This particular model recharges with a 120-volt outlet and then can take you between 30 and 40 miles on electric power.
Scott Burgess - DETNEWS
- August 19, 2009
A nice tease but I really want to see this tech in the FFH with a 47mph top speed in EV! --Ed.
Dearborn -- The Plug-in Hybrid Electric Ford Escape doesn't make a sound as long as you leave the air conditioning off and don't top 40 mph.
"The AC is tied to the engine right now, but we're going to change that," said Mark Olance, a Ford Motor Co. engineer who rode with me as I took the PHEV Ford Escape for a quick lap around the automaker's Dearborn test track.
There will be a number of changes to the vehicle when it rolls into dealerships in 2012. But for now, just crack the window, hit the accelerator and make a mental note that we may be the last generation of drivers to ever use the term "gas pedal."
After Ford revealed its smart-grid communication technology Tuesday, I got to drive one of 21 PHEV Escapes the company is field testing. Testers have already racked up 75,000 miles on these vehicles, so what's one more? Soon, all of these test vehicles will be equipped with the smart-grid gear, providing engineers with another mountain of data.
The plug-in hybrids operate differently than the straight hybrid models Ford has sold since 2004. Think of them as the missing link between a gas-electric hybrid and pure electric vehicle.
PHEVs use a gas engine and an electric motor like a regular hybrid, but rely much more on the electric motor. Stay below 40 mph, and it's silent driving. Speed up and the engine starts to add more power, but it's still really quiet.
These test vehicles use high-tech lithium-ion batteries, whereas current Ford hybrids use nickel metal hydride batteries. Future cars must have lithium-ion batteries (or something better) for the electric dream to continue.
More importantly, this model feels much more ready than any electric vehicle I've tested. Quick acceleration, seamless gas engine start and stop, nice braking feel (regenerative braking can... [Read More]