Ford Motor will deliver 20 demonstration models of its Escape Hybrid E85 SUV to six states, the company announced in a statement Tuesday. Ford says the hybrid is the world's cleanest and most fuel-efficient small SUV, producing about 25 percent less carbon dioxide than its gas-fueled cousin, the Escape Hybrid SUV, which it showed off at the LA Auto Show in November.
The new E85 SUV will be on display at the 2007 Washington Auto Show, which starts Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Ford says the car can run on fuel blends with up to 85 percent ethanol. Deliveries are expected to begin this spring.
Ford also announced what it claims is the world's first drivable fuel cell/electric plug-in hybrid. The "HySeries Drive" car, which looks like a small SUV, runs on a hydrogen fuel cell and a gas or diesel engine connected to an electric generator.
The company's press release says it has committed to making half of its vehicle fleet "flexible fuel capable," meaning they can run on fuel other than plain gasoline, by 2012. They're not the only ones setting goals for cleaner fuel. In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President George Bush is expected to set a goal of replacing 15 percent of projected gasoline use with alternative fuels by 2017, according to Reuters.
Ethanol is widely seen as the best short-term solution to getting American cars off gasoline. But it has its limitations, not the least of which is having to track down an ethanol fueling station. The number of fueling stations is rising at a steady clip. But the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition lists only 1,100 stations operating in the U.S., most of which are in the Midwest. The NEVC's Web site, for instance, lists two stations within 100 miles of San Francisco.