Ford began producing the Focus Electric vehicles back in 2011, however they never made it to Australia. Finally after many, many years, Ford have announced they’re bringing the Ford Escape SUV to Australia with a plug-in hybrid model.
Obviously a hybrid is not a full EV, which would certainly be bigger news. Given Ford is a volume seller and Australia’s EV market is still underdeveloped, it seems they’re not interested in leading the way, rather following. The Escape will be the first electrified Ford model offered in Australia, with significant investment in advanced technology filtering through to local customers.
On sale in 2020, the all-new Ford Escape is the second model – after Focus – based upon Ford’s advanced C2 platform architecture, which uses high-tech materials, manufacturing techniques and strategies to deliver direct customer benefits that Escape is known for: driving dynamics, user-friendliness, yet with up-to-the minute technology.
“We’re proud to bring the first of our global electrified vehicles to Australian customers in the stylish and capable all-new Escape. Australians continue to embrace SUVs, which is why we are introducing our first plug-in hybrid powertrain with this vehicle.”Ford Australia and New Zealand President and CEO, Kay Hart.
The all-new Ford Escape PHEV will enable customers to take full advantage of the extensive engineering, fresh design and improved functionality, which will deliver bold, distinctive design, greater interior space and improved cargo area flexibility with a strong emphasis on safety and technology.
All-new Escape: Plug-in Smarts and efficiency
Available from launch in Australia in 2020, the all-new Escape PHEV delivers the driving range and freedom offered by a traditional combustion engine alongside the efficiency and refinement of an electric powertrain.
The power-split architecture combines a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle petrol engine, electric motor and generator, and 14.4kWh lithium-ion battery to produce 165kW. Ford’s first PHEV in Australia will deliver a fully-electric driving range in excess of 50 kilometres[i].
The Ford Escape PHEV’s battery can be recharged using an integrated charging port, and is automatically replenished on the move using regenerative charging technology that captures kinetic energy normally lost during braking.
Drivers can choose when and how to deploy battery power using EV Auto, EV Now, EV Later and EV Charge modes. When the battery reaches its lowest state-of-charge, the system automatically reverts to EV Auto mode – supplementing petrol engine power with electric motor assistance using recaptured energy to optimise fuel-efficiency for the Escape PHEV.
New Escape: premium design for an advanced powertrain
The all-new Escape PHEV introduces a distinctive exterior with premium proportions. A streamlined silhouette improves aerodynamics, for better economy, and incorporates the longer wheelbase. This creates a larger footprint on the road benefitting ride and stability; a longer bonnet; further reclined rear windshield angle; and lower roofline. The result is a more energetic, nimble and capable appearance.
The simplified design brings a more elegant, sophisticated ethos, enabling Australian Escape customers to choose a model that better matches their personality, style and taste. In addition to premium paint finishes, this includes demarcation via unique light signatures, athletic stances on model-specific alloy wheels, and detailing such as intakes, valences and grille facia, to bring a clear story with each Escape.
“Escape customers have expressed that they are ready for even more emotional design, and our all-new Escape is a sculpture skilfully articulated. Visually sleeker, lower and wider – it makes you feel excited just by looking at it.
The all-new interior is a sanctuary space, designed to allow everyday life to happen. Harmonious and airy, it fuses premium materials, precise craftsmanship and state-of-the-art technology.”Amko Leenarts, director, Design, Ford of Europe.
New Escape: more space, more appeal
Efficiency is key to Australian SUV buyers, and was a core element in every process of development for the all-new Ford Escape. The Escape’s C2 platform uses advanced materials to be significantly stronger, more rigid and electrification-ready, delivering real-world improvements to safety and fuel efficiency.
Demonstrating this advantage is the increase in wheelbase, enabling a roomier, more comfortable interior – with additional cargo and occupant space – in comparison to the previous Escape. Despite this, the new Escape also posts a significant weight reduction of up to 90kg against the equivalent of the existing model. Such a significant weight reduction further reduces running costs for customers, while also bringing improved driving dynamics though handling and responsiveness thanks to a 10-percent increase in torsional rigidity.
Space efficiency comes courtesy of greater dimensions: the all-new Escape is 44mm wider and 89mm longer than the outgoing model, while the wheelbase has increased by 20mm. Inside, that translates to 43 mm additional shoulder room and 57 mm more hip room in the front seats, while rear passengers benefit from 20mm more shoulder room and 36mm more hip room. Despite a 20mm lower overall height, the all-new Escape also brings 13mm more headroom for front seat occupants and 35mm additional space in the rear.
For rear seat passengers, the entire second row of seats can be moved forwards or backwards to increase legroom or boot space. A remote release function enables the second row to be folded flat with ease.
Further specification and Australian-market details including pricing will be announced closer to the all-new Ford Escape’s launch in 2020.