2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

What the heck is the Hermance Vehicle Efficiency Award? First of all, the award was named after the late Dave Hermance, who was a leading hybrid vehicle proponent who worked for Toyota prior to his death in an experimental airplane accident on November 25, 2006. This is the first year that the award has been given.

Now that that's out of the way, the first annual Hermance Award went to the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. According to the Committee members who vote for the award, the final two contestants considered were the Fusion Hybrid and, not surprisingly, the 2010 Toyota Prius.

Interestingly, when describing the reason why the Fusion Hybrid beat out the Toyota Prius, no mention was made of any of Toyota's various issues or recalls. Click past the break to read the full press release.

[Source: Hermance Vehicle Efficiency Award]


PRESS RELEASE

Ford Fusion Hybrid Wins 2010 David Hermance Vehicle Efficiency Award


New Recognition Offered for the Automotive Product Destined to Transform the Market; Inaugural Award Honors Ford Fusion Hybrid's "Efficiency for the Mainstream"

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - February 10, 2010) - Today from the 2010 Chicago Auto Show, the first-ever David Hermance Vehicle Efficiency Award was presented to the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid.

Organized by BermanWorks, the media company behind HybridCars.com and PluginCars.com, this award recognizes the new car that does the most to combine segment-leading fuel efficiency with outstanding consumer appeal. Lisa Drake, Chief Engineer for Hybrid and Electric Programs at Ford Motor Company, accepted the award on stage at the Chicago Auto Show.

"The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid marries a seamless, sophisticated hybrid power-train to a highly competitive and appealing package," said Bradley Berman, Founder of BermanWorks and chairman of the award committee. The committee, comprising a who's who of leading automotive efficiency experts, also selected the Fusion Hybrid for its solid positioning in the middle of the North American market and its promise of making high efficiency technology more broadly accessible to the public.

The award is named in honor of the late David Hermance, the highly respected executive engineer who was Toyota's hybrid technology guru. Hermance was a tireless and engaging spokesman for efficient vehicle design throughout the industry. He was known for his vision, clarity of purpose, and passion to produce and sell ultra-efficient, eco-friendly cars for the 21st century.

"The Hermance Award recognizes the best example of Dave's focus on design that is at once practical and efficient, affordable for consumers and profitable for automakers," said Berman. "The committee was impressed at every level by the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, which leaves no stone unturned in terms of functionality and how the car relates to the driver."

"Maximizing the appeal of fuel-efficient technology also maximizes its environmental benefits," said award committee member John DeCicco, a senior lecturer at the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment. "The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid was this year's clear winner and does an incredibly good job of making Dave's vision for bringing hybrids further into the mainstream a reality."

The committee that selects the David Hermance Vehicle Efficiency Award is made up of automotive industry insiders who were all colleagues of Mr. Hermance and deeply honored to develop this award in his memory. In addition to Berman and DeCicco, who presented the award in Chicago, other committee members include Robert Larsen, director emeritus of Argonne National Laboratory's Center for Transportation Research; John German, senior fellow and program director for the International Council for Clean Transportation, and Lindsay Brooke, senior editor of Automotive Engineering International. Tomorrow, Hermance award committee members Larson, German and Brooke will make a repeat presentation to the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid at the Society of Automotive Engineers annual hybrid vehicle technology symposium in San Diego.

The committee all agreed that the Fusion's design raised the bar for the auto industry and that it would capture the approval of Dave Hermance. For more information on the award and the winning vehicle, visit: www.hermanceaward.com

About BermanWorks

BermanWorks is the media company behind HybridCars.com and the forthcoming PluginCars.com. The company's mission is to provide trustworthy clear information about the next generation of alternative energy vehicles -- creating a movement of consumers eager to purchase cars and trucks that use less oil, have a smaller environmental impact, and are fun to drive. For more information, visit www.BermanWorks.com

About the Chicago Auto Show

North America's largest and longest-running automotive showcase, the Chicago Auto Show fills over a million square feet of Chicago's McCormick Place each February. Featuring multiple North American and worldwide vehicle introductions, the Chicago Auto Show attracts consumers and journalists from all over the globe. For more information, visit www.ChicagoAutoShow.com