|The 2008 Escape Hybrid.|
Ford has refreshed the 2008 Escape Hybrid with a new look, interior and exterior; two hybrid-specific upgrade packages including a 110V outlet; 100% recycled seating surfaces; and a boost in fuel economy—including nearly a 14% improvement in city driving compared to the 2007 model.
For 2008, Escape Hybrid engineers made revisions to the software in the control system to improve transparency, which is the transition between gasoline and electric operation. The transition from electric-only to gasoline power to a combination of the two now is more seamless and virtually imperceptible to the driver. In addition, the four-wheel-disc regenerative brakes have been retuned to provide a better feel.
A new Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) system allowed Ford engineers to tune the amount of steering assist independent of engine and vehicle speed, giving the Escape Hybrid a very easy steering effort at parking lot speeds, while retaining Escape’s hallmark crisp steering feel while driving. Thanks in part to the new EPAS system, Escape Hybrid models achieve the fuel economy improvement of up to 14% in the city cycle compared to the previous model.
The 2008 Escape Hybrid carries an EPA rating (using the new system) of 34 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, 32 mpg combined. The 2007 Escape Hybrid had a rating (adjusted using the new system) of 31 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined.
The Escape’s hybrid powertrain system consists of:
A 2.3-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine that produces 133 hp at 6,000 rpm.
A 70 kW electric traction motor.
A generator-motor to recharge the batteries, start the engine and help regulate how the two propulsion channels blend together in the transaxle. The generator-motor also provides power boosts during heavy load situations, helping Escape Hybrid accelerate to speed.
A special electronically controlled, continuously variable transmission (eCVT) harnesses internal combustion and electric power sources to drive the front wheels in a FWD Escape or all four wheels with the optional Intelligent 4WD System.
A 330-volt nickel-metal-hydride battery pack located and sealed at the rear load floor stores electrical energy.
An electronic vehicle system controller to manage charging, drive assist and engine-starting functions. This device shuts the engine down during coasting and at stoplights to save fuel. It also converts the traction motor into a generator during braking to help recharge the batteries.
The combined output of both the gas and electric motors is 155 horsepower, and the powertrain provides 0-60 acceleration performance similar to the conventional Escape with a 200-horsepower V-6 engine.
Seating surfaces. Ford says that the 2008 Escape and Escape Hybrid are the first US automotive applications of 100% recycled fabric seating surfaces. The new fabric, supplied by Interface Fabrics, Inc., is produced from 100% post-industrial waste—defined as anything intended for retail use but which never makes it to the consumer. This can be anything from plastic intended for pop bottles to un-dyed polyester fibers.
This plastic and polyester is processed, spun into yarn, dyed and woven into seat fabric. Recycling waste otherwise intended for landfills has obvious environmental benefits. Interface Fabrics estimates that Ford’s use of post-industrial recycled materials, rather than virgin fibers, could conserve an estimated 600,000 gallons of water, 1.8 million pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents and more than 7 million kWh of electricity.