Ford Motor Company develops new Ford Escape SUV Plug-in Hybrid to deliver 120 miles per gallon.
Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has developed the first Ford Escape SUV Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) which can achieve more than 120 miles per gallon. The vehicle uses high voltage lithium-ion batteries and can use a common household 120 volt outlet for charging. A full charge of the battery takes six to eight hours.
The Ford Hybrid was delivered Hydro-Quebec, a company that generates and distributes electricity for the Canadian government, to participate in a North America demonstration and research program. The program is launched in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), which conducts research and development relating to the delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. Ford will provide 21 vehicles for the tests and trials.
Ford Escape Hybrid normally achieves an MPG rating of 34 in the city and 31 on the highway. However, the PHEV version, when driven for the first 30 miles, can achieve up to 120 mpg on surface streets. The vehicle is not ranged limited by the amount of charge available because once the charge in the battery is depleted, it continues to operate as a fuel efficient standard SUV Hybrid. The transition is unnoticeable to the driver as it converts seamless and automatic.
Ford, in collaboration with the EPRI, is undertaking a three-year test program on Ford Hybrid vehicles designed to develop and evaluate technical approaches for integrating PHEVs into the electric grid. EPRI has identified nine utilities across North America to test drive and collect data on battery technology, vehicle systems, customer use and grid infrastructure. Hydro-Quebec is the only Canadian company participating in the North American Ford PHEV Program.
Plug-in Hybrids that use electricity and batteries are a sound environmental choice that may play an important role in the fight against climate change. Furthermore, it could be advantageous for consumers to refuel at plug rather than at the pump. Refueling costs for an average vehicle would be $244 in contrast to $1,383, which is 6 times less costly.
The program with Ford and Hydro-Quebec is designed to work towards the replacement of oil with electricity. It is interesting to note that the transport sector accounts for 42 percent of Quebec’s greenhouse gas emission. Hydro-Quebec wants to help reduce the emissions through the electrification of transportation in the country.
For example, the average consumption of one million electric vehicles, which represent 25 percent of Quebec’s cars, is 3 TWh (one billion kilowatts per hour), the equivalent of the annual generation of the Carillon hydroelectric facility. The electrification of vehicles has sparked significant interest in the U.S.A and Canada. PHEVs are one element of Ford’s blueprint for sustainability that includes actions ranging from refinements in gasoline fueled engines and transmissions, to the development of battery electric vehicles.
The collaboration between Hydro-Quebec, Ford and EPRI represents a valuable contribution to the development of commercially viable plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The expansion of field testing into Canada will enable EPRI to gather the data required for the seamless integration into the grid while providing real world driving experience.