|The Tribute Hybrid at introduction.|
Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) has donated 10 prototype Tribute Hybrid Electric Vehicles to the Orange County (California) Fire Authority (OCFA). The Tribute Hybrid is based on the technology of the Ford Escape Hybrid. (Earlier post.)
The vehicles are the first of 30 total Tribute Hybrid SUVs that Mazda will loan to fire agencies across Southern California.
The Tribute Hybrid—which Mazda unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Show in 2005—uses a Mazda 2.3-liter engine modified to run on the Atkinson cycle for superior fuel efficiency. The engine delivers output of 99kW (133hp) at 6,000rpm and maximum torque of 167Nm at 4,250 rpm.
A 70kW electric motor provides all-electric operation at speeds up to 40 km/h (25 mph), and then provides power assist to the engine when extra torque is needed. During deceleration, it charges the 330V NiMH battery.
Relative to a gasoline-only Tribute with the same engine model, the Tribute Hybrid provides 32% better fuel economy during highway operation and 74% better fuel economy during urban operation. It can cover at least 400 miles (640km) on one tank of gasoline.
The hybrid meets California’s AT-PZEV emissions standards.
The Tribute HEVs are painted in the red and white color used by regional fire authority vehicles and will be in service for two years. They will mainly be used for educational programs and fire safety and prevention programs at local schools.
The Tribute Hybrids are not yet on sale.
Although we don’t sell a Tribute HEV now, the varied driving conditions these vehicles will be put through, as well as the input on on-road performance we will receive from the fire agencies, will be valuable in the development of our first production HEV.—Jim O’Sullivan, MNAO’s president and CEO