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Ford Explorer Hybrid

The Ford Explorer Hybrid SUV has not hit showrooms yet, and may never. But, the Ford Explorer Hybrid does exist. In fact, it exists many times over. Just ask many of the engineers and engineering students who have built their own versions of Ford Explorer Hybrids. In 2004, Ford held its FutureTruck 2004 Competition, which challenged "… teams of students from 15 top North American universities to continue reengineering a conventional, mid-size Ford Explorer into a lower-emissions vehicle with at least 25-percent higher fuel economy, without sacrificing the performance, utility, safety, and affordability consumers want."

Ford goes on to say, "FutureTruck is a unique five-year engineering program that brings together the resources of industry, government, and academia in a cooperative effort to address important environmental and energy-related issues posed by the growing demand for sport utility vehicles (SUVs). FutureTruck is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Ford Motor Company, and a variety of other sponsors and is managed by Argonne National Laboratory's Center for Transportation Research."

 
Pictured above is a Ford Explorer Hybrid SUV pulling a load up a steep hill.

 

 

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The University of Wisconsin, Madison FutureTruck Team won the competition the last three years running. The Explorer Hybrid that they nicknamed 'Moolander' (a parallel hybrid-electric vehicle) was able to achieve twice the fuel economy as the stock Ford Explorer vehicle. The team accomplished this task by hybridizing the drive train and using mass-reduction techniques such as aluminum parts wherever possible.

Even though the FutureTruck Challenge ended with the 2004 competition, GM picked up the baton with their own 2005 Challenge X Competition, inviting 17 top team from across North America to compete. What do you know - The University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada took first place. Looks like our neighbors to the north know a few things about trucks and SUV's also.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

 

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