This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
Ford Begins Full-Scale Production of Mercury Mariner Hybrid
Ford Motor Company announced on November 15th that it has started full-scale production of the Mercury Mariner Hybrid at its Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri. Initial production started in October, and the vehicles are starting to arrive in dealer showrooms, according to Ford. The Kansas City plant now produces two hybrid vehicles: the Ford Escape Hybrid and the Mercury Mariner Hybrid. The plant accommodates the installation of the hybrid components—including a temperature management unit, electric battery pack, in-dash electrical outlet, regenerative braking system, power cables, electronic power assist steering, DC-to-DC converter, Atkinson-cycle engine, and an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission—at normal production line speed. See the Ford press release.
According to the Mercury Mariner Hybrid Web site, Ford is offering the 2006 model at a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $29,840, about $4,200 more than a four-wheel-drive Mercury Mariner with similar options. The hybrid version achieves 50 percent better fuel economy than the standard version in city driving—33 miles per gallon (mpg) versus 22 mpg—and 11.5 percent better fuel economy in highway driving (29 mpg vs. 26 mpg). That's a 30 percent improvement overall, based on combined city and highway fuel economies (31.1 mpg vs. 23.6 mpg).
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced in early November that Ford's two hybrid vehicles are eligible for a federal tax deduction of up to $2,000. The deduction also applies to hybrids manufactured by Lexus, Toyota, and Honda. See the IRS press release and list of eligible vehicles.