|Ford’s flex-fuel Escape PHEV.|
Ford Motor Company delivered its first flexible-fuel capable plug-in hybrid (PHEV) SUV to the US Department of Energy (DOE).
Like the other prototype Escape PHEVs, this vehicle is equipped with a 10 kWh lithium-ion battery supplied by Johnson Controls-Saft that stores enough electric energy to drive up to 30 miles at speeds of up to 40 mph.
The Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid, which runs on gasoline or E85, is part of a demonstration fleet that Ford is developing in a partnership with Southern California Edison and the Electric Power Research Institute. (Earlier post.) Advanced testing on the vehicles is underway in California. The DOE will include the Escape Flexible Fuel Plug-in Hybrid in its fleet to obtain real world experience with the vehicle as it continues its support of advanced fuel technologies.
When fueled by E85 ethanol, which has a lower energy content than gasoline, fuel economy can reach up to 88 mpg in urban driving and up to 50 mpg on the highway, according to Ford. Based on current estimates, the vehicle would emit 60% less CO2 than a conventional gasoline powered vehicle. That CO2 reduction could reach 90% if cellulosic ethanol is used in place of gasoline.
The flexible fuel Escape Plug-in Hybrid runs up to 30 miles at speeds less than 40 mph in electric mode until the battery’s charge is 70% depleted. At higher speeds or when the battery is depleted, the vehicle switches to traditional hybrid charge-sustaining mode—a fuel efficient four-cylinder engine assisted by the lithium-ion battery.
The vehicle leased to the DOE also is equipped with an interactive vehicle display which shows the driver how efficiently the vehicle is operating and calculates the fuel savings for each trip.