Ford Energi Plug-In Hybrids: Electric Miles Are Half Of Total

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2013 Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, Marin County, CA, Nov 2012

2013 Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, Marin County, CA, Nov 2012

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Media days at the Detroit Auto Show two weeks ago contained relatively little new from Ford Motor Company.

A lightly updated 2017 Ford Fusion mid-size sedan emerged, as did an F-150 Raptor SuperCrew performance pickup truck.

And that was it for product news. Media reports that Ford and Google would jointly announce a major self-driving car initiative at the Detroit show proved unfounded.

DON'T MISS: 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid, Energi: Software Tweaks For Better Drivability

In a series of presentations, however, Ford provided updates on initiatives in connectivity, mobility, autonomy, customer experience, and analytics.

One slide in particular offered the latest data on usage of Ford's two Energi plug-in hybrids, the Fusion sedan and C-Max compact tall hatchback.

Usage data provided by Ford on its three plug-in electric vehicles, 2016 Detroit Auto Show

Usage data provided by Ford on its three plug-in electric vehicles, 2016 Detroit Auto Show

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The owner of an Energi plug-in hybrid model drives 42 miles a day, on average, Ford said. And he or she covers fully 50 percent of all miles solely on electricity.

Since 2011, in fact, owners of all three Ford plug-in cars (including the Focus Electric as well) have accumulated 610 million miles covered on electricity only.

ALSO SEE: Electric Car Drivers Tell Ford: We'll Never Go Back To Gasoline

That contrasts to a percentage of almost 60 percent for plug-in hybrid drivers released in mid-2013, only a year or so after Ford started selling plug-in hybrids at all.

MyFord Mobile App - 2012 Ford Focus Electric

MyFord Mobile App - 2012 Ford Focus Electric

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The data for both studies was aggregated from the MyFord Mobile app, with the owners' permission.

It turns out, however, that Ford defines "electric miles" for plug-in hybrids somewhat differently than does General Motors for its two generations of Chevrolet Volt.

Ford's definition totals both miles covered on battery energy charged from the grid and electric-only miles with the battery depleted, when the Energi model essentially operates as a conventional hybrid.

John Cangany, Ford's safety and sustainability communications manager, confirmed that the total percentage of "electric miles" combined grid energy and regenerative braking.

And, he said, Ford doesn't have the data to split out miles from grid charging versus electric-only hybrid miles. Should that change, Cangany said, he would share the data with Green Car Reports.

CHECK OUT: Ford Plug-In Drivers Do 60% Of Miles On Electricity, Just Like Volt (Aug 2013)

The company also presented another slide suggesting that out of 613 million cumulative electric miles driven, 237 million of them were "carbon-free," meaning powered by a battery recharged on renewable energy.

That covers, Cangany said, both solar panels at home and renewable energy purchased by owners who charge from the grid.

Usage data provided by Ford on its three plug-in electric vehicles, 2016 Detroit Auto Show

Usage data provided by Ford on its three plug-in electric vehicles, 2016 Detroit Auto Show

Enlarge Photo

It's worth noting that Ford's plug-in hybrids, unlike the Chevy Volt, will switch on their engines to provide maximum power even if there's energy left in the battery.

So Energi drivers will find that their 19-mile electric range may still be interspersed with engine use.

General Motors has released data on grid-powered miles alone for the Volt at various points during the model's two generations.

MORE: Ford: Energi Owners Plugging In More Often Than Those Of Focus Electric (Jun 2013)

In July 2012, with 95 million miles covered by two years' of Volts, the electric miles stood at 60 million.

Now the second-generation 2016 Volt is on sale in some markets, with an electric range of 53 miles.

For that car, GM projects that up to 80 percent of all Volt miles will be covered on grid energy--and nine out of every 10 trips made in a Volt won't involve the engine at all.

2016 Chevrolet Volt, first drive in California, July 2015

2016 Chevrolet Volt, first drive in California, July 2015

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That can't be said of the Ford plug-in hybrids, but any miles driven on grid energy rather than by burning gasoline have a lower carbon footprint than most vehicles sold today.

Perhaps the way to view Ford's electric percentage is that, as they say, it's all good.

Ford provided airfare, lodging, and meals to enable High Gear Media to bring you this first-person report.

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