It seems that Ford has taken a few creative liberties with a new YouTube video highlighting the benefits of the Ford Fusion Energi Plug-In. The video showcases a man named David Fenton and his love affair with his Energi.
Fenton himself is no average Joe. He founded Fenton, a “social change communications agency” that pairs with nonprofits, foundations and companies pioneering true sustainability’.”
“Our campaigns change behavior, advance policy, build communities and transform thinking”, reads the website. “Using a range of communications tools — pr, advertising, social media, video, design, research and everything in between — we build campaigns that create lasting change.” In other words, Fenton benefits from the spot as much as Ford does. Even though it’s somewhat sneaky, that’s not our beef with the ad.
Fenton lives in a solar-powered house that’s covered with solar panels and he uses them to charge up his Ford Fusion Energi Plug-In Hybrid. He then describes how the Energi can drive solely on electricity: “100 percent of our power right now is from the solar panels.” He waxes lyrical about how “the sun can never go up in price” and how it feels terrific to “charge the car with free, clean solar energy and drive around on it”.
And it probably does feel terrific. But only if it were true.
The Fusion Energi is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) (also known as an extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) like a Chevy Volt or a Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, not a full battery electric vehicle (BEV) like a Nissan Leaf or a Tesla Model S. Unlike the former vehicles, the Energi still requires gasoline to function and can only operate in electric-only mode for a mere 19 miles.
So, we love it that Fenton uses solar power to live on and to charge up his Fusion Energi, which has a combined gas/electric range of 550 miles. What we do have an issue with is the clear implication that Energi buyers will not need to rely on fossil fuels. That’s clearly not the case. Unless they only drive 19 miles between charging the car.