Is 120 miles-per-gallon too much to ask from an American car company? Ford doesn’t think so.
With the addition of the Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) to its development line, Ford Motor Company is showing that it can dance with the best of them.
The Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid uses high voltage lithium-ion batteries, which can be charged using common household currents (120v). Fully charging the battery takes six to eight hours. For the first 30 miles following a full charge, the Ford Escape PHEV can drive on the batteries alone, before switching to operate as a fuel efficient, standard Ford Escape Hybrid. The transition is automatic and unnoticeable.
It was the Ford Escape PHEV that was delivered to Hydro-Québec, Canada’s largest electricity generator, on June 9th. Ford Motor Company and Hydro-Québec announced that Hydro-Québec has joined a North America-wide demonstration and research program on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).
Ford will provide 21 vehicles to nine different utilities across North America for the real-world trials. The test drives will be used to collect data on vehicle systems, battery technology, customer use and grid infrastructure. Hydro-Québec is the only Canadian company participating in the North American Ford PHEV Program.
“We believe collaboration with utility companies to explore new business models, standards, infrastructure, and communication between vehicle and electric grids will be a key component to advancing the commercialization of electric vehicles in the coming years,” said Nancy Gioia, director of the Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrid Vehicle programs at Ford Motor Company. Electrification of vehicles may play an important role in the fight against global climate change.
“We have to work towards replacing oil by electricity, at least for personal and urban transportation. The transport sector accounts for 42% of Québec’s greenhouse gas emissions. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that could be achieved through the electrification of transport in Québec, where 98% of the electricity is produced from renewable sources, would be considerable. Hydro-Québec is committed to doing its part in this area.” noted Thierry Vandal, Hydro-Québec’s president and CEO.
Electric Vehicles (EV) and Plug-In Hybrids (PHEV) have grown in interest in the U.S. and Canada. PHEVs are one element of Ford’s blueprint for sustainability. Ford’s blueprint includes actions ranging from refining gasoline engines and transmissions to the development of battery electric vehicles. “The delivery of this Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid vehicle today represents another step in our development and understanding of the technology and its place in the overall energy picture,” Gioia said.
The benefits of EV and PHEV, however, are not strictly environmental. Benefits reach deep into the most sensitive part of human anatomy, the pocketbook. Refueling at a plug rather than a pump costs an average vehicle driven 11,000 miles per year around $250 as opposed to $1,400. That’s $1,150 dollars in savings per year!
The Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid is scheduled for commercial availability in 2012.
More: Get the specs on the Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid.
Photo Credit: Sam VarnHagen/Ford Motor Co.