The approval of the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid for California carpool lanes puts the Blue Oval into the winner’s circle; tied with Toyota for the most fuel-efficient models approved for use in the Golden State’s HOV lanes.
To qualify for the high occupancy program, a vehicle must be classified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as a super ultra-low emission vehicle and certified by the EPA to offer at least 45 miles per gallon fuel economy on the highway. Of course, any car can qualify when it carries enough people, but that’s another issue.
The Fusion Energi meets CARB standards and well exceeds the EPA standards, with an estimated fuel economy rating of 108 MPGe city and 92 MPGe highway, or 100 MPGe combined. Those numbers mean the plug-in hybrid has a one-tank, full-charge range of up to 620 miles, including an electric-only range of up to 21 miles.
As of about a month ago, California still had around 30,000 HOV stickers left for plug-in hybrids.