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Friday, January 27, 2006

Ford Motor Company releasing E85 hybrid version of popular Escape model

Ford Unveils Hybrid E85
January 26, 2006


"Both hybrids and ethanol-fueled vehicles can significantly lessen U.S. dependence on imported oil while reducing the impact on our global environment."

-- Nancy Gioia, director, Sustainable Mobility Technologies & Hybrid Programs "This innovative research program could lead to breakthroughs to significantly reduce our nation's dependence on imported oil while also helping to address global climate change," said Anne Stevens, executive vice president, Ford Motor Company, and chief operating officer, The Americas.

Washington, DC [] Ford Motor Company recently unveiled the Ford Escape Hybrid E85 at the Washington Auto Show. The Escape Hybrid E85, a research vehicle that features both hybrid electric power and flexible-fuel capability, is the world's first hybrid vehicle capable of operating on blends of fuel containing as much as 85 percent ethanol.

Ford has two full hybrid electric vehicle models on the road today -- the Ford Escape Hybrid and the Mercury Mariner Hybrid -- and will increase production capacity to 250,000 hybrid vehicles a year by the end of the decade. The company will produce up to 250,000 ethanol-capable vehicles this year, including the Ford F-150 pickup truck, as well as the Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car. The world's first hybrid SUV, the Ford Escape Hybrid, was introduced in 2004.

E85 is a fuel blend that contains 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Ethanol is a renewable fuel, most commonly made from corn in the U.S. The Ford Escape Hybrid 85 would produce about 25 percent less carbon dioxide if operated exclusively on E85. Ford recently announced a project with VeraSun Energy Corporation to encourage the further availability of E85 fuel at retail filling stations. Today, E85 is most commonly available in the Midwest, with about 600 E85 fueling stations in the U.S.

Although Ford engineers have achieved low tailpipe emissions with flexible-fuel vehicles (FFVs), evaporative emissions remain a challenge. Ford engineers are pursuing a number of strategies to address this challenge with the goal of achieving partial zero-emissions vehicle (PZEV) status. No FFV has yet been certified to this extremely clean standard, because of the evaporative requirement in the PZEV standard.

Ford researchers also hope to apply a number of proprietary engine technologies being developed for future application that could further increase the fuel economy performance of a hybrid FFV.

"Hydrogen holds the ultimate long-term promise for clean and sustainable power," said Nancy Gioia, director, Sustainable Mobility Technologies & Hybrid Programs. "In the meantime, both hybrids and ethanol-fueled vehicles can significantly lessen U.S. dependence on imported oil while reducing the impact on our global environment."

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