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Ford Introduces 2010 Fusion/Mercury Milan and Hybrid Versions; Wireless Diagnostic Data Collection

21 November 2008

by Jack Rosebro

10fusionhybrid_49_hr
Ford Fusion Hybrid. Click to enlarge.

Ford introduced its new-generation mid-size sedans, the 2010 Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan vehicles, with both conventional and hybrid powertrains, at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The hybrid versions of the Fusion and Milan are Ford Motor Company’s first mid-size, traditionally styled hybrid sedans to enter the marketplace, following the late Honda Accord hybrid as well as the current Chevrolet Malibu, Toyota Camry, and Saturn Aura hybrids.

Details on Ford’s new hybrid powertrain, elements of which are also used in the 2009-up Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner compact SUV hybrids, were initially revealed at the 2008 SAE Hybrid Symposium by Global Core Engineer Sherif Markaby (earlier post). Further details on both the hybrid and conventional Fusion and Milan powertrains were released by Ford last month (earlier post).

The Fusion/Milan hybrid’s driver information display features eco-driving encouragements in the form of SmartGauge with EcoGuide, which uses two high-resolution color liquid crystal display (LCD) screens on either side of an analog speedometer, which can be configured to show four different levels of information: Inform, Enlighten, Engage, and Empower. The Smartgauge displays “efficiency leaves” and vines to reward customers for efficient driving. (Earlier post.)

Ford also announced that the Fusion/Milan in-car SYNC communication and entertainment system, which was developed jointly by Ford and Microsoft, will periodically gather diagnostic information from the vehicle’s powertrain control modules and send the data to Ford in the form of a Vehicle Health Report (VHR) via an 800 number that is automatically dialed using the customer’s paired and operable mobile phone.

Many automakers package software into their powertrain networks that allows technicians and engineers to query the network and run an automated health check of the system by connecting proprietary diagnostic devices. However, Ford’s new Vehicle Health Reports will, in theory, allow the company to develop powertrain software updates faster and more accurately, using data collected from a much larger vehicle population than is sampled today.

The Fusion/Milan health reports represent a rare example of diagnostics-related telematics, which was once predicted to rapidly spread throughout the automotive industry. Most of today’s telematics applications are related to safety and convenience.

During the vehicle introductions, Ford President of the Americas Mark Fields announced that Ford would now update the styling of all of its vehicles every three years, and that “cars and crossovers” now represent the majority of Ford sales, as compared to being a minority sector a few years ago.

Ford expects the new vehicles to be in showrooms by spring 2009.

November 21, 2008 in Hybrids | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

Comment to the Editor,

While it is great to feature the diagnostic system I am perplexed.

With this being a "Green-Website" and all the fury about the "Big-3" being out of touch, Ford a Big-3er if you will has developed 2 models of the same platform with a Hybrid drivetrain that best the benchmark and much vaulted Camry by 6 mpg and not one word about that advancement and achievement?


How about a link to this all this info from the LA Auto Show?

enginegeek,
because the big3 have spent 30 yrs fighting cafe standards, airbags, etc. and for decades they built crappy gas guzzlers.
it's wonderful ford is doing this now, but maybe its too late.

There is only one company now in the hybrid market with any reasonable success. Others have offered models but have largely seen lackluster demand. So don't only blame the car companies. Consumers aren't so willing to "go the extra mile".

With half a dozen + similar hybrid models + 2 or 3 (100 + mpg) PHEVs Ford may qualify for bail out $$, if all those new more efficient models make it to the market place. Is that what they are trying to do?

If not........?

enginegeek:

Where does it say that this Ford Hybrid will do 6 mpg better than Toyota's 2010 hybrids? It could very well be the other way around.

enginegeek,

in the article are links to earlier pieces on the vehicle which details the fuel efficiency claims.

Harvey D, stop trying to read too much into people's comments and the previous news releases state the Fusion will best the Camry Hybrid by about 5mpg with no mention of future models (which you can not make any claims about until they are produced).

I see that everyone missed the point of how the diagnostics allow improved performance to be devised based on real world driving more quickly like having a massive "beta test" [of course Ford already did "beta testing" with their first hybrids...]

Annon:

How can anybody claim that a Ford 2010 hybrid will do better than its Toyota counterpart when the Toyota unit is not out yet?

Let us compare existing units with existing units not with past or future units.

Currently, Ford's hybrids do about 8 to 12 mpg less than Toyota's. What will it be in 2010, let's wait and see.

HarveyD:

How do you come up with the 8-12 mpg difference for current models?

2009 Ford (Escape 34/31)
2009 Toyota (Prius 48/45, Camry 33/34, and Highlander 27/25).

These vehicles aren't comparible.

I believe the article above (and previous articles) compare the Fusion to the Camry.

Harvey,

I might not have been clear:

I stated the Fusion hybrid is compared to the CURRENT model Camry hybrid at 5mpg better.

Annon:

I should have been more precise. What I really meant was the Toyota's current best hybrid does 8 to 12 mpg better than Ford's current best hybrid.

If Ford (and others) are trying to compare a Ford 2010 (to come) hybrid with a Toyota 2007/08 hybrid, I don't find the attempt very fair.

I have no doubts that Toyota can match Ford's 2010 hybrids in 2010, if Ford is still around to compete.

Toyota's 2010 hybrids may also do about 5 mpg better than their own 2008 models.

Yeah, but, like, what about Ford's 2018 models!?!? They're gonna get like 193 miles per gallon!!

*sarcasm*

I couldnt resist. I just had to.

Ford probably won't be around in 2018 anyways...but, maybe by then someone will have a PHEV...maybe...

Nate H.
Dover, Ohio

Ford finally has some cars that people may buy. Unfortunately the profit margins will be so small that they wont be able to repay the loans. And while I dont beleive the final mpg numbers will be as good as they claim, I can state with certainty that Ford dealers will charge such a premium over invoice that it will make it noncompetitive with everything else and keep sales low.

HarveyD:

You say that comparing a 2010 Fusion to a 2008 Camry is unfair. While different model years, both are mid size vehicles. By the way, the 2009 Camry Hybrid is rated at 33/34 (same as 2008).

I would contend that your comparison of a Prius to an Escape is poorer than the comparison of a Fusion to a Camry (even if they are one model year different). Comparing a small/mid size car to an SUV hardly makes sense. At the same time, why not state that the Prius gets 20+ better mpg than the Highlander.

I'm just glad to see the improvement. That means more choices for the consumer.

Will the new Ford GenII hybrid systems used on the Fusion and the 2011 Escape Hybrid still be close enough to Toyota's patents that the payments from Ford to Toyota will continue? Wikipedia seems to indicate that they might not, but Wiki isn't exactly what I would call a reliable source. But there aren't too many sources that even refer to the newer hybrid system Ford is developing.

Ziv:

You have a very good point.

Ford has been paying for the use of Toyota's hybrid technology for 3+ years and Ford can hardly claim that it is better.

Will Ford use Toyota's PHEV technology in the future? It may very be so because Ford cannot afford to develop their own.

It may be a good idea for Toyota to buy Ford while the price is very low but it may be even cheaper in a few weeks.

This is nice to see Ford finally deliver these vehicles (they'd planned on having them in dealerships several years ago originally before deciding not to invest much in hybrid technology).

It'll be good to have a reason (better MPG) to buy a Fusion Hybrid instead of a Camry Hybrid (at least till Toyota redoes the Camry Hybrid).

The downside of all this is that Ford will only make 25,000 of these a year...just like they only make 25,000 yr of the Escape Hybrid - far lower supply than will be demand if the demand is similiar to or larger than for the Escape Hybrid.

sasparilla:

Would the main reason for Ford to limit hybrids production to 25 000/year be related to the license from Toyota or battery pack availability?

When Ford designs its own hybrid and PHEV technology and lithium battery packs are avvailable, this 25 000/year limit should disappear.

I still am not clear on whether GenII hybrid system will fall under the Toyota/Ford technology sharing concord, I am hoping it won't but it is hard to find any info one way or the other. I did find a source that stated Ford and Toyota haven't exchanged money or patents, but that Toyota agreed not to sue Ford regarding how closely the Ford engineered hybrids resembled Toyota older patents, and Ford agreed to allow Toyota to use 21 Ford patents on fuel injection and diesel technology.
Also, the limiting factor on Fords production of the Escape Hybrid is claimed to be Aisin's production of the CVT, which Ford doesn't have the money to duplicate. Toyota owns 23% of Aisin and oddly enough, Aisin doesn't want Ford to have too much of a good thing.

http://detroitnews.com/2005/autosinsider/0508/08/A01-272872.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Escape_Hybrid
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aisin

I wouldn't call the Escape's sales completely lackluster. Ford has the best hybrid SUV on the market right now. And complain as much as you want... people still NEED SUVs and Trucks (congrats to GM on the hybrid full-size truck).

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