Ford Makes History As Demonstration Fleet Of Ethanol-fueled Hybrids Hits The Road

Ford Motor Company’s demonstration fleet of ethanol-fueled hybrids is prepared to rule the streets after months of arduous testing. The Department of Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), and the Governors’ Ethanol Coalition received the first three Ford E85 Escape Hybrids today (GEC).

Choosing fleet customers in six states will get a total of 20 Ford E85 Escape Hybrids, laying Ford’s claim to yet another significant industry first. These are the first hybrid cars in the world that can run on fuel mixes that contain up to 85% ethanol. Corn or sugar beets farmed in the United States may be used to make ethanol, a sustainable fuel.

Ford is the best firm to combine both technologies for the first time since it is a pioneer in both hybrid and ethanol-based fuel-capable cars, according to Sue Cischke, Ford’s senior vice president of sustainability, environment, and safety engineering.

U.S. Senator Carl Levin declared, “Investing in ethanol is essential for our national security, our environment, and Michigan’s economy” (D-MI). “By combining a significant ethanol effort with other technologies, including hybrid autos and improved diesel technology, we can make significant progress. By creating the first hybrid vehicle that can operate on E85, Ford is setting the bar high. In order for us to achieve energy independence, I believe the E85 Ford Escape Hybrid is only the beginning of many flex fuel hybrids.

Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond of the United States of America remarked, “We can and should do more to limit pollution from autos” (R-MO). With the world’s first hybrid SUV that will also use biofuels, Ford is demonstrating its leadership in efficient and sustainable transportation today. The fact that they will be assembling it in Kansas City is wonderful news for Missouri’s skilled auto workers.”

Compared to an Escape Hybrid powered by gasoline, the E85 version emits around 25% less greenhouse gas. It also uses a fuel that is entirely renewable, which can lessen this country’s reliance on foreign oil.

More than 3.6 billion gallons of gasoline might be saved annually if all of the more than six million flexible fuel cars already on American roadways ran on E85. Ford has committed to have the ability to run on alternative fuels in 50% of its annual car production by 2012.

“Ford and the Governors’ Ethanol Coalition have collaborated for more than 20 years, according to Nebraska Governor and Coalition chair Dave Heineman. We have been among the first to volunteer to test Ford’s goods in the real world as they have created new mobility technology. As the country’s reliance on imported oil declines, we are thrilled to partner with a venerable American automaker.

Bob Dinneen, president of the RFA, the national trade group for the U.S. ethanol sector, praised Ford for taking the initiative on this matter. “The roaring roller coaster ride of petrol costs is becoming old for Americans. Although ethanol is not a panacea, having access to it will ultimately keep gas costs lower than they otherwise would be.

Infrastructure availability is a significant barrier to promoting the use of renewable fuels. E85 ethanol is only available at fewer than 1% of the 170,000 retail gas stations in the nation. E85 availability needs to be increased if America wants to achieve energy independence.

“We need a strong, long-term focus on policies that enhance U.S. ethanol output and speed the construction of E85 infrastructure,” said Cischke. “Ethanol needs to be a real participant in the transportation sector and reduce America’s dependency on foreign oil.” “In order to develop and commercialise renewable fuels like E85, we also need important partners like the oil sector to make investments. Without the oil industry’s enthusiastic support, we cannot advance quickly enough or far enough.”

More to Discover
Ford’s FFV projects for 2010 and beyond will be tested in a learning lab called the Escape Hybrid E85 research project. One of the main issues and objectives still surround flexible fuel vehicle tailpipe emissions.

As of right now, no manufacturer’s FFV has received certification as a partially emission-free car (PZEV). And because a full-hybrid car runs only on electricity without activating the evaporative vacuum system that does so while the gas engine is running, it creates even more evaporative issues.

Despite the fact that we don’t presently have any plans to manufacture the Escape Hybrid E85, Cischke noted that the research behind this technology “may lead to breakthroughs in even more sophisticated technologies.”

With the 2004 Ford Escape Hybrid, Ford became the first automaker to offer a hybrid SUV. The well-liked Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan midsize cars will get hybrid updates for 2008. The Ford F-150 and the Lincoln Town Car were among the 250,000 ethanol-capable automobiles the business built in the previous year.

Ford is dedicated to the advancement of various cutting-edge alternative fuel technologies in addition to hybrids and flexible fuel cars. These include innovative powertrains, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen combustion engines, clean diesel, hydrogen fuel cells, and hybrids.

Automobiles are produced or sold by Ford Motor Company, a world leader in the automotive industry with headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, in 200 countries on six continents. The company’s key and related automobile brands include Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo, and Mazda. It has roughly 260,000 people and 100 facilities globally. The corporation uses Ford Motor Credit Company to offer financial services. Visit for more details about Ford’s products.

According to Mike Varns, HEV PMT leader for Ford’s Sustainable Mobility Technology Lab, the combination of the two petroleum-saving technologies, hybrid electric power and flexible fuel capabilities, wasn’t without its own special set of difficulties. Fortunately, he continues, “we were able to utilise all of our FFV knowledge from other initiatives here.” Since 1995, Ford has started making contemporary FFVs.

For instance, ethanol is more corrosive than regular gas. As a result, components for the fuel and engine systems of the Escape Hybrid E85, a conversion model of the gas/electric hybrid Escape, were manufactured of less corrosive materials and adhesives. In order to maintain comparable performance levels, the engine must pump more fuel to the injectors since ethanol doesn’t have the same energy content or burn rate as gasoline. The Escape Hybrid E85 includes a bigger fuel pump, fuel lines, and injectors to accommodate this higher fuel flow.

Ford researchers had to explore unknown terrain when it came to the engine control module for the hybrid E85 (ECM). A fuel-efficient engine must understand what is in the tank and make necessary adjustments, according to Varns.

The ECM of a car detects the float rod in the fuel tank and keeps track of the air-fuel ratio in the fuel system as well as the exhaust gas sensor. The ECM determines that the car is filled with E85 and modifies the fuel system when it detects a movement in the engine’s air-fuel ratio to the lean side (more air than fuel).

According to Varns, “the car learns while the engine is running.” To ensure that the ECM could seamlessly remember or relearn the correct percent of ethanol after a shutdown, “we had to make some custom software and calibration changes within the ECM because with the hybrid, the engine may be shut off for long periods of time while the vehicle runs on electric power.”

The final result is a car that responds quickly and offers consumers the same comfortable ride and handling they get from the gas/electric Escape Hybrid. According to Varns, “from engine on/off transitions through acceleration and deceleration, we have the same drivability features as the typical gas hybrid.”

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Alex Jones

Alex Jones is a tech-savvy editor at World-Wire, renowned for his expertise in writing detailed technical articles and user-friendly how-to guides. With a background in Information Technology, he excels in demystifying complex tech topics. His work is highly valued for its accuracy and practicality, earning him awards like "Innovator in Tech Journalism" in 2023. Alex's role at World-Wire is pivotal in making technology accessible to a broad audience.

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