Its been about a year ago that I ordered my FWD Ford Escape Hybrid. The first thing I did was get on the web and try to find all the information I could about the FEH. Hybridcars.com was a great place to talk to people that slowly started to receive theirs units. Got mine Feb. 14, 05 and right from the start, I was driving in Electric Vehicle. Top speed in EV was about 31mph then and I could go about 1.3 miles before the engine would start and recharge the battery. Driving in EV and a light foot got me 40mpg, far better than I expected from this new vehicle.

With a little over 15,000 miles, I'm getting much better mileage with a lot less work. There is no question in my mine that the Ford Escape Hybrid has "THE EV ADVANTAGE" over other Hybrids. Not to take anything from the other great Hybrids, but if you want to drive electric, buy a FEH.

Top speed after break in is about 38mph. The cruise control can be set on flat roads at 35mph in EV now. Range at that speed in cruise is between 1.3 to 1.6 miles till the engine (ICE) starts. Range can increase at slower speeds and no cruise.

The ICE can recharge the battery in about 1.8 to 2.0 miles at 35mph. However, recently (the last few months), many FEH owners have discovered ways to greatly shorten that distance to recharge the battery. Thats right, the FEH can recharge itself with the regenerative system without the brakes. This shortens the time and distance that the ICE has to run. More important, as the ICE begins to recharge a drained battery, it consumes gas at a faster rate (21mpg @ 31mph). Near the end of recharging the battery, the ICE is getting about 36mpg @ 31mph. Granted Ford designed the system to burn a smaller amount of fuel at a slower rate near a full battery as most drivers would only use EV for short take offs and parking lots. When you drain the battery and the ICE starts, it still has a big percentage of charge left but the FEH computer system will not let you tap it.

There are three ways to use the regenerative system without the brakes to recharge the battery. The regenerative system uses the moving tires and axles to turn the generator which charges the battery. I've given them names for ease of explaining them each time.

1. "THE LOW GEAR ADVANTAGE" (LGA)
2. "THE FAKE SHIFT" (FS)
3. "THE FAKE SPEED SHIFT" (FSS)

When using these methods, refer to:

4. "THE EV ADVANTAGE" (EVA)

The LGA is a method of shutting down the ICE below 40mph, setting the cruise between 30-35mph and using the tires and axles energy to charge the battery at any speed below 100mph. Placing the gear shifter in "L" and letting off the gas pedal will allow this. The cruise should be preset between 30-35mph (depending on your FEH EV top speed) with the ICE running on flat roads. Increase speed to 43mph, shift to "L" as you let off the gas. ICE will shut off at 40mph. Coast to preset cruise. If the ICE starts, try a lower setting and repeat. If you need to charge the battery, use "L" when slowing or stopping.

The FS and FSS is a way to charge the battery and lower the RPM's. As you let off the gas, the tires and the axles will also shoot a charge into the battery. This can be seen by the charge/asist gauge. The reason I call this a fake shift is because you simulate letting off the gas long enough to drop RPM's and change a gear in a manual tranny. In the FEH, I use this to keep the RPM's from running away as you try to increase speed. I try to stay under 2,000 RPM as much as posible. The FSS is a way to keep the same speed but pump fast charges into a drained battery. Example, the ICE kicks on to recharge to battery at 35mph, let off the gas like you do with a fake shift but just maintain 35mph repeating fake shifts one after another till the battery is full or a point you want to go back to EV. You don't have to increase the RPM above where you were at 35mph. Always apply gas slowly to conserve fuel.
This method can cut recharge time and reduce recharge distance from 1.8 miles to 1.3 miles.

GaryG