Given that Ford has announced that every future SUV to be introduced will offer a hybrid powertrain option, that there might be a hybrid Ford Escape (or “Kuga” in some markets) in the works for the compact crossover’s next redesign should surprise no one. However, it seems there may be an additional “Energi”-branded plug-in-hybrid version of the third-generation CUV, as some recent spy photographs acquired by website InsideEVs show a camouflage-clad Ford Escape prototype with what can only be a charge door located on the front drivers side fender.
It’s unknown at this time what sort of equipment we can expect to find in the Ford Escape Energi’s propulsion system, although it could well be an evolution of the Fusion Energi’s powertrain – albeit with a more capacious battery. That car, which will be relegated to the dust bin soon enough, couples a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle I4 with a 118-hp AC motor and a continuously-variable transmission. The 2019 version of the car will pack a modest 9.0-kWh battery pack, for an estimated electric range of 25 miles.
Aesthetically, this new third-generation Ford Escape is difficult to get a feel for through the camouflage, but it looks like the compact CUV is destined to get a sleeker profile, thanks to a steeply-raked window on the hatch. It’s hard to tell, but the taillights look substantially slimmer than on the current model, and the headlights appear longer and more tilted.
Expect the all-new, third-generation Ford Escape – along with its Hybrid and Energi variants – to bow some time next year before going on sale for 2020, and be sure to visit InsideEVs for the latest Escape Energi spy shots.