01/12/2005 – FORD ESCAPE HYBRID NAMED NORTH AMERICAN TRUCK OF THE YEAR

FORD ESCAPE HYBRID NAMED 2005 NORTH AMERICAN TRUCK OF THE YEAR

2005 NAIAS

  • Critically acclaimed 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid adds 2005 North American Truck of the Year to its growing list of recognitions and accolades.

  • Escape Hybrid is the cleanest SUV on the road and tops the EPA’s 2005 Fuel Economy Guide as the most fuel-efficient light truck or SUV.

  • Ford Motor Company is expanding its hybrid commitment to five vehicles to be on the road in the 2008 calendar year.


DETROIT, Jan. 9, 2005 – Ford Escape Hybrid – the cleanest, most fuel-efficient SUV on the road – has been named “North American Truck of the Year” for 2005.

Escape Hybrid received the 2005 North American Truck of the Year award this morning at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The award winner is determined by a panel of 50 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada.

“Escape Hybrid’s combination of outstanding fuel economy and genuine Ford SUV go-anywhere capability, passenger room and cargo capacity sets it apart from other ‘green’ vehicles,” said Ford Division President Steve Lyons. “Being selected ‘Truck of the Year’ is a great accomplishment for the world’s first full-hybrid SUV. Escape Hybrid embodies our philosophy of great products, strong business and better world – and paves the way for the future as we expand our commitment to hybrid technology.”

The North American Truck of the Year award is designed to recognize the most outstanding truck of the year based on factors including innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar. To be eligible, vehicles must be “all new” or “substantially changed” from the previous model. The 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid received top honors among 12 eligible trucks.

Not All Hybrids Are Created Equal

The 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid is the first hybrid to be built in North America. It combines the fuel economy and emissions benefits of a “full” hybrid with the go-anywhere capability, toughness and spaciousness of the Ford Escape, America’s best-selling small SUV. Escape Hybrid is the first hybrid electric vehicle that can comfortably accommodate five adults and their gear.

Escape Hybrid has earned the highest fuel economy numbers for an SUV as certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (36 mpg city/31 mpg highway/33 combined in front-wheel-drive configuration; 33 mpg city/29 mpg highway/31 mpg combined for the four-wheel-drive model).

Because it’s a full hybrid, Escape Hybrid is able to run on either its gasoline engine or on its electric motor depending on driving conditions. It can drive exclusively in electric mode during slower speeds and does not need to engage the internal combustion engine as long as there is enough power stored in the battery. In addition, the full-hybrid system incorporates regenerative braking technology, which funnels energy generated from the brakes into the battery and stores it for use later on.

Substantially improved fuel efficiency is only part of the story. Escape Hybrid also is an extremely clean vehicle to operate, producing 97 percent less hydrocarbon and oxides of nitrogen emissions than vehicles that meet today’s nationwide Tier I emissions standard. That’s clean enough to qualify the 2005 Escape Hybrid for the stringent Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) standards.

“When we began work on Escape Hybrid, we made a commitment to delivering a no-compromise, authentic Ford SUV that’s fun to drive, spacious, comfortable and capable, with substantially lower fuel use and emissions,” said Mary Ann Wright, director, Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrid Programs, Ford Motor Company. “Mission accomplished! It’s wonderful to see the vehicle we originally envisioned resonating so strongly with customers.”

Impressive Beginning

Since its introduction in late summer last year, customer demand for Escape Hybrid has been overwhelming. The company already has sold 4,000 Escape Hybrids. Thousands of additional orders are already in the system, and thousands more customers have placed their names on dealer waiting lists. Ford will build about 20,000 Escape Hybrids in the first full year of production, but is working with suppliers to evaluate the possibility of increasing hybrid volumes for the future.

The 2005 Truck of the Year award is the latest recognition Escape Hybrid has garnered since its debut. Escape Hybrid also has been honored with other notable accolades, including:

  • “Best Products of 2004″ – Business Week, Dec. 13, 2004.

  • “Best Use of Technology of 2004 ” – Texas Auto Writers Association

  • “Best of What’s New, Automotive Category” – Popular Science, December 2004

  • “Elle 25″ – Elle, September 2004

  • “Top 25 Green Cars” – Green Car Magazine, Winter 2004

  • “Environmental Power List” – Organic Style, November 2004

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