This new plug-in hybrid model might revive the plug-in hybrid market.

Ford announced its first new plug-in hybrid model in the U.S. market, the Ford Escape PHEV, which earlier was launched in Europe as Ford Kuga PHEV.

The Escape PHEV might be one of the top-selling plug-in hybrids and a major competitor to the Toyota RAV4 Prime. It will start at less than $35,000 (MSRP), before destination charge and an eligible federal tax credit of probably over $6,700.

Ford estimates that the fuel economy will be class-leading 100 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent), pointing directly at Toyota: "6 MPGe more than Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid". When running strictly on the gas hybrid powertrain, the EPA-estimated combined result is 41 MPG (miles per gallon).

The EPA-estimated all-electric range will be about 37 miles (59.5 km) so really not bad, although the RAV4 Prime is able to go up to 42 miles (67.6 km). The battery pack (14.4 kWh) is installed under the second-row seats.

It seems that with the introduction of the Escape PHEV, Ford will finally have a decent contender in the plug-in market after several slower years.

Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product development and purchasing officer said:

“The original Ford Escape was the world’s first hybrid SUV and the all-new Ford Escape plug-in hybrid represents how far we’ve come in technology and efficiency. The all-new Escape plug-in has more power and more passenger space than the Fusion Energi plug-in, as well as four times the cargo volume behind its second-row seats. Escape also has an additional 11 miles of all-electric driving range before it uses a drop of gas.”

The plug-in hybrid Escape will available in all trims except the S and SE Sport.

Gallery: Ford Escape PHEV

Ford Escape PHEV (in the U.S.) specs:

  • expected 37 miles (59.5 km) of EPA all-electric range
  • fuel economy estimated at 100 MPGe
  • 14.4 kWh battery pack
  • front-wheel-drive
  • 2.5-liter petrol engine (Atkinson cycle) and 88 kW electric motor
  • full recharge in 3.3 hours (Level 2)

Ford Kuga PHEV (in Europe) specs:

  • up to 50 km (31 miles) of WLTP all-electric range
  • 14.4 kWh battery pack
  • front-wheel-drive
  • system output of 225 PS (2.5-liter petrol engine)
  • full recharge in 3.5 hours
  • anticipated 1.2 l/100 km fuel efficiency and 29 g/km CO2 emissions
  • towing capacity up to 2,250 kg depending on powertrain configuration

Gallery: Ford Kuga PHEV

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100 MPGe! All-New Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid Brings Best-in-Class Fuel Economy

  • All-new Ford Escape plug-in hybrid with advanced fourth-generation hybrid technology system rated at class-leading 100 MPGe – 6 MPGe more than Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid
  • Ford Escape plug-in offers 37 miles of all-electric driving range – 11 more miles than even Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, with more passenger space and four times the cargo volume behind its second-row seats
  • In addition to savings at the pump, Escape plug-in customers can qualify for a federal tax credit plus Escape plug-in starts at under $35,000 MSRP

DEARBORN, Mich., June 8, 2020 – The all-new Ford Escape plug-in hybrid now has a best-in-class EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 100 MPGe and an EPA-estimated 37 miles of all-electric driving range*. Ford Escape plug-in hybrid is rated at 6 MPGe more than Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid.

MPGe, or miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent, is an Environmental Protection Agency metric to compare the amount of energy consumed by alternative fuel vehicles including those partially powered by electricity, like Ford Escape plug-in hybrid to what traditional gas-powered vehicles consume.

“The original Ford Escape was the world’s first hybrid SUV and the all-new Ford Escape plug-in hybrid represents how far we’ve come in technology and efficiency,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product development and purchasing officer. “The all-new Escape plug-in has more power and more passenger space than the Fusion Energi plug-in, as well as four times the cargo volume behind its second-row seats. Escape also has an additional 11 miles of all-electric driving range before it uses a drop of gas.”

Hybrids can serve as a hedge against rising gas prices. The Escape plug-in hybrid is available as gas prices are expected to rise, according to AAA, following the easing of stay-at-home mandates across the country. As consumers begin returning to work and taking weekend trips, demand for gasoline is expected to spike from the decades-low prices of the past two months.

Whether gas is $1.87 a gallon like today or $2.87 a gallon like this time last year, Escape plug-in hybrid is suited for both, with an electric-only range of 37 miles and an EPA-estimated 41 miles per gallon combined when running strictly on the gas hybrid powertrain.

“The economic and environmental impacts of this virus have created a roller coaster for consumers looking to balance value, need and efficiency going forward,” Thai-Tang said. “Ford Escape plug-in hybrid is that ideal balance our customers want.”

In addition to savings at the pump, Escape plug-in starts at under $35,000 MSRP and customers can qualify for a federal tax credit.

The class-leading fuel economy of the Escape plug-in hybrid is part of Ford’s investment of more than $11.5 billion in electrification. This Escape features Ford’s innovative fourth-generation hybrid propulsion system, which includes an all-new 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle hybrid engine and electronic continuously variable transmission. The plug-in hybrid system is available on every Escape trim level except S and SE Sport.

Escape plug-in hybrid has plenty of room for passengers and cargo thanks to the smart placement of its liquid-cooled, 14.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery below the second-row seats, rather than occupying a significant portion of the cargo area.

Escape plug-in hybrid has a Level 1/Level 2 AC charging port. Using a 110-volt Level 1 charge, the estimated time to fully charge the battery is 10 to 11 hours. Using a 240-volt Level 2 charge, charge time drops to roughly 3.3 hours.

Hybrid models feature four modes that allow customers to select the setting most suitable for their individual needs. This means:

  • In Auto EV mode, the vehicle decides whether to run on gas or electric power
  • In EV Now mode, drivers can operate on all-electric power
  • In EV Later mode, drivers can switch to full gas-powered driving to conserve electric miles for later
  • In all-new EV Charge mode, drivers can continue to charge the battery while driving and generate electric-only miles to use later

Escape comes standard with Ford Co-Pilot360 and offers available Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist features such as Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Lane-Centering, Evasive Steering Assist, and a voice-activated navigation system with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link. Also available is the class-exclusive Active Park Assist 2.0.