2017 Ford Fusion HybridEnlarge Photo
In many ways, California is unlike the rest of the country.
That is particularly true when it comes to green cars, which Californians buy with enthusiasm not seen in other states.
Hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery-electric cars typically sell in much larger volumes in the Golden State than anywhere else in the U.S.
Case in point: through May, about four out of 10 Ford Fusion mid-size sedans sold in the Los Angeles area were hybrids or plug-in hybrids.
The Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid represented 42 percent of new L.A.-area registrations through May, according to Ford analysis of data from research firm IHS Automotive.
In June, L.A.-area sales of the Fusion Hybrid increased 35 percent from June 2015, while Fusion Energi sales rose 40 percent compared to the previous year.
The L.A. figures contrast the situation nationwide.
Low gas prices and increased consumer interest in trucks and SUVs have hurt sales of the Fusion and other hybrids.
In addition, the plug-in hybrid Energi faces particularly stiff competition from a new Chevrolet Volt, and plug-in versions of the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima mid-size sedans.
June happened to be the first month of sales for refreshed 2017 models of both the Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi.
That compares with 20 and 19 miles, respectively, for last year's model.
Efficiency ratings rise to 42 mpg combined when operating as a hybrid, and 97 MPGe when running entirely on electricity—up from last year's 38 mpg combined and 88 MPGe.
(Miles Per Gallon Equivalent, or MPGe, measures the distance a car can travel electrically on the same amount of energy as that in 1 gallon of gasoline).
Ford attributes the efficiency and electric-range increases to changes in the Fusion Energi's powertrain control software and regenerative braking algorithms.
The Fusion Hybrid gets new software as well. Ford claims the changes to both cars will create a more pleasant driving experience.
Both cars also get the same exterior and interior updates as the rest of the 2017 Fusion lineup, including mildly restyled grilles, new LED headlights, and a new rotary gear selector meant to free up space on the center console.