The Ford Escape Hybrid is the first commercially available SUV HEV. It uses a Series-Parallel power-train similar to the Toyota Prius. While Ford used some of Toyota's HEV patents, the Escape was designed independently of the Prius, and therefore its technical details are very different from the Prius. Algorithms and codes used in Prius PHEV conversion are useless in Escape PHEV conversion. The Escape lends itself to PHEV conversion, because it is a strong HEV, meaning that its electric motor is capable of a significant portion of its traction. More information about the non-PHEV Escape is found in the Ford Escape Hybrid page.
Escape PHEV conversions are more expensive than Prius conversions because they are heavier and less aerodynamic vehicles. As such more energy is required to operate them so they require more battery capacity to match the All-electric range (AER) of smaller vehicle. Even so there are legitimate needs for such vehicles depending on the load carrying requirements and more challenging terrains which some people must deal with regularly. In the end PHEV technology is just as applicable to such heavier SUVs and Trucks. In fact the superior torque of electric power-trains may be preferable in such vehicles.
A major push towards conversion of the Escape came from NYSERDA's New York State Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Technology Initiative, whose Phase 1 granted contracts to 3 companies to convert the Escape. These companies are working on Escape PHEV conversions.
- Hymotion, first one to announce a conversion, offered just to fleets; winner of a NYSERDA contract to make 1 conversion. Converted a few vehicles. No longer offering Escape conversions.
- Hybrids-Plus, winner of a NYSERDA contract to make 1 conversion. Currently the only company offering Escape PHEVs. Nine conversions to date, and actively taking more orders.
- Electrovaya, winner of a NYSERDA contract to make 1 conversion. Not actively doing any more Escape conversions.
- Enginer is offering 4KWH PHEV Conversion kits to Escape PHEV pilot testers.
Individuals have also converted Escape SUVs.
- Jim Bohorquez, formerly of Mesa Power, has converted a standard Ford Escape (not a Hybrid) to a parallel PHEV, by disconnecting the rear axle from the engine and driving it with an electric motor. The motor is powered with NiMH cells recycled from Prius PHEV conversions. The battery is charged exclusively from the power grid, through a Mesa Power UPS charger.
Where Escape PHEVs are
- Electrovaya - First delivery to NYSERDA(Albany, NY), Aug '07
- Hybrids Plus - Second delivery to NYSERDA(Albany, NY), Sept 25 2007
Anecdotal evidence gathered by Hybrids-Plus' sales department shows that SUV owners' main rationale to wanting to convert a Hybrid SUV to PHEV is environmental. Yet, an NREL study shows that the environment can be better served by people driving an efficient, standard sedan than an SUV, albeit a PHEV one. The above report examined mid-sized PH40 SUVs targeting commercial use with a mass of 2000 kg ( 4,400 lbs), and assumed a legitimate need such as government use. While it is always the case that a less massive vehicle with yield better economy, in cases where required the PH40 test indicated the larger vehicle can approach non-hybrid economy numbers.
One take is that while there are certainly valid uses for trucks and SUVs, those who don't require such vehicles may be better served by choosing a vehicle appropriate for their needs. --DavideAndrea 06:41, 24 December 2006 (CDT)
Again, non-technical people will try to say it is a SUV so therefore it does more damage to the environment than a mid-size car. Gas puts the same amount of pollutants into the environment per gallon. So it isn't a function of what vehicle is burning the gas, but how many gallons it takes to go a set distance. I woud think, critics would focus, therefore, their energies on small sport cars or non-hybrid "mid-size sedans" that get less MPG than the Escape. Also, if you convert this into a PHEV, you drastically increase your MPG. -- BS Mechnical Engineer, MS Systems Engineer 03:53, 8 May 2011
An SUV Owner's rational: I want an AWD vehicle capable of moving my entire family and all the stuff (bicycles, scooters, surfboards) that I regularly transport on a daily basis. It also needs to be able to get us out camping and skiing. I'd happily make do with something like a PHEV Subaru Forester, but such a thing doesn't exist. A study that shows that the environment would be better off using a tricycle might be accurate, but not germane to my usage.
This wiki article is specifically about the Ford Escape Hybrid PHEV, and the above criticism is based upon a NREL report of a much larger, 2000 kg (4,400 lb) PH40 vehicle sized for commercial use. The Escape gets 42 mpg in pure hybrid mode and 58+ mpg in blended mode, yet provides requisite interior space for equipment transportation needs, which a conventional sedan would not.
The Escape PHEV TechInfo has a wealth of useful information regarding the conversion of an Escape Hybrid.
- 2008.03.26 - autobloggreen.com - ABG First Impression: Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid w/Video
- 2007.12.12 - JayLenosGarage.com - Ford's Plug-in Hybrid - The Ford Escape
- 2007.12.05 - engadget.com - Ford delivers first of 20 plug-in hybrids in California
- 2007.08.09 - Electrovaya Delivers Plug-In Escape Hybrid to NYSERDA
- 2007.07.09 - Ford, Calif. utility to develop plug-in hybrids - Project aimed at speeding up production of fuel-efficient vehicles
- 2006.08.15 - Ford Bold Moves Website Includes PHEV Proponent fordboldmoves.com 
- 2006.06.30 - Ford Drops Focus on Hybrids, Shifts to Biofuels
- 2006.05.11 - CalCars-News - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/calcars-news or CalCars_Maillist:
- Ford Considering plug-in hybrids: shareholders meeting reports - Y:393 or CalCars_Maillist:2006./5./15
- Proposed "partnership for Ford to take the lead on innovation in plug-in hybrids" - Y:394 or CalCars_Maillist:2006./5./18
- Our Press Release Welcoming Ford's Statement of "Keen" - Y:395 or CalCars_Maillist:2006./5./19
- Bill Ford's comments when asked about plug-in hybrids at shareholders meeting - Y:400 or CalCars_Maillist:2006./5./24
- Blogs echo CalCars/Frank request to Ford to allow pilot program - Y:405 or CalCars_Maillist:2006./5./29
- 2006.05.12 - evworld.com - Bill Ford Urged to Commit Company to Develop Plug-In Hybrids
- 2006.05.13 - autoblog.com - CONFIRMED: Ford considering plug-in Escape Hybrid
- 2006.05.11 - theautochannel.com - Ford Shareholder Meeting Sprited, Plug-In Hybrids Revealed