Hybrid technology offers increased fuel economy that most normal engines just can't match, but all that efficiency comes at a cost. Hybrid cars require complex electrical systems, but Ford hasn't seen many problems.

The company's Fusion Hybrid sedan receives top marks for its quality and reliability.

One of the major components of a hybrid system is the battery pack. Ford's current nickel metal hydride battery pack is designed with efficiency, durability and weight in mind.

According to Ford, over 43 million Ford battery cells have been produced for their hybrid cars, but only five issues have been documented so far.

"Ford's battery technology is so strong, the odds of experiencing an issue with one of our hybrid battery cells is around 8.5 million to 1, about the same odds as a person being struck by lightning twice," said Chuck Gray, a Ford engineer who specializes in hybrid development.

Of course the batteries aren't the whole story. Hybrid cars' engines are paired to electric motors to help deliver power to the wheels. Ford boasts that with almost 190,000 electric motors produced, there have been no reported failures.

Ford employees aren't the only ones pleased with the Fusion Hybrid. According to a study by the US Global Quality Research System, the Fusion Hybrid achieved an 88 percent customer satisfaction rating on initial quality. That's eight percent more than the Toyota Prius.

And, the Fusion Hybrid has been put through the gauntlet as a taxicab, too. Ford polled San Fransisco Yellow Cab manager Jim Gillespie, whose fleet is made up of mostly Ford hybrids, for input on the Fusion hybrid.

"We have them in stop-and-go traffic, heavy traffic, going up and down these hills. There was a fear at first that they wouldn't be able to take it. But they've been great," Gillespie said in the Ford release, "...at about one third of their previous gas consumption."

author photo

J. Mark Sternberg is an automotive journalist, car enthusiast and writer with a degree from the University of Arizona. Mark is a devoted Formula 1 fan and also enjoys boating, flying and attending the occasional track day.

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