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thoughts about the ford escape? April 13, 2006 1:17 PM

hey there - my husband is shopping for a car and we both really like the prius, but he is too tall and cannot really drive comfortably in there... such a bummer!! but for the many reasons you probably all share with us, we'd really like to get a hybrid. the highlander is a little too pricey for us and we kind of like the escape. all other non-suv-type cars have the same problem of the prius: not fit for a 6foot5, 300lb man. the escape does not have the same gas/mileage of the lovely prius, but it's better than nothing and could still make us feel like we're doing something good... I'd love to get some first-hand thoughts and comments, though... anybody? thanks!! mad.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Maddalena.... April 13, 2006 1:32 PM

Have you considered trading him for a pair of 150 lb men? (sorry, just couldn't resist!) More later on the Escape.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 April 13, 2006 1:40 PM

hehehe! good idea, but I'm afraid he won't be very much into it... you know, he's the one getting the car after all... and I don't think I could handle two husbands!! they'd fight all the time to drive the prius and there won't be any left for me! thanks for the tip, though!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
we love our Ford Escape Hybrid April 14, 2006 2:29 PM

Hi there We've had our Ford Escape Hybrid for a year now and are very happy with it. With the AWD version we get 28-30 mpg combined - doing a lot of short journeys too. It's also great to drive. More reviews and discussion on my blog at www.hybridsmarts.com  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Thanks, Peter April 14, 2006 8:54 PM

Obviously you know about the Escape. My experience is from 3+ years of driving a Honda Civic Hybrid......nothing like the Escape. Now can you shed a little light........What is the correct rated power for the gas engine and electric motor? The Ford site says 133 HP for the engine, and 155 HP combined. http://www.fordvehicles.com/suvs/escapehybrid/features/specs/ That sounds about right, and 155 minus 133 says the electric motor is 22 HP. Then later on the same page they confuse things with a rating of 94 HP for the electric motor, and further screw things up with a "wattage" rating of "400 volt maximum". That simply makes no sense, volts are not watts. Can you look in your book and quote the figures? I'd like to know. Also.....can you drive short distances on electric alone? I understand the Prius can, my Honda cannot. That's something that bugs me, I can't even move one foot without the gas engine starting up. The ability to creep along in stop & go traffic should be possible without starting the gas engine. I'm happy with my car, all said. She gets 50 mpg while driving 75 as long as the load is light and there's no wind. I can beat 65 MPG if I try real hard.... but no thanks, too slow for me!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
How to get 2+2=3! April 15, 2006 7:47 AM

Hi Darryl The combined maximum power is 155 hp. I believe the maths works as follows: The gas engine has a maxium power output of 133 hp at 6000 rpm, and a maximum torque of 124 lb-ft at 4250 rpm. The electric traction motor has a maximum power output of 94 hp at 3000 to 5000 rpm; electric motors tyipcally deliver high torque throughout their range of rpm. In addition to the gas engine and electric traction motor, there is an electric generator, a plantery gear "power splitter" and the high voltage battery. The HV battery is never fully charged or discharged - in order to prolong its life. Thus its nominal operating voltage of 330 V is somewhat lower than its maximum possible voltage of 400 V. Note also that both the traction motor and the generator can operate 'backwards' ie the motor can generate and the generator can drive, if called upon. These components work together in several modes depending on vehicle speed, throttle position, road conditions, battery charge, etc. 1. At low speeds (below about 30 mph) and low acceleration, if the battery is well charged and there are no high power secondary systems operating (eg air conditioning) the vehcile operates in EV mode ie the gas engine is off and the vehicle is driven entirely by the electric motor and (possibly) the generator (operating 'backwards'). The mode you like - and I've managed to get about 5 miles range in this mode on a good day. 2. At moderate speeds and accelerations, there is a complicated mix of power flows between the gas engine, the generator, the battery and the electric traction motor, depending on vehicle speed, throttle position, road conditions, battery charge etc. The system tries to keep the gas engine running at its most efficient rpm, so if the total power required is less than that produced by the engine at its most efficient rpm, the extra power is syphoned off by the power splitter (planetary gears) and goes to charge the battery (if needed) or to the road via the traction motor. 3. For high acceleration (when the driver flloors the throttle) the electric motor initially kicks in a lot of power while the gas engine spins up. The max torque of the gas engine (ie max acceleration it can deliver) is at lower rpm than its max power. So momentarily the system tries to keep the engine at the max torque rpm and adds power from the battery through the traction motor. After a few seconds (in my experience about a couple) the battery maxes out, and further acceleration is provided by the gas engine alone. When the driver eases off the throttle, power is diverted back trhough to the generator to recharge the battery, and the system tries to get back into mode 2. 4. When decelerating excess engine rpm turn the generator to recharge the battery and/or send power to the wheels through the traction motor. Additionally, when the brakes are applied the regenerative braking system also recharges the battery. So, the reason the stated gas and electric max horsepowers do not add up is that these two power sources are never really simply adding to eachother in parallel without something else going on at the same time (eg recharging the battery) and/or because of the different torque/power curves of the gas engine and electric motor. The stated 155 hp is really an approximation for the sake of comparison: overall the acceleration performance of the Ford Escape Hybrid is comparable to a hypothetical vehicle with a 155 hp conventional gas engine. There is another in my opinion huge difference in the driveablilty though, which is that the power splitter / planetary gear system (under computer control) gives the "Continuously Variable Transmission" effect - from the driver's point of view there is no jerky gear shifting and the vehicle is either at the most fuel efficient (its raison d'etre) or delivering the maxium torque (acceleration) continuously at every speed if the vehicle is accelerating hard. This last effect is one of the main reasons that the FEH has surprisingly 'sporty' performance. I have to confess that a couple of years ago I was as prejudiced as the next person and probably would not have bought a Ford - thinking there were issues with design, technology, reliability, build quality - the whole thing. Now I think Ford deserves a chance - the company made a bold move investing in a range of hybrid vehicles; the technology they have developed (and they did develiop their own, not buy it from Toyota) is innovative and works very well and in the FEH they have made a really good vehicle. I know that hybrids will not solve the oil dependency problem, but they are vital step in the right direction by a motor manufacturer and I believe as concerded consumers we should support them in this by buying their products at the sametime as using political pressures. FInally - if you haven't had a look at my blog yet, come on over to www.hybridsmarts.com. Currently there are two of us FEH drivers contributing to it - both in he USA (although I am a Brit). It would be great to have some opinions from driver of other hybrid vehicles too. Cheers Peter  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Escape HEV and A/C April 15, 2006 4:49 PM

Hi, I have a question. The company I work for has a hybrid Escape. I am not privileged enough to drive it, but our IT guy drives it all the time. However, he hates it, because, *he says*, the air conditioning cuts out when you go less than 35 mph. Now, this is a problem in Houston, with our hellfire heat and congested roads. Does this actually happen to anyone else? Or is there something wrong with the car? Or can it be -- gasp -- user error? Thanks, Phil  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Keep your cool in the FEH! April 16, 2006 5:01 AM

The Ford Escape Hybrid tries to conserve fuel by switching off all "non-essential" power drains whenever it can. The AC uses so much power (on any car) that the gas engine needs to be running to keep the AC running continuously. So when the escape is in the EV mode (gas engine off) it runs the AC cooling for as long as it can without the gas engine's help, then spins the the gas engine to recharge the battery. Thus the AC air temperature in EV mode slowly warms up from (feels like to me) about 55 farenheit to about 65 farenheit before the gas engine kicks in and cools it back down again. In many driving conditions this is fine, because the gas engine has to kick in anyway because of harder acceleration, higher speed or just to recharge the battery. If you are (un)lucky enough to be in the kind of traffice that enables you to stay in EV mode (or at a standstill!) for long periods, this can however be uncomfortable. The solution, fortunately, is easy. Just turn the heater control to the "MAX AC" setting, or the anti-fog setting at the other end of the dial (these settings are indicated by red print). This forces the AC to stay on all the time - and to do this prevents the gas engine from tunrning off. There is an impact however on fuel economy and pollution emissions, because the gas engine is running the whole time. If you are mostly in motion, the fuel economy penalty is only 1-2 mpg in my experience. If you spend a lot of time at a standstill, however, things are worse (this is after all the major cause of urban vehicle pollution!). It is though extremely easy to switch between MAX AC and regular AC to maintain your comfort level. In this case, as your colleague presumably is not paying for the gas himself (ie is not shying away from switching to MAX AC to save fuel), your suspicion of 'user error' seems well founded. Tell him to read the destructions! :) Peter H www.hybridsmarts.com  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Thanks, Peter April 16, 2006 6:07 PM

Thanks, I will forward this to him!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
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