Ford Showing World's First Ethanol-Fueled Hybrid at D.C. Auto Show
– Ford Motor Company is developing a new research vehicle that combines hybrid-electric power and flexible-fuel capability. Unveiled at the D.C. Auto Show, the Ford Escape Hybrid E-85 aims to help reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Ford Escape Hybrid E-85 is capable of operating on blends of fuel containing as much as 85 percent ethanol, a renewable fuel that can be produced from corn or other biomass feedstocks. Ethanol use releases no fossil-based CO2, so its use as a fuel in place of gasoline reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Ford will produce 250,000 Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) this year that are capable of operating on ethanol-based fuel, including the Ford F-150 pickup truck as well as the Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Lincoln Town Car large sedans. In addition, Ford has two hybrid-electric vehicles on the road today — the Ford Escape Hybrid and the Mercury Mariner Hybrid — and has plans to produce 250,000 hybrid vehicles a year globally by the end of the decade. Ethanol-fueled hybrids could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Ford Escape Hybrid would produce 25 percent less carbon dioxide if operated exclusively on renewable E-85 ethanol fuel instead of carbon-rich gasoline. Ford recently announced a project with VeraSun Energy Corp. to encourage the availability of E-85 fuel at retail stations. Today, E-85 is most commonly available in parts of the Midwest. The Ford research project will aim to overcome technical challenges that could further expand the appeal of ethanol-capable vehicles.