The all-new, entirely redesigned 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid sedan may be rated by the EPA as high as 47 or 48 mpg on the city cycle, according to reports on a website that follows Ford news.
The redesigned Ford Fusion sedan will be largely identical to the next Ford Mondeo sedan for Europe under the "One Ford" plan that entails selling the same models worldwide.
But sales of the hybrid model will likely be highest in North America, where this year's model is rated at 41 mpg city, 36 mpg highway, for a combined rating of 39 mpg.
European buyers will be offered the choice of a turbocharged clean-diesel engine, which North American buyers won't. Instead, the highest gas mileage will come from the hybrid sedan.
The redesigned Fusion Hybrid will almost surely use a new, more compact lithium-ion battery pack, as Ford joins Honda and other hybrid makers in starting the switch from the older, bulkier nickel-metal-hydride battery packs to newer lithium cells.
Ford hopes that the new Fusion will sell as much as 50 percent more than its predecessor, adding another U.S. model to the battle against the perennial top two in midsize sedans, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
The company is continuing to refine its hybrid-electric drive system, which first debuted in late 2004 on the Ford Escape Hybrid crossover. That model may now be replaced entirely with the Ford C-Max Hybrid and Energi (plug-in hybrid) models.
Ford said last week it plans to sell the C-Max only in hybrid and plug-in hybrid models, and had canceled plans to sell a 7-seat gasoline version of the small minivan.
The new Fusion, which will start production in January, is likely to be sold as a 2013 model, though Ford hasn't officially provided any details on the car.
An all-new version of the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, which shares much of its understructure with the Fusion Hybrid, is likely to be delayed until the 2013 model year for additional work to distinguish its styling from that of the Fusion, according to the website.