Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid uses common
household current (120 volts) for
charging, with the full charge completed
in 6-8 hours. It is not range-limited by
the lithium-ion battery, because once
the battery charge is depleted, the
vehicle continues to operate as a
standard Ford Escape Hybrid.
26 Dec. 2007.
Pursuing its environmental and fuel
economy efforts, Ford Motor Company is advancing plug-in
hybrid technology through two different applications on
research vehicles to help improve the functionality and
durability of lithium-ion battery packs and the future
commercialisation of plug-in hybrid technology.
The two applications include the Ford
Escape Plug-In Hybrid with lithium-ion battery and the Ford
Edge with HySeries Drive, the world’s first
drivable fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle with plug-in
Hybrid, brother of the Ford Escape
On the Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid
side, the first demonstration vehicle was delivered to
Southern California Edison for testing in early
December. Under a two-year partnership with the utility
company, a 20-unit fleet will be tested in California,
first in the utility’s electric vehicle fleet, and
later with selected residential customers.
The delivery comes just five months
after Ford and Southern California Edison announced
their collaboration to advance the commercialisation of
plug-ins by exploring the values of new technologies and
new business models when the battery is connected to the
home and, in time, the electrical grid.
The Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid
(PHEV), capable of delivering up to 120 miles per U.S.
gallon (equivalent to 144 UK mpg, 1.96 litres / 100 km,
51 km / litre), would mean far fewer trips to the gas
Mays, Ford group vice president, Design
and Chief Creative Officer, presenting
the Ford Airstream Concept with its
HySeries Drive technology, at the 2007
Detroit auto show.
Sherif Marakby, chief engineer for
Ford’s Global Core Hybrid Engineering, explained that
to deliver such a fuel economy to the customer, at a
value that is not cost prohibitive, Ford is working with
partners such as Southern California Edison, to identify
new business models. He added : "Such models could
address battery ownership issues and customer, utility
and automaker value as it relates to the electrification
One of the major practical aspects of
the parallel hybrid electric vehicle is that it uses
common household current (120 volts) for charging, with
a full charge of the battery completed within six to
Ford says that when the Escape PHEV
is driven on surface streets for the first 30 miles (48
km) following a full charge, it can achieve up to 120
mpg – roughly 4.5 times its traditional gas internal
combustion engine-powered counterpart.
Drive powertrain under the Airstream
concept: a battery-powered, plug-in
hybrid with a hydrogen fuel cell that
operates as an on-board charger.
A fully charged Ford Escape PHEV
operates in two modes, electric drive and blended
Electric drive: at urban
speeds, the high capacity plug-in hybrid battery allows
for extended battery-only driving distance.
Blended drive: At higher power
demands and vehicle speeds, the vehicle automatically
switches to blended electric/engine mode, providing
propulsion using both the engine and the high-capacity
battery, further reducing fuel consumption.
Another highly practical element
comes from the fact that the vehicle is not
range-limited by the amount of charge available in the
high-voltage lithium-ion battery, because once the
battery charge is depleted, the vehicle continues to
operate as a standard Ford Escape Hybrid. The transition
is automatic and unnoticeable to the driver.
The testing will indicate the
durability, reliability and safety of new battery
technology. The cost of those advanced batteries today
means the technology is currently not economically
feasible for widespread consumer applications.
HySeries: the compressed Hydrogen
fuel is delivered via the fueling port
at 350 bar in under 5 minutes.
"We bring our expertise in
energy production, delivery and management, and combine
it with Ford’s expertise in hybrid technology"
said Lynda Ziegler, Southern California Edison’s
senior vice president, Customer Service. "Together,
we are seeking solutions to address the needs of our
shared customers... This is not about simply connecting
the car to the grid. It’s about integrating vehicles
and energy storage technologies into the energy system
of the future."
Southern California Edison - an
Edison International company - is one of the largest
electric utilities in the United States, serving a
population of more than 13 million via 4.8 million
customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area
within central, coastal and Southern California.
Edge with HySerie Drive on the streets
of Manhattan during the New York
International Auto Show last April.
HySeries Drive - Testing is also underway for
the Ford Edge with HySeries Drive technology, the world’s
first drivable fuel cell hybrid electric plug-in. The
HySeries combines an onboard hydrogen fuel cell
generator with lithium ion batteries to deliver more
than 41 U.S. mpg (equivalent of 49.2 UK mpg, 5.74 litres
/ 100 km, 17.43 km / litre), while some drivers will see
fuel economy well over 80 mpg (equivalent of 96 UK mpg,
2.94 litres / 100 km, 34.01 km / litre).
The HySeries Drive name refers to the
powertrain’s structure: a hydrogen fuel-cell-powered
series hybrid drivetrain. According to Ford, this
approach reduces the size, weight, cost and complexity
of a conventional fuel cell system by more than 50
percent. It also promises to more than double the
lifetime of the fuel cell stack.
The vehicle is built on a flexible
powertrain architecture that will enable Ford to use new
fuel and propulsion technologies as they develop,
without redesigning the vehicle.
Edge with HySerie Drive: 2 LCD screens
give an instant view of energy usage by
the lithium-ion battery and fuel cell.
The plug-in hybrid is powered by a
336-volt lithium-ion battery pack at all times. The
vehicle drives the first 25 miles (40 km) each day on
stored electricity alone, after which the fuel cell
begins operating to keep the battery pack charged. This
provides another 200 miles (322 km) of range for a total
of 225 miles (362 km).
However, Ford indicates that
individual experiences will vary widely and can stretch
out the time between fill-ups to more than 400 miles
(643 km). Drivers with modest daily needs would need to
refuel only rarely, and drivers who travel less than 50
miles (80 km) each day will see fuel economy well over
80 mpg (96 UK mpg, 2.94 litres / 100 km, 34.01 km /
litre), while those with long daily commutes will see
somewhat lower numbers as the fuel cell must run a
larger fraction of the time.
The Ford Edge with HySeries Drive can
travel at speeds of up to 85 mph (137 km/h). An on-board
charger (110/220 VAC) can refresh the battery pack when
a standard home outlet is available, making the concept
a true plug-in hybrid.
When the battery pack is depleted to
approximately 40 percent, the hydrogen fuel cell –
supplied by Ford partner Ballard – automatically turns
on and begins generating electricity to recharge the
batteries. Like a conventional automobile, the Ford Edge
with HySeries Drive is drivable until it runs out of
fuel – in this case via a 350-bar hydrogen tank that
supplies 4.5 kg of useable hydrogen.
Mujeeb Ijaz, manager of fuel cell
vehicle engineering indicates that while "much
progress has been made to date... many significant
technical hurdles need to be overcome before a vehicle
such as the Edge with HySeries Drive can become a
reality. These types of vehicles remain prohibitively
expensive. The single biggest hurdle to plug-ins remains
the cost of lithium-ion batteries. In addition, much
work also needs to be done to make fuel cells more
durable and to create a hydrogen infrastructure."
PHEVs, such as the Escape Plug-in
Hybrid and the Edge with HySeries Drive, represent just
one element of Ford’s broader range of actions for the
near, mid and long term. Those actions include the
application of turbocharged, gasoline direct injection
technology (see the all-new 2009 Lincoln
MKS luxury sedan), new fuel-efficient transmissions,
aerodynamic improvements, increased production of
flexible fuel vehicles, additional hybrid vehicles,
weight reductions, and the development of plug-in
technology and hydrogen fuel cells.