From Ford press: Ford Escape Hybrid is the world's cleanest and most fuel-efficient SUV*. It combines the fuel economy and emissions benefits of a "full" hybrid with the go-anywhere capability, toughness and spaciousness of the Ford Escape, America's favorite small SUV. Escape Hybrid is the first hybrid electric vehicle to offer four-wheel-drive and towing capability of up to 1,000 pounds.
The Escape Hybrid is a "full" hybrid, meaning it automatically switches between pure electric power, pure gasoline engine power or a combined operation to maximize efficiency and performance.
Full hybrids can achieve 50 percent or more improvement in fuel economy during stop-and-go driving, when the electric motor is most efficient. In fact, the Escape Hybrid provides more than 75 percent fuel economy improvement in city driving, compared with a conventional V-6 powered Escape XLT.
Its gasoline engine and electric motor work in concert, providing performance similar to that of a V-6 engine. In less demanding situations, the Escape Hybrid can run on its electric motor alone, its gasoline engine alone or the most efficient combination of the two.
Escape Hybrid can travel more than 400 miles in city driving on a single tank of gasoline. The powertrain provides 0-60 acceleration performance comparable to the 200 horsepower V-6 engine in the conventional Escape.
The generator motor provides power boosts during heavy load situations, helping Escape Hybrid accelerate briskly to speed. In addition to fuel-free operation, electric motors deliver maximum torque at low rpm, so they are an ideal complement to gasoline engines that generate peak power at higher rpm.
The Escape Hybrid's 70-kilowatt traction motor can launch the vehicle on clean electric power - up to 25 mph. When needed, the generator can smoothly start the gasoline engine in less than 400 milliseconds, without the increased emissions produced in starting up a conventional engine. The combination of the gasoline engine and electric traction motor provides seamless, strong response similar to a V-6 engine.