By on February 2, 2010

This spy shot was sent in to us by an anonymous tipster, who caught what appears to be an extended-wheelbase Ford Fusion Hybrid. But it’s not just stretched: those wheel arches are definitely not stock Fusion kit, which suggests that the Fusion Hybrid body might just be a mule body concealing an unrelated chassis under development. Can you spot any other clues that might hint at what we’re looking at? Got a guess? Let us know in the comments. [Thanks to you know who you are!]

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28 Comments on “Ask The Best And Brightest: Can You Identify This Extended-Wheelbase Ford Fusion Hybrid Mule?...”


  • avatar
    John Holt

    Likely the EUCD chassis (Mondeo) which is 5 inches longer wheelbase than the Fusion. Not quite sure why they’d skin it with Fusion sheetmetal when the Mondeo is available, but maybe the Hybrid powertrain won’t fit in a Mondeo as it stands now – thus necessitating a chassis overhaul.

  • avatar

    My first guess was that this is a test mule for the new Police Interceptor. On second thought, the P.I. would most likely be based on the larger Taurus platform.

  • avatar
    midelectric

    It’s the China-only extended wheelbase limo version.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Maybe future full-size platform. Think Epsilon II LWB

    Front end and slope seems to be modified too.

    That car doesn’t have much camouflage non it.

    Other option may be this one :http://www.autobild.de/ir_img/63805539_72a1d27217.jpg

    =)

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    It’s a prototype of next year’s Lincoln ABC.

  • avatar
    John Holt

    Hold up… what’s that license plate??? That’s no Michigan M-plate… which would be a given if it came out of the Dearborn Pilot Plant.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    The Taurus has a 5.5″ longer wheelbase than the Fusion…possible D-platform development (now that Volvo won’t be doing it for them)?

    Or it’s what it appears to be – a stretched Fusion Hybrid. All the political types are going for them these days…it’s an American brand, non-bailout baby AND a greenwashed hybrid. I’m sure the politicians want their cake (chauffeured limo) and eat it too (look green).

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    Falcon?

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Post-economic default Presidential limo.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    I bet you a million-billion-squillion dollars it’s not a mule but one of these.

    “Royale has embarked on a mission to offer the most energy conscious and environmentally friendly vehicles for livery, taxi and corporations. The Hybrid Electric Livery Vehicle line was developed in conjunction with the OEM’s and major suppliers to insure quality of construction, safety and product longevity. ”

    http://www.royalelimo.com/models/helv.aspx

    • 0 avatar
      Nicholas Weaver

      Agreed. The details like the doors match perfectly.

    • 0 avatar
      pgcooldad

      Very convincing. Especially this side view.

      http://www.royalelimo.com/models/helv_l-fusion.aspx?id=926

      Also, a reported 81.5mpg!

    • 0 avatar
      Ernie

      I was going for “fake hybrid badges” — but your answer is better.

      – Whoa; armoring –
      “We will be offering limousine armoring with defeat levels up to 9mm. ”
      I hope they mean 9mm thickness and not 9mm rounds *confused*

    • 0 avatar
      Sammy Hagar

      Sinister nailed it.

    • 0 avatar

      Well done sir, very convincing!
      I’m beginning to wonder if we’re ever going to be able to stump the B&B…

    • 0 avatar
      ptr2void

      Company location of Haverhill, MA fits with the special Massachusetts plate on it as well. Excellent job, sinister.

    • 0 avatar
      John Holt

      Nice catch Sinister. Explains my missing M-plate.

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      To be honest I didn’t notice the plate at all. I only recognized it because a little while ago I was surfing the Tinternet to see whether anyone has made a stretch Hybrid yet and I found this machine. Well it’s a damn site more useful than the ‘tuned’ sporty Prius G-Spot thingy that Toyota are working on.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      From the time I wrote my joke about presidential limos, I went out and it occurred to me that perhaps Ford itself was developing a livery replacement for the Panther and a substitute for the Escape for markets like NYC that desire a hybrid livery fleet…

      I agree with Sinistermisterman’s conclusion … it will be interesting how this develops … with it be a case of Ford letting this company prove the existance of the market before tooling to produce a LWB version as part of the standard production program?

  • avatar
    Brian E

    My guess is hybrid platform mule for the upcoming unibody Explorer.

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    I agree with it being a livery car modified by a coach builder. In fact, a few good points were made earlier. It has no Michigan “M” plate, which is required on all development mules. It’s not even a Michigan plate. Upon close inspection of the picture, it looks almost like a Maryland plate, which happens to be where the previously mentioned coach builder is headquartered.

    On another note. If it were a mule, you would never be able to tell what it was they were working on unless you were an insider. Stage one development mules are usually modified for chassis, electrical, and/or powertrain development. The more complex the make-over, the more bastardized the donor car looks during the beginning development phases.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Definitely for taxi fleets. They need the mileage of a hybrid, and some cities (e.g. NYC) are starting to require hybrids. Adding 5 inches would allow those bulletproof dividers without eliminating all legroom for passengers.

  • avatar
    ott

    So… A fully armored vehicle with 81.5 MPG? Where do I sign up?

  • avatar
    mcs

    It looks like a Massachusetts repair plate.

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    It doesn’t look like any development car I’ve ever worked on. (a) it’s been washed and polished (b) no black tape (c) no wires

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    (Pssst: If you wanted to develop a LWB version of the MKZ, you might start with a Fusion.)


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