to the BWM but even to the Audi. The main reason why the new Fusion gives off that feel is the inclusion of components that improve handling and ride and thus maximize the dynamics of the vehicle.

Thus the handling and ride team made sure to tune the Fusion so that it will have a dynamic quality that even the most seasoned enthusiast will appreciate. It is applicable to those just starting to drive as it can help increase their confidence. The interior is just as amazing as the surfaces now have a softer feel. Ford made sure that each edge and every surface would be upholstered.

Additionally, the gaps between the exterior and the interior have been minimized. Once inside, passengers are likely to notice the excellent levels of quietness resulting from the use of materials that absorb sound while helping lower the weight. There is also an acoustic shield placed on the underbody. Thus both powertrain noise and road noise are minimized.

These features not only help lower noise in the cabin but also help improve aerodynamics in order to improve the fuel efficiency. A new addition with this model is the full-perimeter hood seal which results in a quiet ride as well. On the outside, once you open the trunk lid, the trunk latch hardware is immediately hidden with the spring-loaded cover.

Topics: ford, ford fusion, hybrid

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