USA: Ford scraps 2003 start of fleet trials for hybrid Escape
Ford has scrapped plans to produce a small number of Escape petrol-electric hybrid compact SUVs by the end of this year for fleet customers, according to Automotive News. Instead, the company will conduct fleet testing internally before launching retail production of the 2005 Escape hybrid in the second half of 2004, the report said.
According to Automotive News, the hybrid Escape will get 35 mpg to 40 mpg in city driving using Ford's 2.3-litre, four-cylinder engine, a 65-kilowatt electric motor and a 28-kilowatt generator. The vehicle will have off-road and towing capability and acceleration comparable to the 201-hp Escape V6 engine, the report added.
In a report on future Ford models, Automotive News also said that the car maker will facelift the Escape for the 2005 model year while the 2005 Mariner, a badge-engineered Mercury version of the Escape, will debut in autumn 2004.