This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

August 11, 2004

Ford Begins Production of the Escape Hybrid in Kansas City

Photo of two men in the Ford Escape Hybrid on a display stage.

Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford takes the wheel of the new Ford Escape Hybrid at its Kansas City production launch.
Credit: Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company began producing the 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid on August 6th at its Kansas City Assembly Plant. The Escape Hybrid is the first hybrid sport utility vehicle (SUV) and the first hybrid vehicle to be manufactured in the United States. Ford plans to produce 20,000 Escape Hybrids during its first full year of production. See the Ford press release and Escape Hybrid Web page.

As Ford began production of the Escape Hybrid, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified the vehicle's fuel economy ratings. The front-wheel-drive version of the vehicle earned a fuel economy rating of 36 miles per gallon (mpg) in city driving and 31 mpg on the highway, and the four-wheel-drive version earned a rating of 33 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. In contrast, model-year 2004 SUVs averaged 17.9 mpg. See the EPA press release.

As Ford presses ahead with the Escape Hybrid, Lexus has announced that it will delay selling its hybrid SUV, the RX 400h, until early 2005, and the vehicle will be part of the 2006 model year. The launch date is now posted on the Lexus Hybrid home page, and news of the launch date and model year are also posted in the Lexus Hybrid FAQs section.

While Lexus is delaying its hybrid launch, its parent company, Toyota Motor Corporation, is preparing to boost production of its popular Prius hybrid. During the first half of 2005, Toyota will increase Prius production from 10,000 vehicles per month to 15,000 vehicles per month. According to Toyota, customers have been forced to wait months for delivery of the vehicles. See the Toyota press release.