The Ford Escape Hybrid is a fuel-saving, gas-electric hybrid-power version of small, four-door sport-utility vehicle, available with front-wheel drive (FWD) or four-wheel drive (4x4). Its power train has 2.3-liter, four-cylinder gas engine rated 133 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, 129 pounds-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm; synchronous AC electric motor rated 94 hp from 3,000 to 5,000 rpm; 330-volt battery pack under rear cargo floor; electronically controlled, continuously variable transmission. Maximum power output is 155 hp because gas and electric do not make their maximum power simultaneously.
It has a 2.3-liter, Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine with a 70-kilowatt permanent-magnet traction electric motor, regenerative braking and a 330-volt battery pack. The combination provides performance on par with a V-6. The hybrid never has to be plugged in because the engine recharges the batteries, by the electric motor and by heat recovered as energy during braking.
"The Escape hybrid really "wants" to be an electric vehicle, but the gasoline engine adds power for acceleration, charges the batteries and powers the air conditioning," said Mary Ann Wright, Ford's director of Sustainable Mobility Programs
Unlike electric cars, hybrids never need to be plugged into a recharger. Regenerative braking recharges the Ford Escape Hybrid, which converts electric motor into a generator to help refill the battery pack during stops; and by a recharging system powered by the gas engine.
Designed to last for the life of the vehicle and can be found under the Escape's cargo floor, the battery pack, which contains 250 small batteries roughly the size of D cells mounted in series doesn't infringe on cargo space.
The software and computerized controllers that make everything work effectively is the key to a hybrid. Small badges identify the Ford Escape as a hybrid. The instrument panel is a little different because it contains a gauge that shows when the electric motor is the source of power and when the gasoline engine is running. An optional LCD display in the center stack gives instant and average fuel economy as well as a pictorial representation of how the power is flowing at any instant.
The Escape's hybrid engine shuts down at rest to conserve fuel. When driving resumes, the SUV's 70-kilowatt traction motor generator can launch the vehicle on electric power. When it's needed, the generator starts the gas engine without the increased emissions produced when a conventional engine is started
The Escape Hybrid also produces as little as half the amount of carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas) as a conventional gas engine. It produces 97 percent less hydrocarbon and oxides of nitrogen emissions than vehicles meeting today’s required emission standards. That qualifies it for the Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) standards designation.
Being the leader in the development of low emission vehicles, Ford continually develops projects that will someday result in practical hydrogen-powered vehicles with no greenhouse gas emissions.
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About the author:
Jenny McLane is a 36 year old native of Iowa
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