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Machine Design

Hybrid SUV for the masses

The first hybrid-electric SUV will start production next summer at the Kansas City Assembly Plant as a 2005 model.

The environmentally friendly Ford Escape is claimed to get 35 to 40 mpg in city driving. It can run on either its gasoline or electric motor, or on both. It is said to deliver acceleration similar to a V6 Escape but is certified as a partial zero-emissions vehicle (PZEV).The Escape hybrid will be built using new flexible manufacturing technology introduced earlier this year with the production of the 2004 F-150. This system lets Ford build up to eight different models on two platforms. Sixteen standardized modules make up the Escape body all built from 300 components. New vehicles can launch with only a change in product-specific tooling or in computers or robot reprogramming.
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