Ford - along with utilities Southern California Edison, the Electric Power Research Institute, DTE and battery-maker Johnson Controls/Saft - has been working on its plug-in hybrid Escape program for a long while. Yesterday, Ford announced the good news that the federal government has decided to grant the project $10 million through the U.S. Department of Energy. The grant goes to Ford and covers half the cost of the $20 million project. Ford plans to build 20 PHEV Escapes over two years, and delivered the first such vehicle to SCE last December. These SUVs have a 30-mile all-electric range (at speeds up to 40 mpg) from power in a 10 kW li-ion battery. A four-cylinder engine supplies power when the battery cannot. Press release pasted after the jump.

[Source: Ford]


WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 6 – Ford Motor Company has been awarded a $10 million grant by the U.S. Department of Energy for research, development, and demonstration of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

Ford received the grant for the continued development of a demonstration fleet of 20 PHEVs. The total project cost is $20 million, and the government will fund $10 million, or 50 percent, of the program.

In June, Ford delivered the first flexible fuel capable plug-in hybrid electric SUV to the Department of Energy. The Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid, capable of running on gasoline or E85, is part of a demonstration fleet Ford is developing in a partnership with Southern California Edison, the Electric Power Research Institute, DTE and Johnson Controls/Saft.

Advanced vehicle testing is underway on vehicles in California, Michigan, and Washington, D.C. The company delivered the first gasoline-only Escape PHEV to Southern California Edison in December 2007.

"As a leader in both hybrid and flexible fuel technology, Ford is well positioned to bring the two together in a plug-in vehicle. With plug-in hybrids, we have the potential to significantly change our transportation and energy future," said Nancy Gioia, director of Ford's Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrid Vehicle Programs. "Our ultimate goal is to create plug-in vehicles that can be mass produced and meaningfully contribute to our nation's energy security."

The Ford Escape PHEV is equipped with a 10 kilowatt advanced lithium ion energy battery supplied by Johnson Controls/Saft that stores enough electric energy to drive up to 30 miles at speeds of up to 40 mph. The battery works in tandem with a small four-cylinder engine.

Based on current estimates, the vehicle would emit 60 percent less CO2 than a conventional gasoline powered vehicle. The CO2 reduction would reach 90 percent if cellulosic ethanol is used in place of gasoline.

About Ford Motor Company:
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 229,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit our website at

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