Friday, June 27, 2008

Ford Continues March Toward Next-Gen Vehicle

In previous posts I have mentioned Ford's Escape Hybrid as being the vehicle to take us into the next generation of vehicles with a mpg rating higher than most cars and the capability of combining flex-fuel and hybrid into the same package. Today Ford announced improvements to come out in its line of Ford Escape Hybrids for the 2009 model year. Although none of the 25,000 vehicles they plan to produce in 2009 are planned to contain a flex-fuel advantage, they still hold several benefits over other vehicles.

What Ford did was to improve the timing of the fuel injection and increase the speed at which the car's hybrid battery carries engine performance up to 40 miles per hour. This means that until the small sized SUV tops 40 miles per hour, the battery will be in control of the engine. Amazingly, Ford was able to do this without increasing the engine's need to charge the battery more. They did this by improving the breaking efficiency and convert that saved energy into the battery for greater storage.

With these combined technologies, Ford can offer an Escape Hybrid that gets 34 mpg's in the city and 31 mpg's on the highway -- almost as good as the most efficient four-door cars on the road. However, the price tag will probably be around $27,000. If flex-fuel studies on the Ford Escape/Hybrid come to flurishen, this could be a great vehicle for the future, particularly in the prices for the battery and hybrid system can come down.

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