All-electric Mini Vs. Ford Fusion Hybrid

The two cars represent two technical approaches to gaining fuel efficiency through bigger car batteries.

Like the Toyota Prius, the newly released Ford Fusion is a gas-electric hybrid that drives primarily on the gas engine, supplemented by a nickel-metal hydride battery. By contrast, the Mini Electric, which will start to be leased to drivers next month as part of a trial, runs entirely on lithium-ion batteries, the latest battery technology.

The trade-offs of both approaches are pretty apparent. The Fusion gets over 40 miles per gallon and it’s more or less like any other car you’ve driven: you fill it up with gasoline and it goes.

The Mini Electric, on the other hand, sacrifices the entire back seat for its battery pack. That allows it to go 100 miles on a charge–sufficient for most daily driving. But two of its advantages are that you never go to a gas station and there are no emissions from the car itself.

Meanwhile, there’s yet another technology in the mix–what General Motors calls a range-extended electric vehicle or what engineers call a series hybrid (as opposed to a parallel hybrid). In that case, an internal combustion engine does nothing but charge the batteries that propel the car. See the full article here.

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