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Engine compartment of a 2006 Mercury Mariner Hybrid
The Ford Escape Hybrid is a gasoline-electric hybrid powered version of the Ford Escape SUV developed by the Ford Motor Company, first launched in the U.S. in 2004, to offset the pollution resulting from non-hybrid SUV use. Built in Kansas City, Missourimarker, it was the first hybrid SUV to hit the market. A similar vehicle, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid is sold by Ford's Mercury marque. A third variation, the Mazda Tribute Hybrid, arrived in the fall of 2007 as a 2008 Model Year vehicle with a limited production run for the California market. The SUV got its first update (by not counting its 2008 redesign) in 2009 by changing the engine from 2.3L to 2.5L and badges. The Ford Escape Hybrid was the first American-built hybrid and the first hybrid vehicle from an American automaker, joining the Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra Hybrids during the same model year.

Hybrid versions can be identified by the "Hybrid" badges on the front driver's and passenger's doors as well as on the tailgate. In addition, the driver's side window in the cargo area is smaller in size in order to accommodate a ventilation slot for the high voltage battery. There was also a "Special Appearance Package" available as an option on the 2005-2007 Hybrid models. This package replaced the traditional lower cladding of the Escape with a silver finish (see picture).

The Escape hybrid is a "full" hybrid electric system, meaning the system can switch automatically between pure electric power, pure gasoline engine power, or a combination of electric battery and gasoline engine operating together, for maximum performance and efficiency at all speeds and loads. When braking or decelerating, the Escape's hybrid system uses regenerative braking, where the electric drive motor becomes a generator, converting the vehicle's momentum back to electricity for storage in the batteries. With , the Hybrid Escape has nearly the same acceleration performance as the conventional V6 Escape.

Ford built 17,000 Escape Hybrids in the second half of 2004, four times as many as it had originally planned, and sales figures have remained steady. Starting in 2005 New York Citymarker and other cities in the world such as Mexico citymarker began using the Ford Escape Hybrid as Taxicabs:

Model 2005 sales 2006 sales 2007 sales 2008 sales 2009 sales
Ford Escape Hybrid (FEH) 18,797 19,228 21,386 Unknown Unknown
Mercury Mariner Hybrid (MMH) 998 3,375 3,722 Unknown Unknown


Purchasers of 2008 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrids qualify for US income tax credits between $2,200-3,000.

Ford announced the development of a prototype Hybrid Escape E85, the first hybrid vehicle capable of running on 85% ethanol flexible fuel, although they have not announced any production plans.

Development

The Escape Hybrid uses technology similar to that used in Toyota's Prius. Ford engineers realized their technology may conflict with patents held by Toyota, which led to a 2004 patent-sharing accord between the companies, licensing Ford's use of some of Toyota's hybrid technology in exchange for Toyota's use of some of Ford's diesel and direct-injection engine technology. Ford maintains that Ford received no technical assistance from Toyota in developing the hybrid powertrain, but that some hybrid engine technologies developed by Ford independently were found to be similar to technologies previously patented by Toyota, so licenses were obtained. Aisin Seiki Co. Ltd., a Japanese automotive components supplier belonging to the Toyota Group, supplies the hybrid continuously variable transmission for the Escape Hybrid. While Toyota produces its third-generation Prius transmission in-house, Aisin is the only supplier of hybrid transmissions to other manufacturers. Friction has arisen concerning Aisin's allocation of limited production capacity and engineering resources to Ford.

Sanyo Electric Co., which first produced hybrid car batteries in a joint venture with Honda, built the ,330V 5.5 Ah (would make it 1.8kWh storage) , 250-cell nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack for the 2005 Escape Hybrid.

Performance

The Escape Hybrid's 133 horsepower (99 kW) gasoline I4 engine and electric motor combine to give performance similar to the engine commonly used in the regular Escape. The hybrid is said to give approximately 75% greater efficiency, with about 33 to 36 mpg-U.S. in city traffic, (and has demonstrated it can travel 400–500 miles (644-805 km) on a single tank of gasoline in city driving), and 29 to 31 mpg-U.S. (7.6L-8.1 L/100 km; 35-37 mpg-imp) on the highway. Unlike conventional vehicles, hybrids often achieve better figures in the city because they do not waste power idling and can recover some power when stopping (by using regenerative braking) that would be wasted on a conventional vehicle.

The Escape Hybrid can accelerate up to approximately 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) on electric, with a (very) gentle acceleration. On level ground, speeds up to 40 mph (60 km/h) can be maintained on battery power alone. Use of defrosters or air conditioning may cause the engine to remain on at low speed. A maximum distance of - can be performed on electric before the batteries will discharge and the gasoline will restart.

The Escape Hybrid gives a top speed of 102 mph (163 km/h).

Ford has been making major updates to this vehicle annually, and some data may differ even in versions of the same generation. For example, the hybrid system and braking had major changes in 2009.

Emissions

The Escape Hybrid meets both Californiamarker's SULEV and PZEV standards, with tailpipe emissions better than 90% less than the average 2003 new car and zero evaporative emissions.

Plug-in hybrids

Three companies have converted Ford Escape Hybrids to Plug-in under a contract with the NYSERDA and delivered them in 2007: Ford has converted a Ford Escape Hybrid to Plug-in and delivered it to Southern California Edison (SCE) in December 2007 to examine the future of plug-in hybrids in terms of how home and vehicle energy systems will work with the electrical grid. Under the multi-million-dollar, multi-year project, Ford will convert a demonstration fleet of Ford Escape Hybrids into plug-in hybrids, and SCE will evaluate how the vehicles might interact with the home and the utility's electrical grid. Some of the vehicles will be evaluated "in typical customer settings," according to Ford.

Technology

The Ford and Hybrids Plus conversions are similar: conversion involves the replacement of the original NiMH battery (on the floor of the trunk) with a larger capacity Li-ion battery, in the same location and substantially the same volume as the original battery.

On the other side, the Electrovaya and Hymotion conversions retain the original battery, and augment it with a Li-ion battery that occupies a significant portion of the trunk.

In all cases, the conversion also involves the addition of a charger and of a power plug.

PHEV Version

Ford has created a Plug-In Hybrid version of the Escape, which has been sent to the United States Department of Energy. This vehicle uses E-85, in addition to its electric system. The vehicle's electric power is provided by a 10-kilowatt lithium-ion battery, which allows for a range at or less. When the battery's charge drops to 30%, the vehicle switches to its four-cylinder engine, assisted by the batteries. The one-of-a-kind vehicle has a display system which shows the driver how efficient the vehicle is at any given time.

If the vehicle uses its engine and is running in traditional hybrid mode, fuel economy is rated at in the city and on the highway.

New Life-saving Vehicle for Lifeguards

In 2008, the Los Angeles County Fire Department lifeguard division has deployed more than 20 escape hybrid SUV's to patrol the beaches of Los Angeles County. The Escape Hybrids have two rescue cans and one rescue paddleboard. Lifeguard vehicles are numbered from 1-342 reflecting the area and section that they are assigned to.

See also



References

  1. 2008 Mazda Tribute Hybrid page at Mazda USA web site
  2. Hybrid Sales Figures/Tax Credits for Hybrids Electric Drive Transportation Association. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
  3. [http://media.ford.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=27548 Ford January 22, 2008 press release
  4. 1/2/2008 Internal Revenue Service - 2008 Model Year Hybrid Vehicles.
  5. Ford Develop's World's First Ethanol-Fueled Hybrid Marrying Two Gasoline-Saving Technologies. (Press release, corporate website). Media.ford.com. Retrieved on 2007-08-24.
  6. Wall Stree Journal Online - Toyota to License Hybrid Patents For Use by Ford - MARCH 9, 2004
  7. Cars.com - Ford Slams Toyota on Hybrids - Reported by Christine Tierney, Detroit News, Aug 08 2005
  8. Honda In Joint Venture With Sanyo To Produce Hybrid Car Batteries. 2002-04-20. Retrieved on 2007-08-07.
  9. 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid Owner's Manual(pdf) Retrieved 17 May 2009
  10. Green Car Advisor - Ford's Plug-In Escape Hybrid Arrives for SoCal Test
  11. [1] DriveClean.ca.gov
  12. NYS Governor Announces Winners for PHEV Conversions
  13. Media.Ford.Com: Ford Delivers First Escape Plug-In Hybrid To Southern California Edison
  14. EERE News: EERE Network News
  15. Ford Motor Company - Press Release - Ford Motor Company And Southern California Edison Join Forces To Advance A New Transportation And Energy Vision
  16. Ford Motor Company - Press Release - Ford Motor Company Delivers Flexible Fuel, Plug-In Vehicle to Department of Energy


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