Ford Motor Co. engineers
at Consumer Reports' recent
"Future of the Car" event in East Haddam, CT said the Ford Escape plug-in hybrid will use a
vastly different power approach than that of GM's highly-publicized Chevy
vehicle is a parallel or blended hybrid, so we are continually using the
battery system and the internal combustion engine together to offer optimum
performance," said Greg Frenette, zero-emission vehicle programs chief
engineer for Ford. "The plug-in Escape uses a similar architecture to that of
our production Escape hybrid. The only difference is that we are operating with
a lithium-ion battery pack with about five times the energy capacity and we are
able to plug the vehicle into a standard 110-V outlet."
hybrid's architecture differs from that of the Volt because the Escape uses the
engine to drive the wheels at certain times, while the Chevy Volt never uses
the engine to drive its wheels. Both, however, are planning to use lithium-ion
batteries, which offer greater energy density than lead-acid or nickel-metal
said the Escape plug-in will employ a high proportion of battery power to
drive its wheels in the first 30 miles of travel, then will switch to a more
conventional hybrid mode after its passes the 30-mile mark. The
gasoline-burning engine will also be used in greater proportion after the
vehicle passes the 30 mph point, Frenette said.
to use the battery to launch the vehicle, but eventually we cut the engine in,"
he said. "We do that in such a way as to deliver maximum fuel economy to the
consumer and maintain drivability for acceleration and emergency maneuvers."
said the battery pack will require six to eight hours at 110V to achieve a
full charge. After reaching full charge, the company says the vehicle will
get up to 120 mpg when driven on surface streets, largely because much of its
power comes from the batteries during that period.