10/27/2000 – Hybrid Electric Vehicles Squeeze More Miles From Each Gallon

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Source: Ford Motor Company.

“The hybrid electric powertrain we are developing is designed to
work in a variety of vehicle configurations and will be available in
vehicles that most meet consumers’ needs for space and
Prabhakar Patil, Ford Motor Company, HEV chief
program engineer

Hybrid electric vehicles use a combination of electric storage
batteries and an internal combustion engine to provide increased
efficiency. The batteries supply electricity to drive an electric
traction motor, and the engine runs as necessary to recharge the
batteries or to provide additional power for acceleration. The Ford
Escape SUV, sold in Europe as the Ford Maverick, will be among the
first mass-production vehicles to use this technology. The Escape
HEV, to be introduced in 2003, will feature an electric drivetrain
and a fuel-efficient four-cylinder gasoline engine.

With regenerative braking and nearly instantaneous start-stop
capability for the gasoline engine, thanks to a powerful combined
starter-generator, the Escape HEV will be especially fuel-efficient
in the city, and is expected to deliver about 40 mpg (less than 6
liters per 100 kilometers) in urban driving. Yet Escape HEV will
deliver performance similar to an Escape equipped with a V-6 engine.
Regenerative braking works to recapture energy in the form of
electricity as the brakes are applied. This electric energy, which
is normally lost in the form of heat generated by the brake pads in
conventional systems, is directed toward the battery for future use.

The starter-generator system shuts down the internal combustion
engine when the vehicle is coasting or stopped, saving the fuel
normally spent in idling. When additional power is called for, such
as when the driver steps on the accelerator pedal from a stop, the
powerful starter-generator, packaged between the engine and
transmission, instantaneously restarts the engine – in less than
0.2 seconds – to assist acceleration or to recharge the batteries.

The hybrid Escape is anticipated to be capable of being driven more
than 500 miles – 800 kilometers – on a single tank of gasoline. It
will be certified as SULEV under the California emissions standards
and meet Stage IV requirements in Europe before they become
mandatory in 2005. These technologies have already been proven in
the P2000 research program and Ford Prodigy concept car.

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