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Ford announces first electrified model available in Australia


Woman charging Ford Escape PHEV Image: Supplied

The Ford Escape PHEV will go on sale in 2020.

Ford Australia will introduce its first electrified car to our shores in an attempt to target the lucrative local SUV market. The new Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) will be available from next year, and is designed to give drivers the range and freedom of a combustion engine, with the efficiency of an electric motor.

The vehicle combines a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle petrol engine with an electric motor, generator, and a 14.4kWh lithium-ion battery to produce 165kW of power. The car will offer the ability to switch to a "pure EV mode", and a fully-electric driving range of more than 50 kilometres.

The lithium battery can be charged externally through an integrated charging port, or on the move through a regenerative charging technology that uses kinetic energy normally lost through braking.

Drivers have the ability to select from EV auto, EV now, EV later and EV charge modes, which determine how and when battery power is used. Once it reaches low charge, the system will automatically switch to EV auto mode, which aims to optimise fuel-efficiency by augmenting power from the petrol engine with the electric motor using recaptured kinetic energy.

Ford Australia and New Zealand President and CEO, Kay Hart, says Australia's love of SUVs influenced their decision. "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."

SUVs remain the best-selling vehicle class in Australia, accounting for almost half of all new car sales, but electric vehicle uptake has been relatively slow compared to other countries. While a majority of Australians would consider buying a hybrid vehicle, according to Roy Morgan, only 1 in 10 reported that their next vehicle would be either a hybrid or fully electric.

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<small>Picture: Ford</small>

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