Homestead: Ford drivers comment on Fusion Hybrid

The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and 2010 Ford Fusion Sport have been chosen to be the official pace cars of the Ford 400, the NASCAR Sprint Cup season finale and the final race of Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday. The...

The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and 2010 Ford Fusion Sport have been chosen to be the official pace cars of the Ford 400, the NASCAR Sprint Cup season finale and the final race of Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday. The 2010 Fusion Hybrid will be the first hybrid electric vehicle ever to lead the field to the green flag at a NASCAR Sprint Cup event. Earlier this week, six Ford NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers had a chance to drive the Ford Fusion Hybrid.

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Carl Edwards -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion

HOW WAS THE FORD FUSION HYBRID TO DRIVE? "If it didn't have all those gauges which told me what was going on with the electrical system, I wouldn't have known that was a hybrid vehicle. It has a ton of power -- almost 200 horsepower. Amazingly it only has a quarter tank of gas, yet it said it would go another 150 miles. That is pretty cool."

YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE FORD FUSION HYBRID TECHNOLOGY? "It is neat. It is almost like a video game to try and get the best mileage you can and not use the gas engine and just use the electric power."

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Greg Biffle -- No. 16 3M Ford Fusion

YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE FORD FUSION HYBRID TECHNOLOGY? "It has an accessory bar, which is kind of cool actually, so if you have the AC on, the headlights, and the windshield wipers, it has a gauge on how much accessory power you are using. So you can elect if you want to turn the AC on or roll the windows down, the AC power comes down. It is a gauge to know how green you are being, so to speak. It also has a bar that if you accelerate and keep it under that, you will just be on electric vehicle. If you push on the gas pedal more, the bar transfers up momentarily but then will drop back down and stays below the bar. It is really neat the information it gives you on the dashboard."

HOW WAS THE FORD FUSION HYBRID TO DRIVE? "It was pretty wild. You put it in gear and let up on the brake pedal and it is not running, but it starts moving like a car would be in gear. It just starts rolling away. What is really neat about it is it is so quiet. If you think about the noise when you're at a traffic light, think about yourself in traffic. Everybody sits in traffic. Move up three feet, stop. Move up three feet, stop. Move up two-car lengths, stop. You're never giving it any gas because it isn't running that entire time. Then when the traffic clears and it is time to go, you just give it some gas. Until that point you don't. You can probably drive to lunch without using any gas. It really depends on how much gas you give it. It doesn't have a tach; it only has an EV bar. The more you push on the gas pedal, the electric motor can only do so much, so when you exceed that it simultaneously rolls into the gas engine. You can't even feel it. You have no idea that the engine came on."

WHAT ABOUT THE FORD FUSION HYBRID SERVING AS THE PACE CAR THIS WEEKEND? "I think it is great. This is the future of our cars in general -- some form of a hybrid -- and it is exciting to see Ford's Fusion Hybrid serving as the pace car."

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Matt Kenseth -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion

HOW WAS THE FORD FUSION HYBRID TO DRIVE? "It is really cool. I'd like to drive it some more, but especially with gas prices in the last year, people have been dying to get them. I know Ford has been working on this for a while so the fact that they are getting it done is pretty cool."

YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE FORD FUSION HYBRID TECHNOLOGY? "I was really impressed by the gauge panel. What we do as race car drivers is it's always fun to look at the gauge panel. The gauge panel and information center was really, really cool."

WHAT ABOUT THE FORD FUSION HYBRID SERVING AS THE PACE CAR THIS WEEKEND? "I think that is cool. I think people have been waiting for a car like this to come out and the Ford Fusion Hybrid will be popular. Especially with energy prices and with everything else going on in the economy, people have been waiting to get their hand on something like this."

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Jamie McMurray -- No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion

YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE FORD FUSION HYBRID TECHNOLOGY? "The inside of the car is really nice. I was really impressed with the gauge panel. I can't get over that. You can tell the mile per gallon you are getting and how much you're using the battery or how much you're using the engine. Between Greg [Biffle], Matt [Kenseth], and I getting in, we all kind of wanted to not use the gas by trying to drive as smooth as you could so that you didn't have to use that. So I think if you owned one of these you would intentionally try to get better fuel mileage."

HOW WAS THE FORD FUSION HYBRID TO DRIVE? "You really can't tell a difference. It is odd because you start it, but you don't hear it start and then it goes. You really can't tell if it is running on the electric motor or whether it is in the gas engine mode. There is no transition. You think you would feel something there, but you can't feel anything. It really doesn't feel any different than a regular car."

WHAT ABOUT THE FORD FUSION HYBRID SERVING AS THE PACE CAR THIS WEEKEND? "I think it is exciting that the Fusion Hybrid is the pace car. Thanks to the paint job it should stand out on the track. I think it is really cool that Ford gets to be the first to have a hybrid pace car. I think that says something."

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Bill Elliott -- No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion

HOW WAS THE FORD FUSION HYBRID TO DRIVE? "It drives just like a Fusion. It really doesn't drive any different. For somebody in the city or anywhere it would be a great car since you can tool around and not buy much gas. Although gas has come down a bit here lately, it is always a good thing when you don't have to put any money into the car."

YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE FORD FUSION HYBRID TECHNOLOGY? "I don't think my airplane has as many displays as these things have. That is where I see cars different from yesterday to today. More things, more diagnostics stuff at a touch of the button than what you could ever dream of. I think that is the big difference. The technology that has come into automobiles today is kind of a double-edged sword. It is great on one hand and it takes you a little bit of time to figure it out, but once you do, you've got it."

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David Ragan -- No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion

HOW WAS THE FORD FUSION HYBRID TO DRIVE? "I think it's cool. I think everything is awesome. It is a great concept and it has a very green feel. Step on the throttle and it went as fast as I wanted to go. It has a good feel and I am ready for them to come out on the market. It will take some getting used to, like when you'll be sitting at a red light and not listen to the engine running. That means you're not burning gas and you're not putting any carbon into the atmosphere. Like I said, it's a great concept and it is cool that Ford is on the forefront of the hybrid technology."

YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE FORD FUSION HYBRID TECHNOLOGY? "The display is cool and fancy. I feel like I am pretty computer savvy and know how to work the electronics and stuff, so it's something that you certainly have to appreciate."

-credit: ford racing

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Series NASCAR-CUP