|DEARBORN, MI - A hybrid-electric powered Ford
Escape is being designed to be the cleanest, most fuel-efficient sport utility on the
planet when it debuts in 2003. Ford is the first automaker to announce production plans
for a hybrid-electric powered sport utility vehicle. The Ford Escape HEV will feature an
electric drivetrain to augment its fuel-efficient four-cylinder gasoline engine. With
regenerative braking and nearly instantaneous start-stop capability, the Escape HEV will
be especially fuel efficient in city traffic, delivering about 40 mpg in urban driving.
Yet Escape HEV will deliver acceleration performance similar to an Escape equipped with
the V-6 engine. The hybrid Escape will be capable of being driven more than 500 miles on a
single tank of gasoline.
"The combination of fuel efficient operation,
power-on-demand and extended range will make the Escape HEV an attractive choice for Ford
customers," says Neil Ressler, vice president, Ford Motor Company Research and
"We're applying advanced hybrid-electric technology to the heart of the American
market: the highly popular sport utility vehicle," Ressler says. "The Escape HEV
will be fuel efficient and extremely clean. We'll also sell this hybrid-electric SUV in
Europe, under the Maverick name, where its nimble driving characteristics and clean,
fuel-efficient operation should make it especially appealing to customers."
The Escape HEV will feature an advanced regenerative braking system which recaptures
energy in the form of electricity when the vehicle is being braked; the electrical energy
is stored in the battery for future use. A sophisticated motor-generator saves fuel by
shutting down the engine when the vehicle is coasting or stopped, restarting it almost
instantaneously when the driver steps on the accelerator pedal. These and other related
technologies have been developed and proven out in Ford's P2000 research program.
Escape HEV also will incorporate technologies developed by Volvo in its Dual Hybrid
Electric System for Increased Efficiency and Economy (DESIREE) program. Volvo developed
two hybrid-electric concept vehicles under the DESIREE program. Ford's Research and
Vehicle Development engineers are continuing work on these cars and incorporating
technologies and lessons learned into the corporation's overall HEV strategy. Ford Motor
Company acquired Volvo in 1999 and has been consolidating research and development efforts
throughout the corporation.
The Escape HEV is being designed to operate more cleanly than government regulations
require. In fact, it will qualify as a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) under
California standards. It also will meet Stage IV emissions requirements in Europe before
they become mandatory in the 2005 model year.
While a few automakers have introduced small, low-volume hybrid-electric cars, Ford is
introducing its first HEV in a family-sized sport utility to increase mass customer
appeal. The hybrid-electric powertrain also has been developed with additional
applications and vehicles in mind to expand the potential impact of the environmentally
responsible technology. Today's new Ford Escape is an ideal vehicle for the first
application of Ford's hybrid-electric powertrains.
(April 7, 2000)