Ford Escape Hybrid Fuel Economy Experience and Ford HEV Employees Passion

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Valleyforge, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. Valleyforge

    Valleyforge *****istrator Staff Member

    Wayne Gerdes - - February 25, 2006

    Hi All:

    I was asked to keep everyone's names private except for Mary Ann Wright's and I think it is a great idea for all concerned. Much of the following has already been posted around the web but this is a start to finish as to what the Experience was all about from my own perspective.

    Ford Escape Hybrid Experience


    Upon arrival and introduction, I spent ~ 20 minutes with one of Ford's premier (this individual had the highest FE on their own test course of all those at the event that weekend from my understanding) Escape Hybrid FE engineers. He was very tight lipped on any number of items I was asking about. My questions were specific about current HEV Gen-I Fuel Cut modes, HEV Gen-II drivetrain and its FE improvements, changes in future ICE sizing or boost or heaven forbid any type of cylinder shutoff modes with an active NVH control. I cannot blame him as these questions were not directly related to "The Experience" but I was pressing none the less ;) During our back and forth I offered my own suggestions for future FE improvements given my own results in John's Escape HEV the day before as well as any number of hybrid and non-hybrid automobiles driven in the past but I am not so sure they were taken to heart :(

    After the back and forth individual session, all were led into a small auditorium for Mary Ann Wright's introduction and the introduction of any number of her team. She recognized John (GPSman) as the Escape owner who had traveled the farthest for the early Sunday morning session. Both of us were awarded Escape pullovers and I couldn't turn it down ;)

    The first part of the slide presentation was about the Escape's construction and FE saving hybrid HW. One of the initial slides displayed said that the Escape HEV has "No Toyota Parts". Point taken already ;) Next was the basic design of the Ford Escape HEV's drivetrain including the I4 ICE and its Atkinson intake, e-CVT, Regen braking, and the pack layout to name just a few. During the Regen slides, one of the graphs displayed showed a much too linear stopping power vs. brake pedal travel graph. I believe the X-axis showed pedal travel but the slides were moving pretty quickly? Regen was fully evoked for ~ the first half of the pedal travel and at a constant stopping power. The Friction brakes took up the upper half of the stopping power graph. The graph was massaged heavily for clarity given there was no difference displayed between L and D regen modes, real world pedal travel vs. braking feel, and that the slope was to linear in all respects. It was a good representation for the non-engineers that attended the event. The key slide in regards to Regen braking was that it is worth 9 mpg in the FTP75 according to Ford's own hard data. Next came the Otto vs. Atkinson cycle. The engineer presenting the slides at this time was hard pressed to come up with a good analogy for the Atkinson vs. OTTO cycle but he tried with the audience laughing during his struggle :D After the Atkinson description came the std. Escape w/ V6 vs. I4 HEV acceleration curves. Not much new here with the eCVT's relatively linear acceleration rate vs. a std. Auto tranny equipped V6 Escape with its sinusoidal driven shift points being clearly shown. With the above, the Escape HEV's FE increases vs. a std. Escape (I am not sure if the comparison was against the I4 or V6?) was 41% increase due to Regen, 23% increase due to the Atkinson intake, 16% increase due to Start/Stop, and two or three other less % increases all contributing to higher FE in the EPA's city (FTP75) test.

    Now to the meat of the weekend including the FE saving techniques. The FTP75 (EPA city cycle) and HWFET (EPA highway cycle) including their 10 and 18% reductions respectively vs. what is received on the dyno was displayed. The key for higher FE in any automobile is reducing power demand as well as reducing loads and losses under any number of driving conditions. Although the following is relatively basic for most here, it setup the weekend’s reason just as it was supposed too.

    1. Slow down. The graph displayed at that time (again, very linear) showed the Escape HEV at 50 mpg traveling at 30 mph vs. 25 mpg at 70 mph.

    2. Stay in town whenever possible. All cars would do well in town due to much less aero drag if it were not for the fact they have no way to recoup braking heat via regen and have no way to go ICE off like the Escape HEV.

    3. Smooth constant speed.

    4. Avoid aggressive braking.

    Reducing loads and Losses:

    1. A/C off vs. on makes a dramatic difference. A/C on vs. off at 30 mph equates to just 30 mpg vs. 50 mpg or a 40% loss! At a highway speed of 75 mph, A/C on lead to ~ 25 mpg vs. ~ 27 mpg w/out or a 10% loss was displayed in the graph presented.

    2. During any multi segment drive, try and make the distant drive first to bring the ICE up to temp. With the warmer ICE, the following segments will include higher FE because of that already warmer ICE then the initial stat form dead cold.

    3. Do not warm up the ICE. As soon as it starts, move. In the winter, expect as much as a 25% FE hit vs. summer like temps.
    Another graph displaying of one of the engineers FE mapped in summer like temps vs. winter clearly showed this cold temp hit.

    4. Accessory FE hit include the Radio at .1 MPG, Rear Defrost at .8
    MPG, Headlights at .9 MPG, and Fan on High at 1.3 MPG

    5. Every 300 # increase in weight drops FE by ~ 1 mpg.

    6. 1.2 mpg loss using A/C vs. windows down at 60 mph.

    7. 1.4 mpg loss if tire pressures are 10 #'s low.

    A very short mention (not really discussion) of P&G and DWL.
    Although both provide FE increases, the 15 mph swings in speed are not recommended.

    Another short mention of PHEV's. They are not realistic today given the added weight and cost. CO2 emissions from average Power Plant are greater then a straight up gasoline burn, and the inconvenience of pack charging in terms of time makes the PHEV not a viable option at this time.

    End of Presentation

    Question and Answer Session

    1. Battery pack and accident issues. Pack breakers trip and fuel is cut via various collision sensors.

    2. Ford is working on a > 40 mph EV mode. Interesting statement here. The ICE start up jerk/harshness/bang via MG1 above 40 mph is the issue with not a mention of RPM protection. Afterwards, the engineers mentioned it was a combination of the Startup harshness engagement, MG1 RPM protection, and MG1's torque available above 40 mph to spin the ICE over for start up.

    3. An owner asking about oil change intervals at 3,000 miles when the
    Manual discusses much longer. Ford will be speaking with that dealerships Service Rep.

    4. An individual was having problems with his local dealership charging $84 for an oil change. Ford will be speaking with that dealership to satisfy that owner as well.

    5. (2) owners were having problems with the headliners coming down.
    Again, there were Ford people that will be speaking with the individual dealerships to cure these problems in very short order.

    There were a few "Thank You Ford" accolades about the Escape HEV at this presentation. I did not hear even one complaint about FE which is a very good thing.

    Next came the behind the wheel segment.

    I do not know what the Ford Engineers could have added as the course would have given a quick 60 + mpg run in a totally setup Escape HEV in warmer temps with an experienced course driver all alone behind the wheel. As it was, they couldn’t say much as John was nailed down a 53.x mpg run. After that drive, I told the top FE scoring Engineer that he too would achieve a higher FE on the segment once he used the exacting style and technique John was using.

    After the local segment drive came quite a bit of discussion about Escape HEV controls, capabilities, test beds, and then a drive behind one of the instrumentation equipped Escape HEV test mules. Both John and I saw something we probably shouldn’t have but the graphs were clearly displayed on the laptop and the results were an interesting interpretation of what many have guessed at in the past. Let me just say that the Ford Pack is by far more robust and protected then anything Toyota has to offer and years ahead of what Honda is offering to date.

    To end the day, everyone spent time adding input to the next gen instrument display. It will probably make its way into the Ford Fusion hybrid first but it was an interesting table top experiment to say the least.

    On to the highlights from this hybrid enthusiast as to the real story behind the event.

    When the first question(s) from the two individuals that had headliner issues were brought up, I tapped John on the shoulder and pointed towards Mary Ann Wright who began moving to the front of the auditorium to address the questions first hand. Not only did she call out the lead Product Concern engineer by name to follow up but was showing what I can only describe as a “passion” to make the Ford Escape Hybrid ownership experience the best it can be for all concerned. This was just the first of many “Passion’s” I had the opportunity to see first hand during this event. Let me describe a few others ... There was the lady who first greeted us as we walked in the door. A 10 + year Ford employee who was working in the Escape Hybrid group for just 3 weeks. Not only did she bleed Ford Blue, she was adamant that she will retire a Ford Employee no matter the financial condition of Ford at this point in time. A battery engineer I spoke with actually took a Prius II home with him one weekend and took the thing apart to see how it worked! Another controls engineer had a particularly rigorous internal fuel economy test cycle named after him. One engineer I spoke with was shipped up to a cold weather facility with 2 hours notice on a Friday afternoon and he loved the experience! Another who was sent to the APG (Arizona Proving Ground’s) with an Escape for durability testing loved every second of attempting to beat the Escape Hybrid into submission. It could not be beat and I can tell you that I would not dare have those guys take my Acura MDX through half of their tests for one round let alone for weeks on end unless I wanted to own a $40,000 piece of junk! And yet another who helped us get to the event on a Saturday night after we had left without an exact location as to the events whereabouts. Would any of us reading this article have the wherewithal to be called though a third or fourth party at ~ 07:00 PM on a Saturday night and make even more calls so that John and my directions were dead on for an early Sunday morning arrival? Another passion ... Everyone of the tech’s working the owners Escape’s in the parking lot, the various Engineers of every sort, the marketing and support staff, and the top level managers were there on their own time. They were not paid; they were there for one reason and one reason only. To make sure the Ford Escape Hybrid Experience was as positive as one could receive and to receive real world feedback so the next gen hybrid’s they are involved with will be that much better a vehicle for you and I. The best quote to describe this “Passion” I felt of the many Ford employees we all had the opportunity to hear from was “Your Vehicle has changed my life”! Remember that this was a Ford Engineer talking about the Ford many of you have chosen as your principal mode of transportation, not one of us speaking to Ford about how the Escape HEV has changed ours!

    I cannot say I learned much about the Escape HEV’s FE that I did not already know, experienced, or have learned from the likes of John (GPSman), Mike Maline, and Gary G. but I did learn that Ford Employees in the Escape Hybrid group are an enthusiastic group the likes I have not seen in industry in many many years. My hats off to Bill Ford for not cutting the program when he had many opportunities to do so, Mary Ann Wright for leading a team of highly motivated employees that want the Escape HEV to change your life, the many techs, engineers, and business employees that were there to make sure your experience was a success.

    Thanks to all the Ford Escape Hybrid Team and Good Luck to you all.

    Wayne R. Gerdes
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2006
  2. cleverlever

    cleverlever Active Member


    Thanks for putting me onto this site about the Escape.

    I am begining to understand the test procedure greatly skews the data. I can hardly wait until somebody looks back in history and realizes the best way to generate data thats believeable to the public is to get the government completely out of the numbers game and let real world contest like the mobil gas Economy runs generate real world statistics. Mobil and Pure gave me copies of all there records on this subject and it was quite an education reading them

    The figures in the the link you posted indicate 23% of the gain was from the Atkinson Engine and 41% of the gain was from regen. The off at idle figure means squat to me because I could address that on an engine that wasn't a hybrid.

    However the number that I am interested in is the cost to supply the Atkinson gain compared to the cost to supply the regen gain. The escape has the poorest Atkinson cycle engine because it doesn't incorporate any kind of variable valve timing technology. The cost of Atkinson cycle benefits Is ZERO if you were to incorporate it in a Honda i-VTEC engine. The cost to enhance the low speed torque of the Atkinson cycle in a i-VTEC engine is ZERO because patent 4,961,406 requires no additional hardware ,its merely a different control scenario.

    Now the cost to achieve the 41% regen benefit is thousands of dollars and only has benefit in high density traffic situations. The fuel waste at idle previously mentioned toll booth scenarios is disgusting to say nothing of the fact that it greatly impairs traffic flow. Is the best way to rectify this stone age toll booth scenario to modify cars or modify the way we collect tolls? That seems to be a no brainer to me.

    The fuel savings in mass evacuations is an isolated incident and I might add that we evacuated for the hurricane that didn't need evacuation and we didn't evacuate for the one that did justify evacuation. We could argue the best way to avoid that scenario is re think living situations that require evacuations but thats really a sidebar issue and I realize it was only cited as a example of fuel waste at idling.

    The study mentioned 300 lbs of weight only caused a loss of one mpg loss although I would like to see the urban verses hiway comparrison on weight.

    I also think the AC number was of HUGE importance. We dream to think we are going to get people to reduce AC especially when they have children strapped into car seats. The potential to do regen as a refrigerant accumulator has got to be a lot less expensive than having a completely seperate AC system for non engine running conditions.

    Thangs again for the great reference data

  3. tbaleno

    tbaleno Well-Known Member

    First, I must say you should calm down your combatative tone.

    Second, in your earlier post you say hybrids get NO gain. Now that Wayne has shown the gains broken down you still seem to think that the hybrid gain is a rare instance. I don't know about you but I suspect most people don't live on a highway where they have no city driving to get to it. Hybrids help city driving a lot. When the engine can coast off it is using zero fuel. There is no way you can do that without a hybrid system.

    I have no problems with you saying it costs a lot for the same gain you can get by your design for an intake. But what about a scenario where they exist in the same car?
  4. cleverlever

    cleverlever Active Member

    When a person presents a different viewpoint is that combative?

    Let me say it differently. If the extra weight of the hybrid is 300 lbs and that cost you 1 mpg as compared to the same car without the hybrid weight you are going backwards. Now subtract the 1 mpg from all the hiway miles and show me how that impacts the value of your in town gains?

    Now I know you don't like the Consumer reports data published on your own site but look at the data on the Echo verses the Prius. 4 to 6 mpg difference. What if the Echo had the Atkinson cycle engine? I rest my case.
  5. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Cleverlever:

    ___Let me add a few comments here …

    ___The article above contains no government data; it was Ford’s own internal FE data on the Escape HEV. I have driven the Escape HEV FWD and it has the same ICE as my Ranger P/U. It is heavier by some 400 #’s; it has a larger frontal area by 1.5” width and ~ 4” height, its Cd is slightly less then that of my Ranger so it has a slight edge in the streamline department but with an overall > aero drag component, and it’s a PZEV vs. my LEV-2 (advantage to the Ranger for FE) … Because they both use the exact same ICE other then the Escape HEV is tied to an eCVT/hybrid drivetrain and pack and that its ICE was atkinsonized, you would think the Escape HEV might perform worse out on the highway. Well, it doesn’t and it’s not just because of the gearing. I could camp that thing at 45 mpg at highway speeds whereas my Ranger struggles mightily to maintain a max of around 40 mpg. I have tens of thousands of miles of tank data from the Ranger and it is not anywhere near as FE capable around town or out on the highway as the Escape HEV is. Around town, the Ranger is good for ~ 50 - 55 mpg in a full blown, no holds barred, extremely aggressive P&G, FAS, DWB, and DWL regiment. The Escape HEV is good for ~ 70 - 75 mpg using the LGA and it’s built in EV. That Atkinsonized intake is worth far more then you might think driving something as heavy as the Escape HEV. You cannot look at just government numbers, you have to look at the data of those that have taken these automobiles to their respective absolute limits and having done so, the Escape HEV using the same atkinsonized 2.3 L ICE is far more capable in the Escape HEV then the non-atkinsonized 2.3L ICE is in the Ranger P/U.

    ___You have to take the Regen % increases with a grain of salt as they were based on the FTP75 test. In the real world, regen is only good for when you have to apply the binders. Using the DWB technique eliminates much of the regen available and instead allows for Glide/Coast longer distances w/ ICE-off and an overall higher FE capability. We are not talking strictly about Toll Booth stops and starts. I am not sure were you live but having driven in at least 25 states in the last 4 years, traffic congestion is just as bad in my Chicago locale as it is in Atlanta, Boston, LA., Orlando, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Washington DC. to name just a few. It is not about how to alleviate congestion, it is about what we actually drive in and through on a daily basis.

    ___The Hurricane comment was from another thread but again, because hundreds of thousands did evacuate because of the fear for their lives a swell as government pronouncements telling them the same, those with HEV’s had no problems taking the long slow crawl to nowhere. Those in non-HEV’s had every problem imaginable including running out of fuel! This was the reality. An Escape HEV can run for upwards of 37 hours crawling through some of the worst traffic the world has ever seen. A non-hybrid Escape would be lucky to pull 10 - 15 hours before running out of fuel. I have read much better articles on the story below but do not have the time to pull them up right now …

    Ford Escape Hybrid Hits the Road

    ___The drivers were not expert efficiency enthusiasts but celebrities and auto journalists for the most part driving the Escape HEV through what has to be the worst nightmare traffic scenarios on the planet. IIRC, they achieved 38.x mpg for the run! Do you think a non-hybrid of any sort can come anywhere near that FE in that nightmare of a commute? This is what Hybridizing buys you. Using the ICE when its needed and not very often when its not …

    ___I do not have the urban vs. highway breakdown but in the Manhattan Challenge above but there were usually 3 and sometimes 4 people in the Escape during that Manhattan Marathon run. I think that should answer your question as to the Escape HEV’s capability while loaded up. I have seen the pics and was in one when GPSman nailed 53.x mpg on a course at the Ford Escape Hybrid Experience with 5 of us in his including John, myself, 2 Ford Engineers, and a CNN reporter!

    ___Let me also add a bit of real world FE in a brand new Prius II at the “Marathon Attempt” I participated in last August in Pittsburgh, PA. I gave a clinic to a couple that wanted to see what the Marathon was all about. They had just arrived home in their totally stock and not setup Prius II loaded with camping gear. I took the passenger seat, the husband the driver seat, and his wife right rear seat. We have maybe 7 - 800 #’s of people and gear in the poor thing. It was a balmy 85 or so degrees F (I could look up the exact temp as I have written about this extensively in the past) and we had the A/C set to Auto at a very comfortable 76 degrees F. With a freshly reset FCD and driving a single RT run of ~ 30 miles, we pulled back into our starting point with > 85 mpg’s on the FCD! Nothing in the world and I mean nothing available to the average consumer with the size of the Prius II running A/C and loaded down with gear and occupants like it was could have touched that FE on that day. Hybridizing works and you can be quite comfortable while it’s doing its thing as well ;)

    ___These are my own real world experiences. Because I push tanks, most may never see the capabilities that their hybrids are actually capable of just as most with non-hybrid’s will never see theirs either. That being said, the hybrid’s will eat a non-hybrid alive in all but a few particular instances and I mean a very few with the same driver behind the wheel of each …

    ___Good Luck

    Last edited: Feb 26, 2006
  6. psyshack

    psyshack He who posts articles

    I would like to see Ford Hybrid the Ranger. :) My Ranger is a fuel pig no matter what one does with it. The increase in mpg hypermileing it are not steller. And it really slows you down and works you hard.

    Seeing that 25% or less of my driving time is city. Im always very intrested in hwy mpg.
  7. Earthling

    Earthling Trying to be kind to Mother Earth

    Re: Ford Escape Hybrid Fuel Economy Experience and Ford HEV Employees Passion.

    I like Ford's latest advertisement for the Escape Hybrid:|16468762|100010602

    It's cute, and it shows off hybrid technology fairly well.

    My daughter has expressed an interest in hybrids, but won't buy an import, so I emailed her that link.

    I hope Ford turns things around and are successful.

  8. Garyf

    Garyf New Member

    I have a 2002 FWD V6 ecscape and will be buying a new Hybrid Ecscape within the next 2 months. FYI, I've never had a problem with my 2002...not even the headliner:). I have 128,000 miles on it, & change the oil every 7K with synthetic. The only thing I've done besides oil changes are the brakes and tires. It's never been serviced and still has the original trans fluids etc. If you're on the fence about this vehicle, I say buy with confidence.
  9. Jimmy

    Jimmy Well-Known Member

    Once you get your Escape hybrid and have had it long enough, please post again with some performance info (mpg, electric only mileage, etc.). Thanks.
  10. ElwoodCash

    ElwoodCash New Member

    I would be interested in this as well. Thanks

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