Ford Puts Escape Plug-In, Edge HYSeries Research Vehicles Through Paces


  • First Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) delivered to Southern California Edison as part of unique partnership to advance commercialization of PHEVs; on-road testing underway.
  • Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid with lithium-ion battery achieves up to 120 mpg.
  • Ford Edge with HySeries Drive is world’s first drivable fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle with plug-in capability.
  • HySeries Drive technology is able to operate using a fuel cell, small gasoline or diesel engine connected to an electric generator to make electricity

Dearborn, Mich., Dec. 11, 2007 – Ford Motor Company is aggressively advancing plug-in hybrid technology through two different applications on research demonstration vehicles as a way to help improve the functionality and durability of lithium-ion battery packs and the future commercialization of plug-in hybrid technology.

The first Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid demonstration vehicle was delivered to Southern California Edison for testing in early December. Under a unique two-year partnership with the utility company, a 20-unit fleet will be tested in California, first in the utility’s electric vehicle fleet, and later with selected residential customers.

The Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV), capable of delivering up to 120 miles per gallon, would mean far fewer trips to the gas station.

“To deliver the superior fuel economy of our PHEVs to the customer – at a value that is not cost prohibitive, we are working with our partners, Southern California Edison, to identify new business models,” said Sherif Marakby, chief engineer for Ford’s Global Core Hybrid Engineering. “Such models could address battery ownership issues and customer, utility and automaker value as it relates to the electrification of vehicles.”

The parallel hybrid electric vehicle uses common household current (120 volts) for charging, with a full charge of the battery completed within six to eight hours. When driven on surface streets for the first 30 miles following a full charge, the Ford Escape PHEV can achieve up to 120 mpg – roughly 4.5 times its traditional gas internal combustion engine-powered counterpart.

A fully charged Ford Escape PHEV operates in two modes, electric drive and blended electric/engine drive. At urban speeds, the high capacity plug-in hybrid battery allows for extended battery-only driving distance. At higher power demands and vehicle speeds, the vehicle automatically switches to blended electric/engine mode, providing propulsion using both the engine and the high-capacity battery, further reducing fuel consumption.

The vehicle is not range-limited by the amount of charge available in the high-voltage lithium-ion battery, because once the charge in the battery has been depleted, the vehicle continues to operate as a fuel-efficient, standard Ford Escape Hybrid. The transition is automatic and unnoticeable to the driver.

Ford and SCE jointly will conduct testing of the vehicles, some of which may be evaluated in typical customer settings to model overall home and grid values. The testing will provide valuable data related to the durability, reliability and safety of new battery technology. The cost of those advanced batteries today means the technology is currently not economically feasible for widespread consumer applications.

Ford Edge with HySeries Drive

Testing is also underway with the Ford Edge with HySeries Drive technology, the world’s first drivable fuel cell hybrid electric plug-in. The HySeries combines an onboard hydrogen fuel cell generator with lithium ion batteries to deliver more than 41 mpg, while some drivers will see fuel economy well over 80 mpg.

The HySeries Drive name is derived from the powertrain’s structure: a hydrogen fuel-cell-powered series hybrid drivetrain. This highly innovative approach reduces the size, weight, cost and complexity of a conventional fuel cell system by more than 50 percent. It also promises to more than double the lifetime of the fuel cell stack.

The vehicle is built on a flexible powertrain architecture that will enable ford to use new fuel and propulsion technologies as they develop, without redesigning the vehicle.

The plug-in hybrid is powered by a 336-volt lithium-ion battery pack at all times. The vehicle drives the first 25 miles each day on stored electricity alone, after which the fuel cell begins operating to keep the battery pack charged. This provides another 200 miles of range for a total of 225 miles.

Individual experiences will vary widely and can stretch out the time between fill-ups to more than 400 miles. Drivers with modest daily needs would need to refuel only rarely, and drivers who travel less than 50 miles each day will see fuel economy well over 80 mpg, while those with long daily commutes will see somewhat lower numbers as the fuel cell must run a larger fraction of the time.

The Ford Edge with HySeries Drive can travel at speeds of up to 85 mph. An on-board charger (110/220 VAC) can refresh the battery pack when a standard home outlet is available, making the concept a true plug-in hybrid.

When the battery pack is depleted to approximately 40 percent, the hydrogen fuel cell – supplied by Ford partner Ballard – automatically turns on and begins generating electricity to recharge the batteries. Like a conventional automobile, the Ford Edge with HySeries Drive is drivable until it runs out of fuel – in this case via a 350-bar hydrogen tank that supplies 4.5 kg of useable hydrogen.

“While much progress has been made to date, certainly, many significant technical hurdles need to be overcome before a vehicle such as the Edge with HySeries Drive can become a reality,” said Mujeeb Ijaz, manager of fuel cell vehicle engineering. “These types of vehicles remain prohibitively expensive. The single biggest hurdle to plug-ins remains the cost of lithium-ion batteries. In addition, much work also needs to be done to make fuel cells more durable and to create a hydrogen infrastructure.”

PHEVs, such as the Escape Plug-in Hybrid and the Edge with HySeries Drive, represent just one element of Ford’s broader blueprint for sustainability that details a wide range of actions for the near, mid and long term.

Those actions include the application of gasoline turbo direction injection technology, new fuel-efficient transmissions, aerodynamic improvements, increased production of flexible fuel vehicles, additional hybrid vehicles, weight reductions, and the development of plug-in technology and hydrogen fuel cells. All of the actions are designed to improve fuel economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deliver the affordable products millions of Ford’s customers desire.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 260,000 employees and about 100 plants worldwide, the company’s core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.fordvehicles.com.

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