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Ford Escape Hybrid

I just returned from a 420 mile trip in a Ford Escape Hybrid that was assigned to me from my institution’s motor pool for the trip. There was a warning display on the dashboard that said “Vehicle speed limited to 80 mph”. When we would accelerate above 75 to pass a car, a chime would come on and this display would read “Approaching Maximum Speed”. I was talking to a friend about this and he thought perhaps the reason for the chime and warning is to warn the driver that, if he his passing another vehicle, he is at the point where there is no more power. I didn’t try to see if I could make the Ford Escape Hybrid go faster than 80, but I wondered if my friend is correct in his specualation. I don’t know the model year of the vehicle–I assume it was a 2009 or 2010. As I side note, I did find the vehicle quite comfortable on the interstate.

I can’t say for sure this is a stock option, nor can I say I’ve ever had a hybrid up over 80 MPH., but your friend’s assumption sounds reasonable. I’ve heard of rental companies and the like using governors in the past to limit the maximum speed of their vehicles.

The display panel was right down at the base of the steering column. I had to push a button to change to the odometer. When the chime would sound and the “Approaching Maximum Speed” was displayed, I would have to push the button to restore the odometer. I could repeat pushing the button and get the average mpg, the trip odometer, a graphical display indicating what percent of the power was furnished by the gasoline engine and what percent was furnished by the electric motor and probably some other useless information.

I think this is a stock feature. My institution is a university and they have different makes and models of vehicles in the fleet including Honda Civic Hybrids,Ford Tauruses, Chevrolet Impalas and Dodge sedans. I have no choice as to which vehicle I am assigned. When I first went to the institution in 1965, I was assigned Studebaker for a road trip. I don’t think that car is in the fleet these days.

I hope this vehicle is located in the eastern US. In the western US, where speed limits can be 75 and even 80, this would be a dangerous feature.

Why is it dangerous to have a car that has restricted speed of 80 mph ? When towing, I have a restricted speed vehicle less than that and feel in no particular danger.

Our speed limits here in the midwest where the vehicle is located are 70 mph on the interstates. We traveled Interstate 70 from Indianapolis to Columbus, Ohio and kept pace with traffic.
It was probably good for this old geezer to deal with new technology. I’m of the Studebaker Scotsman mindset where less is better.

Sounds like the Escape you used was equipped with Ford’s new “My Key” software. Basically it allows the owner of the vehicle to change/limit certain settings like top speed, maximum radio volume, etc. It’s supposed to be for parents that let their kids use the family car. But apparently it works just as well in fleet vehicles.

From the factory the Escape’s max speed is electronically limited to 107 MPH. Sounds like the braintrust at your institution decided to change the limiter to a lower speed.

Thanks for the information. It sounds like something my institution would do. We have become very “green” and have quite a few hybrid vehicles in the fleet. I don’t think the hybrids are at their best in highway driving. However, when the vehicles go into semi-retirement, they are used only for local driving. The first Honda Civic Hybrids in the fleet are used now for the parking patrol officers. At any rate, at my institution we are both “green and safe” on the highway.