The 2020 Ford Explorer Ecoboost badge is shown in closeup on a silver Explorer.

Everything You Need to Know About Electric and Hybrid SUVs

When you think about electric and hybrid SUVs, you probably envision tiny crossovers that have no power. But this simply isn’t the case when it comes to Ford SUVs. That’s right. The automaker that was once considered to be the mother of gas-guzzlers now makes some of the best electric and hybrid SUVs out there. Let’s take a look at these models and learn about the differences.

Hybrids vs Fully-Electric Models

While both types of vehicles are very environmentally-friendly, they are vastly different from one another. Hybrids are powered by a conventional gasoline engine that has been mated with a battery-fed electric motor. Meanwhile, electric vehicles, often referred to as EVs, run solely on electricity. Not even one drop of fuel goes into these vehicles.

Due to these different types of powertrain systems, both SUVs perform differently and offer various driving ranges. To understand these differences, let’s go over Ford’s eco-friendly lineup.

2020 Ford Escape Hybrid

Fully redesigned with improvements to acceleration and power, the new Ford Escape Hybrid is quite an interesting vehicle. As a compact SUV with seating for five passengers, it doesn’t need much power, to begin with, but Ford made sure to make this model robust enough to handle family-oriented lifestyles. Powered by a 2.5-liter gasoline inline-four engine, dual electric motors, and a continuously variable transmission, the new Escape Hybrid puts out 200 hp. Based on the front-wheel drive system and a range of 550 miles, it’s estimated that this eco-friendly SUV will get about 38 mpg combined. That’s almost unheard of for anything other than a hybrid sedan.

Available as the SE Sport model, the Escape Hybrid comes with keyless ignition/entry, the Sync3 infotainment system, a 12-inch digital gauge cluster display, and a sophisticated leather-wrapped starring wheel.

Two gils are sitting in the back of a 2020 Ford Escape while a man fishes at a mountain lake.

2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid

With a long-standing reputation of being a gas-guzzler, we bet you never thought the Ford Explorer would be available as a hybrid model. Fully redesigned and part of the sixth generation of Explorers, this hybrid model is quite impressive. It still comes with three rows of seating for up to seven passengers, and it didn’t lose any of its gusto. Powered by a 3.3-liter V6 engine coupled with a hybrid powertrain, this vehicle generates an estimated 318 hp. It also has an estimated fuel economy of 28 mpg combined.

Standard on the Hybrid are features such as LED headlights, roof rails, and rear privacy glass. The infotainment interface is displayed on an 8-inch touchscreen that operates with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. This model even comes with a 4G LTE Wifi hotspot, enabling you to stay connected everywhere you go.

Rolling on 20-inch wheels, the Explorer Limited Hybrid model can include upgraded brakes, power-adjustable mirrors, and a hands-free liftgate. The cabin may be draped in leather upholstery and feature ambient lighting throughout the interior. Other options include an auto-dimming rearview mirror, ventilated seats, and front parking sensors.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

As the very first fully-electric vehicle in the Ford family, the upcoming Mustang Mach-E will be coming out next year. Breaking stereotypes yet again, this model promises to offer the power and performance that the iconic Mustang is known for.

Getting this beast to run on electricity alone was no easy feat. With such high expectations, Ford engineers knew they had better get it right, and they did. This innovative model runs on a single, rear-mounted fully-electric engine and an all-wheel drive system. Together, this combination pushes out an astonishing 332 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque. That’s not all either. On GT and GT Performance versions, an extended-range lithium-ion battery pack has been added to boost the estimated performance up to a whopping 459 hp and 612 lb-ft of torque. It also has a 300-mile driving range and can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 3 seconds flat.

With seating for five passengers, you will notice the exceptionally large infotainment interface when you slip behind the wheel. It measures 15.5-inches and features Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto compatibility.

A white 2020 Ford Mustang Mach-E, which is new among Ford SUVs, is parked on a city street at night.

Ford’s Standard Safety Suite

When it comes to safety, Ford doesn’t cut any corner with the new lineup. Electric and hybrid SUVs alike are all equipped with the Co-Pilot360 safety suite. Standard features include a blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, lane-departure mitigation, pre-collision warning, pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking.

Optional safety add-ons come with the addition of the Co-Pilot 360 Assist+ package which includes adaptive cruise control, improvements to the lane-keeping assist, and a user-friendly navigation system. If you want a 360-degree parking camera system and active park assist 2.0, you can also add the Co-Pilot360 Technology suite.

So, if you’re wondering if electric and hybrid SUVs are safe, the answer is an emphatic yes. That’s what they come from Ford, of course!

Overcoming Obstacles

For many years, folks believed that hybrid cars were weak, and electric cars were bigger versions of a child’s robotic toy. This just isn’t the case anymore. The release of Ford’s hybrid SUVs and the upcoming release of the fully-electric Mustang Mach-E prove just that.

One of the oldest concerns pertaining to hybrids was a lack of space. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing petite hatchbacks with a hybrid badge on the back and hardly any cargo room. This was due to the size of the battery pack. Engineers couldn’t place it under the hood, so it had to be mounted in the rear, which took up quite a bit of space. With the Ford Escape Hybrid and Explorer Hybrid, there’s plenty of room. The Escape Hybrid offers 34.4 cubic feet of room behind the second seats, and the Explorer Hybrid offers 18.2 cubes. Now we know what you’re thinking. Isn’t the Explorer a bigger SUV? Yes, it is. However, it has three rows of seating to accommodate more passengers, while the Escape can only seat five people.

As for electric vehicles, they’ve been the subject of ridicule for years, but no one is going to be mocking the 2021 Mustang Mach-E. This beast doesn’t just break the old EV stereotypes; it completely annihilates them. We’ve already discussed just how powerful it is and how far it can travel. Other EV models are lucky to run for 70 to 80 miles without needing to recharge. They also can take a while to recharge once the energy stores are depleted. This isn’t the case with the Mustang Mach-E. With an extended driving range of 300 miles, you can plug this beauty up to charge overnight using a 240-volt outlet and be ready to ride in the morning.

How Much Do They Cost?

Still can’t seem to decide between an electric or hybrid SUV? Price may very well be the deciding factor. The Escape Hybrid is the most affordable, starting at $28,255. Next is the Explorer Hybrid with a base price of $48,130. Finally, the Mustang Mach-E base model is priced at $43,895. Before you get too excited, the extended-range GT model will cost you a cool $60,500.