"This has the potential to reduce your fuel consumption by two thirds and offset part of that by energy from the grid."
Sven Gustafson - The Oakland Business Review
Jan 14, 2009
When can consumers really have one? -- Ed.
At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, much of the media spotlight was on automakers' plans for next-generation alternative-fueled vehicles.
I took advantage of a rare opportunity to drive two of them whose commercial releases are still a ways off: a plug-in Ford Escape and a fuel cell Chevrolet Equinox.
While shiny metal and massive video screens rule the main floor of Cobo Center, the basement resembles a garden show, with hundreds of native pine, spruce and birch trees, the air smelling heavily of fresh mulch and evergreens. In the middle of this bizarre scene is the Michigan EcoXperience, a looping course where visitors to the show can ride along in some of the cars of the future.
Ford's plug-in Escape uses a 10 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery that is about 1.5 times heavier than the 2 kilowatt-hour nickel-metal hydride battery pack that powers the production Escape hybrid. The plug-in's lithium-ion batteries can be fully recharged from a standard 120-volt outlet in between six and eight hours.
The small sport utility vehicle boasts an electric-only driving range of up to 30 miles, provided you drive below... [Read More]