Ford has a long history in the development of hybrid technology, including being part of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles from 1993.
Ford started work on their first next-generation hybrid car, the Ford Escape hybrid in 1999. The original aim of the car manufacturer was to use all-original technology for the first hybrid Ford car.
However, in order to bring the Escape to market in time to meet demand, Ford modeled its system after the successful Toyota Prius, and also licensed some Toyota technology to take the car into market in time.
However, Escape's hybrid system includes some additional elements to the Prius system, where Ford has its own patents pending.
Ford Hybrid Cars - 2006
The first next-generation Ford hybrid electric car, first introduced in 2004, is also the first vehicle to combine SUV capability with the outstanding fuel economy and low environmental impact of a full hybrid.
Ford Escape Hybrid
Escape Hybrid offers similar features as the 2006 conventional Escape, such as options for leather seating surfaces, upgraded audio system, and the Intelligent 4WD System.
The Escape Hybrid also offers some exclusive options such as: Hybrid Energy Navigation System and unique hybrid appearance features.
As for fuel economy, Escape Hybrid provides 31/36 city/highway MPG fuel economy.
Mercury Mariner Hybrid
Mercury Mariner Hybrid is the other SUV hybrid from the car company.
The 2006 Mariner Hybrid is the first full hybrid compact premium SUV, with full production for the car having started during October 2005.
According to Ford, the Mariner Hybrid has EPA estimated 33 city/29 hwy mpg, four-wheel-drive. Actual mileage will vary based on several factors, including driving style, amount of stop-and-go driving, and use of climate control system.