by Jim harrison
The Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid automobile is one of the most “automated” vehicles on the road today. The car has more than 148 actuators, 4,717 signals, and 86 sensors that produce more than 25 Gbytes of data/hour. They have MyFord Mobile and SmartGauge connections to your cell phone, along with the most complete array of driver assist technologies available. This includes a lane-keeping system, adaptive cruise control, a rear camera, a blind spot detector, active park assist, and a driver alert system. There are more than 70 processors on board this car.
The driver alert system that uses a forward looking camera to monitor the vehicle position in the lane and calculate a vigilance level for the driver. If this vigilance level drops below a certain value (e.g. potentially indicating the driver is tired), the vehicle will issue a visual and audible warning.
The plug-in hybrid car has an 8 KWH Li-ion battery and can be fully charged from a standard 220 V charge station in just 2.5 hours. It yields 108 MPGe in city driving using a CVT transmission driven from a 141 HP Atkinson Cycle 4–cylinder gasoline motor and a 54 HP electric motor.
There is also the Fusion Hybrid (not plug-in), which is priced from $27,200. The plug-in version is about $3,000 more. These are really impressive cars with what seems like excellent build quality along with their obvious technology advantages.