Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator Hybrid, Escape and MKC Plug-In on the Way
Ford Planning Graduated Rollout of EVs, Hybrids
Ford will release a hybrid version of the Expedition fullsize SUV and its twin, the Lincoln Navigator, by 2019, according to a company insider. Speaking to Automotive News, the source suggested the company would also release the redesigned Ford Escape and Lincoln MKC with a plug-in hybrid powertrain around the same time.
Industry analyst Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, said the company is at a “critical point” in its strategy, according to Automotive News. “You don’t want to go all in on EVs at this point because that’s not going to pay the bills and keep the lights on [right now], but you also don’t want to get behind,” Schuster said.
Ford has previous utility-vehicle EV experience with the first- and second-generation Escape Hybrid, available from 2004 to 2012. It was discontinued when the Escape was redesigned, with Ford focusing on small-displacement turbocharged engines for the third generation. A fully redesigned Escape (and platform-mate Lincoln MKC) is expected next year for 2019, with a plug-in hybrid following shortly.
The hybrid versions of the Navigator and Expedition will likely be relatively simple, with an integrated electric motor/transmission combination providing low-speed electric-only driving and a belt-starter generator replacing the alternator for more efficient engine idle stop. Also, expect regenerative braking to make an appearance, further improving efficiency. Similar systems can improve fuel economy by 10 percent or more, so we’d expect a hybridized Expedition/Navigator to achieve about 20 mpg on the EPA’s city cycle and 26 mpg on the highway.
That said, it’s also possible the Expedition and its luxury twin will be available as high-tech plug-in hybrids. We’ve spotted Ford testing what we think is a plug-in F-150, and since the pickup donates much of its powertrain to its fullsize SUV siblings, a sophisticated plug-in family hauler could be in the cards.
The company has already announced plans to introduce a hybridized F-150 pickup by the year 2020, as well as a hybrid police vehicle, possibly based on the F-150 Police Responder. Ford will also unveil a plug-in hybrid Transit Custom van for Europe by 2019 and an all-electric SUV for 2020 (with an expected 300-mile range to do battle with the Tesla Model 3 and other entry-level EVs).
Source: Automotive News