Ford Escape Hybrid



Pictured above: the Ford Escape Hybrid


Ford USA have recently released a hybrid version of the popular escape SUV. A hybrid car uses two or more means of power and in the escapes case this comes from both a battery powered electric motor and a petrol engine. The Escape Hybrid's electric motor is a compact design that operates on power drawn both from the battery pack and from a very intelligent generator motor. When required, the generator motor restarts the gas engine (remember, the gas engine shuts down automatically for stoplights and when coasting). And when the gas engine is running, it helps recharge the battery pack.

That means in city or stop and go driving, you could spend a lot drive time without using fuel. The ingenious generator motor provides power boosts during heavy load situations, helping Escape Hybrid accelerate briskly to speed. Aside from the fact that electric motors use no fuel, they also deliver maximum torque at low rpm so they are an ideal compliment to gasoline engines, which generate best torque at higher rpm. And because Escape Hybrid's power system is completely automatic, you never have to do a thing except enjoy the ride and the fuel savings.

In a conventional vehicle when you brake, the energy is lost as heat. During braking in the Escape Hybrid, the electric motor captures this energy that is normally lost and sends it back to the battery pack to be stored for later use. So when you apply the brakes, you are, in effect, recharging the battery pack. Engineers call this regenerative braking and it represents a major part of the Escape Hybrid's fuel efficiency advantage over conventional vehicles. Although Escape Hybrid will never make stop and go driving any more enjoyable, that is actually when it is at it's fuel saving best.

The Escape Hybrid's gasoline engine is a dual-overhead-cam design with four valves per cylinder for optimum breathing and four-orifice fuel injectors for fine atomization. It also incorporates a special Atkinson cycle for improved efficiency. It works to slightly delay intake valve closing to significantly increase the gasoline engine's energy conversion efficiency. In other words: you get more mileage out of each gallon of gasoline in an Atkinson cycle engine. The four-cylinder engine is a well-proven design with three successful years of service to its credit. In the Escape Hybrid, the Atkinson cycle engine generates 133 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 129 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm.

The Escape Hybrid is expected to be certified for sale as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV), the strictest of emissions certifications. By itself, the Escape Hybrid's 2.3L engine is very fuel-efficient. However, an innovative stop/start function makes it even more so. The stop/start function automatically shuts the engine down when it isn't needed such as at stop lights, low speeds or when coasting. This puts the Escape Hybrid at its fuel saving best in stop and go driving. The stop/start cycling is completely automatic and seamless requiring no driver input.

The sealed nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack in the Escape Hybrid is rated at 330 volts. Its function is to store electrical energy for starting the gasoline engine and for added boosts in acceleration performance. Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries have been used with excellent success for years. And because of regenerative braking and the generator motor it's never necessary (or even possible) to plug the Escape Hybrid into a charger. 

When called upon, Escape Hybrid's battery pack also helps provide fun to drive V-6-like acceleration or cruising at high speeds. Much like a conventional vehicle, when you press hard on the accelerator pedal of the Escape Hybrid, the VSC signals all the contributing components to pitch in with their extra power. The Electric motor, generator motor and battery pack all kick in to contribute and combine their extra power with that of the gasoline engine.

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Did You Know?

The first successful hybrid car was designed by Ferdinand Porsche in 1928. While many hobbyists have made their own hybrids, no manufactures released a hybrid until the 90's  when the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius hit the market.



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