The Blue Oval has gifted the U.S. Department of Energy a one-of-a-kind vehicle: a plug-in Escape Hybrid that can run on E85, has a 30-mile range on pure electric power at up to 40 mph, and gets 88 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway. Yes, you read that correctly. But you might want to read it again.

The Escape uses a 4-cylinder engine assisted by a 10kW lithium-ion battery pack made by Johnson Controls/Saft. In pure electric mode, the battery pack runs until it is 70-percent depleted, and then the gasoline engine kicks in. The vehicle's emissions are estimated to be 60-percent less than that of a traditional gas vehicle, and that could climb all the way to 90-percent less if the car used cellulosic ethanol.

This is one of 20 vehicles that Ford is giving to government and research bodies in order to help push the growth and penetration of hybrid vehicles. Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, said "There's no silver bullet solution, so we're pursuing multiple technology paths – recognizing that commercial viability is an essential component for success." And we say hear hear, well done, and it's about time...

[Source: Ford via GM Inside News]