The Ford E85 Escape Hybrid is the world's first hybrid vehicle capable of operating on blends of fuel containing as much as 85 percent ethanol-- a renewable fuel that can be produced from American-grown corn or sugar beets. A total of 20 Ford E85 Escape Hybrids will be delivered to select fleet customers in six states, staking Ford's claim to another important industry first.
"As a leader in both hybrid vehicles and in vehicles capable of operating on ethanol-based fuels, Ford is the ideal company to bring both technologies together for the first time,â€ť said Nancy Gioia, director, Sustainable Mobility Technology, Ford Motor Company. â€śThis innovative research represents one of many projects we have at Ford to address our customers desire for a fuel efficient product that meet all of their functional needs, while working on reducing our nation's dependence on oil imports and helping to address global climate change.â€ť
Kansas City Power & Light's E85 Escape Hybrids will be used by one of its field design groups that work in the company's service territory. They'll be used in urban settings, primarily to take advantage of the hybrids abilities in city driving settings.
â€śGreat Plains Energyâ€™s environmental strategy is aggressively pursuing the use of renewables," said Michael Chesser, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Great Plains Energy. "We are pleased to be among the first to take advantage of the flexibility of a hybrid vehicle that uses E85 fuel. Our current biofuel program has already offset approximately 20 percent of our gasoline usage and these Ford vehicles will advance our long-term commitment to a diversified fleet. â€ť
"My administration has and will continue to strongly encourage the use of these environmentally-friendly technologies,â€ť said Gov. Matt Blunt. â€śThe use of renewable fuels improves our environment and the air we breathe. With old-fashioned American ingenuity, like that displayed by the Ford Motor Company, we can become more energy independent. Our state is doing our part to look for alternative fuels to help lessen Americaâ€™s dependence on foreign oil. The more clean-burning, renewable fuel Missouri produces and uses, the better off we will all be in the long-term."
The Ford E85 Escape Hybrid produces about 25 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a gasoline-fueled Ford Escape Hybrid. It also runs on a renewable fuel, which can help reduce this nation's dependence on imported oil.
If all of the more than six million flexible fuel vehicles now on America's highways operated on E85, more than 3.6 billion gallons of gasoline could be displaced a year. For its part, Ford has committed to making half of its annual vehicle production capable of running on alternative fuels by 2012.
A major challenge in the promotion of renewable fuel use is availability of infrastructure. Less than 1 percent of the 170,000 retail gas stations in the country carry E85 ethanol. Expanding the availability of E85 is a critical element in moving America toward energy independence.
Ford, in partnership with MFA Oil in Missouri and Vera Sun Energy in Illinois, last year launched the nation's first ethanol corridor. The Midwest Ethanol Corridor expands E85 availability in stations located primarily along I-55 in Illinois and I-70 in Missouri by converting gasoline pumps to E85.
More to Learn
The Ford Escape Hybrid E85 research project is a learning lab for Ford's FFV programs for 2010 and beyond. Tailpipe emissions of flexible-fuel vehicles still represent one of the biggest challenges and priorities.
Currently, no manufacturer's FFV has been certified as a partial zero-emissions vehicle (PZEV). And a full-hybrid application presents even more evaporative challenges because the vehicle operates on electric power alone without actuating the evaporative vacuum system that operates when the gas engine is in use.
"Although we currently do not have plans to produce the Escape Hybrid E85, the research from this technology could lead to breakthroughs in even more advanced technologies," said Gioia.
Ford was the first to introduce a hybrid SUV with the Ford Escape Hybrid in 2004. Hybrid versions of the popular Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan midsize sedans will join the lineup with production starting in 2008. Last year, the company produced 250,000 ethanol-capable vehicles, including the Ford F-150 and the Lincoln Town Car.
In addition to hybrids and flexible fuel vehicles, Ford is also committed to the development of other advanced alternative fuel technologies. These include hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells, clean diesel, advanced powertrains, plug-in hybrids and hydrogen combustion engines.
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 companyâ€™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 Fordâ€™s products, please visit www.fordvehicles.com
Source: Ford Motor Company