Ford Presents New Escape Hybrid SUV

May 11, 2003 by Jeff Shepard

Ford Motor Co. (Dearborn, MI) introduced a new hybrid vehicle, the Escape Hybrid SUV, which will begin low-volume fleet production at year's end and retail production in the second half of 2004. The Escape Hybrid combines the cargo capacity of the Ford Escape sport-utility vehicle with the fuel economy and emissions benefits of a full hybrid system.

At the heart of the Escape Hybrid is a compact, hybrid transaxle linking Ford's efficient 2.3ltr, four-cylinder engine; 65kW electric motor; 28kW generator and the drive wheels. The full hybrid functionality is packaged neatly in place of the standard transaxle and is powered by a 300V nickel-metal-hydride battery pack located beneath the rear load floor. Since the battery is charged while braking and cruising, the Escape Hybrid does not need to be plugged in like battery-electric vehicles.