|Ford Escape Hybrid E85.|
Ford Motor Company is producing and will deliver 20 new E85 flex-fuel hybrid research vehicles for use in fleets in six different states. Deliveries will begin this spring.
Ford displayed the first Ford Escape Hybrid E85 scheduled for delivery this spring at the Washington Auto Show, where the automaker also unveiled its Edge with a HySeries fuel cell plug-in series hybrid drive (earlier post).
The automaker had unveiled an earlier version of the Ford Escape Hybrid E85 at the Washington Auto Show last year. (Earlier post.)
A full flex-fuel hybrid application presents additional evaporative challenges, because the vehicle often operates on electric power alone without actuating the evaporative vacuum system that operates when the gasoline engine is in use.
Ford engineers are pursuing a number of strategies to address this challenge with the goal of achieving partial zero-emissions vehicle (PZEV) status. No FFV has yet been certified to this extremely clean standard, because of the evaporative requirement in the PZEV standard.
Ford has two full hybrid electric vehicle models on the road today—the Ford Escape Hybrid and the Mercury Mariner Hybrid—and has announced three additional hybrids, the Mazda Tribute, Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan.
The company produced 250,000 E85-capable vehicles last year, including the Ford F-150 pickup truck, as well as the Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car large sedans.
Ford has committed to making half of its vehicle fleet flexible fuel capable by 2012.