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 |  Apr 29 2009, 1:23 PM

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On Saturday, April 25th at 8:15 a.m., Ford set out to show just how fuel-efficient its new Fusion Hybrid sedan really is. With drivers including NASCAR racer Carl Edwards, as well as CleanMPG.com founder Wayne Gerdes and several FoMoCo engineers, the team drove the 2010 Fusion Hybrid non-stop until it ran out of gas.

Ford called this the 1,000 Mile challenge, and when all was said and done, and the last drop of fuel consumed, the car came to a stop this morning at 5:37 a.m. on the George Washington Parkway in Washington, D.C. – after 69 straight hours of driving. The Fusion Hybrid easily surpassed the 1,000 mile mark with the final odometer reading at 1,445.7 miles. This distance is a world-record for a mid-sized gasoline powered sedan and works out to 81.5 mpg – almost double the car’s EPA rated fuel-economy.

Ford also used the stunt to help raise $8,000 towards the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

“Not only does this demonstrate the Fusion Hybrid’s fuel efficiency, it also shows that driving technique is one of the keys to maximizing its potential,” said Nancy Gioia, director of Ford Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrid Vehicle Programs. “The fact that we were able raise much needed funds for JDRF while raising the bar on fuel efficient driving performance made the effort doubly worthwhile.”

Gerdes, who pretty much wrote the book on fuel-efficient driving said the car works “brilliantly.”

“When you don’t need acceleration power while driving around town, the gas engine shuts down seamlessly. There’s not another hybrid drivetrain in the world that does that as effectively. The Fusion engineering team really knocked it out of the park.”

As for NASCAR star Edwards, he was equally impressed. “Having driven the car, I feel strongly about how great it is,” he said, “so strong that I’ve purchased one myself.”

The team used many of Gerdes’s fuel-saving driving techniques to achieve maximum fuel-efficiency. These include:

 

  • Slowing down and maintaining even throttle pressure;
  • Gradually accelerating and smoothly braking;
  • Maintaining a safe distance between vehicles and anticipating traffic conditions;
  • Coasting up to red lights and stop signs to avoid fuel waste and brake wear;
  • Minimize use of heater and air conditioning to reduce the load on the engine;
  • Close windows at high speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag;
  • Applying the “Pulse and Glide” technique while maintaining the flow of traffic;
  • Minimize excessive engine workload by using the vehicle’s kinetic forward motion to climb hills, and use downhill momentum to build speed; and
  • Avoiding bumps and potholes that can reduce momentum

 

Official release after the jump:

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