Ford Escape Energi Plug-In Hybrid Caught Testing – Spy Photos

4 months ago by Jay Cole 58

The Ford Escape Energi Plug-In hybrid out testing (Automedia)

Once upon a time, Ford built a small fleet of Escape plug-in hybrids and then shipped them off to Southern California Edison (SCE) to begin road testing.

Now just a scant 10 years later, Ford is now testing a new generation of plug-in Escape.  And although that original Escape PHV, with its 10 kWh/30 mile range compact SUV never arrived – this one will, as the demand for plug-in versions of popular utility vehicles are at an all-time high.

The Escape Energi mule we caught today looks to be both longer and wider than the current edition, with the plug-in port is in the standard “Ford location”.

2020 Ford Escape Energi Plug-In Hybrid (Automedia)

The Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid is expect to arrive in late 2018/early 2019 as a 2020 model.  As soon as it does, you can bet the current C-Max Energi will be gone.

In addition to the Escape PHV (Kuga for Europe), recent trademark applications indicate that Ford also has designs on plug-in hybrid versions of the Explorer, Transit, Focus.

Gallery (below):  A couple shots of the standard Escape also out testing for some further reference on the look and sizing of the new Ford, plus a glimpse of the “old” hotness.

For some “retro fun” we have added some B-roll footage of the original Ford Escape PHV below.

Images: via Automedia

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58 responses to "Ford Escape Energi Plug-In Hybrid Caught Testing – Spy Photos"

  1. Andrew says:

    I wonder if GM will now feeling the pressure to put the Volt powertrain in the equinox.

    1. R.S says:

      That would be so overdue! Why didn’t they just do it, when they updated it? But now this suburban diapers carrier has a diesel instead…

      1. Nix says:

        We had somebody who claimed to be a GM manager commenting here, and he said something about light diesels being the GM’s “green” engine for diesels. Like it was still 1997 or something, and they were trying to compete with the VW TDI.

        1. R.S says:

          “Let’s try this diesel thing everyone seems to keep talking about!”

          They already have the Voltec drivetrain lying around, they have a very popular crossover, that for some reason people like to buy, why not combine those two?

          Instead they are putting it into the CT6, a car that’s already bound to fail, since it’s a rather good sedan, made by Cadillac.

      2. Robert says:

        Could be because the Volt has been received in tepid fashion, at least by GM standards.

    2. Kdawg says:

      Or they have already been working on it behind closed doors for some time now?

      1. john1701a says:

        The concern for “too little, too slowly” had been expressed as part of the bankruptcy recovery. There was worry that Volt wouldn’t make much progress into the mainstream… which is exactly what happened.

        Cries for an Equinox using Voltec have gone nowhere; instead, GM is rolling out a diesel model.

        With the upcoming expiration of the $7,500 tax-credit combined with rumor about Ford pursuing a plug-in hybrid SUV, hearing nothing whatsoever about GM’s plan is definitely reason for renewed concern.

        1. Kdawg says:

          Yes, we should all be very concerned about Toyota’s lack of motivation towards plugins. Thus the “too little too late” we’ve all been saying for years now. And we all remember how the PiP flopped.

          Where is the Toyota BEV? Where is the plugin w/any decent range? Where is the plugin CUV?

          There is much concern towards Toyota.

      2. TwoVolts says:

        Probably correct – but GM will likely roll it out as their allotment of EV tax credits is expiring. They will also overprice it so sales will be lousy. At low sales volume, we will then be treated to reports in the media of how GM loses $30k per $45k PHEV CUV.

    3. SJC says:

      There are SO many good points about PHEV CUVs that it is obvious, that is why car makers don’t to it.

  2. Kdawg says:

    I hope they give an Escape Energi enough kWh for at least a 35 mile AER.

    1. Ziv says:

      I was thinking the same thing. 35 should be the minimum for EREV or PHEV’s to be taken seriously. But given that this is Ford, it will probably be closer to 22-25 miles. Sadly.

      But I would like to be wrong and for Ford to step up to the plate and use the Escape’s larger size to fit in a larger battery pack.

      Given the increased density of new battery chemistries, it isn’t like a 35 mile, 11 (?) kWh pack would take up all that much space.

      1. PHEVfan says:

        It would take more than 11kWh to get your 35 miles. Ford currently gets 21 miles out of their 7.6kWh packs in the energi’s, and those are smaller than a CUV/SUV. They would need at least 13kWh to get 35 miles. The pack may be smaller in size, but you still need that much energy to get those miles.

    2. Dave86 says:

      Right around 2020 will be time for me to get a new SUV. While I’d prefer a pure electric, a PHEV is worth considering. 40 to 50 miles AER would be nice for my daily commute.

      We’ll see the Ford Escape Energi on the market befofe the Mitsu PHEV Outlander. (Possibly sarcasm….)

    3. Nix says:

      Anything over 25 mile of range would sink any chances of the current Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV being successful in the US.

  3. Fabian says:

    Hope they figured out how to get those batteries out of the trunk.

    1. Nix says:

      Or at least all under on flat floor that is no higher than the lip of the lift-back. Along with fully functional flat folding seats for a single flat bed.

  4. Nix says:

    Ford has been sand-bagging for a decade.

    This is why I don’t trust any of the ICE car makers. They give lip service to EV’s and PHEV’s while sandbagging, and then send their lobbyists to Congress to try and block them.

    1. TwoVolts says:

      Completely agree. However, with new leadership, maybe there is hope yet for Ford to take a leadership position among the Detroit automakers. GM apparently is willing to relinquish their leadership among the traditional ICE companies.
      A properly designed PHEV CUV will propel Ford ahead of GM in EVs.

      1. PHEVfan says:

        I’d like to think you’re right, but I fear not. After reading an article yesterday about Ford abandoning car development in favor of mostly Trucks (and EVs and auto-drive tech) I don’t see those as being a great indication. Especially since they just formed their “Edison” group, which they should have done a decade ago.

        I just see them giving more lip service than product.

  5. DJ says:

    Sayonara Outlander.

    And ya, it’ll probably have 20 or so miles of AER if we’re lucky.

  6. Texas FFE says:

    That Escape Energi charging door is not the standard Energi charging door. That looks the CCS charging door of the 2017 Ford Focus Electric. Is it possible that the Escape Energi will get CCS charging capabilities?

    1. David Murray says:

      My guess is that it is a temporary door because the production body panels don’t exist yet. So they just cut a hole and mounted something.

  7. David Murray says:

    Interesting.. I had no idea this was a thing. I wonder if they saw all of the pent-up demand for the Outlander PHEV so decided to bring their own?

    This would be a highly successful product if they went the Rav-4 route and made the PHEV the only way to get all-wheel-drive.

    I’m hoping since this is a brand-new body style, that maybe a little more fore thought went into this PHEV. If they package the batteries correctly and give it a decent range, they’ll have a great product on their hands.

    1. Josh Bryant says:

      That is the right formula. PHEV AWD that is the top trim line with the best performance. Upsell based on the fuel savings.

      I would have bought one if it was out anytime in the last 3 years. But I will probably be out of the market by the time this hits Texas.

  8. ModernMarvelFan says:

    If Ford has one released and sales take off, you can bet that Toyota/Honda/GM will follow up with their own version of competitive compact PHEV crossover.

    If Ford releases one in the next couple years, this might be the first Ford I am willing to purchase.

    Hope it offers AWD version.

  9. F150 Brian says:

    Hopefully it can operate in AWD in EV Mode. Otherwise they will likely program it to start the ICE in cold weather so it’s ready for AWD.

  10. georgeS says:

    I’m torn.

    If they do it right and put in a big enough battery and drive motor then good. That was the nicest thing about the Volt (I had a leaser for 3 years).
    But I’m afraid that it will be a disappointment.

    I’d rather have a low cost Model X. The guy I bot my used 2012 S from just bought a used X for 75k$. It was a 60 and for 4500 he had it updated to a 75 by Tesla…..so 80k$. It is a fairly new one and I teased him about the doors being in the service center all the time and he said they were working well.

    Still out of my league in the money dept.

    Now add to that he listens to Rush L. on the Radio. He lives in Texas.

    See not all Pubs are bad:)

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      “See not all Pubs are bad:)”

      Nobody should claim someone is bad based on their political party affiliation. That is just wrong. Both party has their own extremist who are very loud and advocate ill upon the opposing the party. Luckily, I don’t believe they are in the majority. Although, after recent election it seems that form of extremism is taking over both party which is extreme worrisome.

      Even though I disagree more with Republicans than Democrats (I am neither), I still won’t say all Republicans are bad. We are all American and we should fight the divide and extremism among us.

      Just my $0.02

      1. georgeS says:

        MMF

        “Nobody should claim someone is bad based on their political party affiliation.”

        Meh. You have to a sense of humour about it or you go crazy.

        It was tonque in cheek comment

      2. David Murray says:

        Actually I’ve found that within both parties, a large percentage don’t even know what their party stands for, and just blindly follow it like a sports team or a religion.

        1. Nick says:

          +1

          Modern tribes.

    2. Raymond Ramirez says:

      There is no such thing as a low cost Model X!

  11. ModernMarvelFan says:

    “In addition to the Escape PHV (Kuga for Europe), recent trademark applications indicate that Ford also has designs on plug-in hybrid versions of the Explorer, Transit, Focus.”

    A PHEV Explorer would be a big deal!

    That would be pushing midsize segment competitors to match up for sure unless sales don’t live up to expectation.

  12. Fishhawk says:

    Unless GM introduces a Voltec CUV, this might be my first Ford in 40 years.

  13. Don Zenga says:

    Please sell both a Hybrid and Plugin version of Escape. With a hybrid version, RAV-4 has extended a big lead over Escape.

    Only with these 2 variants, Escape can regain the lead.

  14. FISHEV says:

    Loved my Ford Escape Hybrid AWD.

    For me to buy an AWD Escape Energi it would need to get 50 miles in EV mode and have a 35 mpg hybrid mode.

    Hope that is what Ford is planning and not some EV ole of 20 miles EV and 28 miles hybrid.

    1. john1701a says:

      Why 50 miles of EV?

      With 25 miles (rated, actual is around 30) from my Prime, the resulting overall efficiency is 200 MPG for the first 50 miles of travel.

      Isn’t the point of a plug-in hybrid to take advantage of the engine sometimes? Avoiding it as much as possible means you’d likely be better off with an EV.

      1. bro1999 says:

        Because studies have been done that revealed that 50 miles of EV range would cover the daily driving needs of over 80% of the driving population in the US. Minimizing gas consumption is the name of the game, isn’t it?

        btw, seems the Prius may lose the #1 best selling hybrid crown to the Ford Fusion hybrid this year. Prius name ain’t what it used to be.

        http://www.hybridcars.com/what-the-ford-fusion-hybrid-outsold-the-prius-again/

        1. john1701a says:

          25 achieves the goal of significant reduction, without the cost, weight, and size penalties of higher capacity.

          Remember, these new offerings will not have the benefit of tax-credit subsidies.

          1. Asak says:

            By the time the subsidies expire, batteries will be cheap enough that there won’t be any reason to go with less than 50 miles.

  15. Kdawg says:

    “The Ford Escape Energi. Escape from the gas station.”

    1. Josh Bryant says:

      That is pretty good. Maybe you should offer some marketing consulting on the side for Big 3 up there.

  16. Bloggin says:

    This will be the next gen Escape/Kuga PHEV on a new platform, no more batteries in the hatch. Due in 2019 as a MY2020.

    The big hold up with the Escape hybrid and PHEV was that Ford had to engineer their Hybrid AWD system along with Ford’s own battery chemistry. Which may mean an optional e-AWD system that powers the rear wheels via an electric motor like RAV4 Hybrid. Or a new hybrid parallel AWD system. But either way, it’s also coming to a Focus ‘variant’. And should be part of what makes the new Ford ‘hybrid’ vehicle.

    Range is expected to be at least 31 miles so it qualifies for the EV incentives in China. Otherwise, there is no point.

    Yes, C-Max will be replaced, but not with the Escape. New ground up hybrid models are coming to take it’s place.

  17. randomhuman says:

    Wow it really is an ugly car. Would never buy such a monster.

    1. FISHEV says:

      It does look out of proportion, kind of like the PriusV vs. the previous model Prius.

    2. Bloggin says:

      It’s a test ‘mule’. Meaning they have a new platform/drivetrain, etc under the old disfigured car body to test with, so no one knows what the new vehicle will look like while testing.

      The new model will be longer and wider, that is why the ‘mule’ body is cut and stuck together, and wheel wells are widened.

  18. cab says:

    Right now we have a Model S (2013 CPO) and my wife’s XC60 gasser (small luxury SUV). I would LOVE to replace the XC60 with a PHEV small SUV. The upcoming XC60 T8 looks promising, but, sheesh, as my wife approaches retirement I’d really prefer not to be dropping big coin on yet another car. As we all know, the biggest “luxury feature” a car can have is the electric drive experience, so while an Escape won’t compare in many ways to an XC60, it may in the most important way (EV experience).

  19. Mark Renburke says:

    The 160,000 mile (life cycle) question remains: Will Ford engineer liquid cooling for the battery, and stop allowing it to charge to ~95%? Both design choices in the current Energi models are resulting in unnecessary premature degredation of their batteries. Consumers, especially buyers, need to be informed of these engineering choices, and if Ford doesn’t straighten out these known issues, they should be prepared for the better engineered GM, Tesla, BMW, etc plug ins to eat their lunch.

    1. john1701a says:

      Active air-cooling (forced blowing, rather than sealed) can be effective, combined with upgrading to a newer lithium chemistry and reducing the upper charging threshold.

  20. Mark Renburke says:

    ps and get the darn battery under the rear seat and cargo area, like other brands (VW, Kia, etc) seem to have little trouble doing with even bigger batteries.

  21. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    Most likely 25AER or less.

    No thanks.

  22. Jr says:

    Dont think this a Escape, But a test mule of the upcoming all EV SUV..

    1. Jay Cole says:

      It’s definitely 100% the Escape (Kuga) Energi plug-in hybrid, and you can notice the standard petrol Escape version testing at the same time in the gallery below the story (which we don’t like to feature larger in the story because well…petrol only, and we don’t want those folks looking to us for spyshots, lol)

  23. Kevin C. says:

    Jay,

    Are any of those old phev’s still in use, or at least in one of the engineers garages?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Outside of a couple copies still retained/stored by Ford, I don’t know of any in operation. But I certainly could be wrong…the fleet was very small/special permit.

    2. Dan B. says:

      https://social.ford.com/en_US/story/vehicle-development/safety/ford-epri-add-seven-new-utility-companies-battery-maker-to-plug-in-hybrid-vehicle-program.html

      http://mydocs.epri.com/docs/CorporateDocuments/EPRI_Journal/2009-Spring/1019287_Field.pdf

      There were seven utilities who tested the plug-in Escape under the EPRI/DOE/Ford program: NYPA, DTE, National Grid, ConEd, AEP, FirstEnergy, Progress Energy, Alabama Power, and NYSERDA. The plug-in Escapes all went back to Ford at the end.

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