Ford Escape Hybrid: Helping to Save Lives and Fuel on L.A. Beaches

By Ford Social Member

A fleet of 2009 Ford Escape Hybrids has helped the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Service save more than lives in the past year. In its first 11 months of service, the fleet of 45 Ford Escape Hybrids has reduced the organization's entire fleet fuel consumption by 5,000 gallons and its carbon emissions by 97,500 lbs.

More than 58 million people visit Los Angeles' sandy beaches every year, and the number is going up. Public safety is the primary concern of Los Angeles County lifeguards, who use a fleet of 45 customized Escape Hybrids to patrol 72 miles of coastline. The Escape Hybrids have been used in more than 9,000 rescues and 1 million rescue preventions.

After nearly a year of beach patrol, L.A. County lifeguards and officials say the Escape Hybrids have been valuable tools in efforts ranging from saving injured surfers to moving swimmers out of rip currents to reuniting lost children with their parents.

Escape Hybrids have become critical tools for the lifeguards stationed in Malibu, for example. Last October, they used three Escape Hybrids and an F-350 in the rescue of two men involved in a single-engine plane crash near the Malibu Pier. In January 2009, lifeguards used an Escape Hybrid to tow a wave runner into position to launch a rescue of a capsized kayaker who was at risk of hypothermia. Two months later, lifeguards patrolling in an Escape Hybrid were in the right place at the right time to rescue a surfer who had been knocked unconscious in the water and was in danger of drowning.

The customized Escape Hybrids enable L.A.'s lifeguards to efficiently stow rescue gear and protect it from the elements, said Fernando Boiteux, the department's northern section chief. Based on input from the lifeguards, Ford designers removed 60 percent of the rear seat on the driver's side and replaced it with a rescue equipment storage unit - an aluminum box with specially designated spaces for important emergency equipment, such as defibrillators, trauma boxes and oxygen tanks. The remaining 40 percent of the seat was left intact in case the lifeguards had to transport someone, such as a lost child.

Ford designers also outfitted the Escape Hybrids with a custom-fit roof rack for the lifeguards' paddle board and spine boards. The vehicles were painted a vibrant yellow - iconic for lifeguards - and then detailed with authoritative graphics and finished off with dark wheels.

The lifeguards use four-wheel-drive Escape Hybrids, which deliver outstanding fuel economy of EPA estimated 29 mpg city and 27 mpg highway; also available is the front-wheel-drive Escape Hybrid - the most fuel-efficient SUV on the planet* - which delivers an EPA estimated 34 mpg in city driving and 30 mpg on the highway. The lifeguards also use six F-350s and two F-250s along with other specialized vehicles.

Below is the video made when the vehicles were delivered to Los Angeles County Lifeguard Service.

Bob Brown 02/12/2010
After knocking the domestic products for so many years we find out which companies have to be prodded to insure a reliable vehicle. Consumers reports will not be able to push the reliability issue and downplay the with same vigor as in the past. Competition is key and my Ford Taurus X with its ""coarse" engine runs quietly, vigorously and smooth with decent 26 mpg on the road to boot.
Alan 09/24/2009
Even with the artificial tax rebates it would take the County of Los Angeles 12 years to make back the difference in the sticker price between the 4x4 hybrid and the base automatic trans 4x4 model. Not that any county agency ever keeps a vehicle for that long. If they did they would eventually have to replace the batteries at their cost, if they failed outside the 10 year 100,000 Government mandated warranty time.

Why not a plug-in electric vehicle that is recharged from solar cells on the roofs of the lifeguard towers. Electric vehicle technology has been here for 100 years. Just ask Mrs. Henry Ford, who drove an electric Ford around the Ford Family Estate. If the oil companies hadn't purchased the battery technology and put it on the shelf we would have many different, competitively priced models of electric cars to choose from. Instead they have to make tiny electric cars that are death traps compared to the size of the other cars on the road.

Follow the money people, it's the only factor that never changes.
George Knochel 07/06/2009
To the first two posters on July 3, I would say that you can't compare an SUV hybrid all-wheel-drive to a Toyota Camary compact auto. The Camary would become stuck in the beach sand. And you ask "who would buy one"? Well, I would, for example. (With a Federal tax credit of $958 and state credit of $3,906, it pays off also And now with the CARS cash-for-clunkers rebate from the Ford dealers to you of $4,500 -- that's gravy on top). I have a 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid AWD, and regularlly get an average of 32 to 36 mpg, driving 65% city and 35% highway -- even though the EPA estimate is 29 city and 27 highway for thw AWD (4x4). I'm sure on the beaches, driving slowly, they have even better mpg, as it would be making the most of the 330 volt electric battery power.
John S. Hegwer 07/06/2009
Nice ad and an admirable start on catching up to Toyota and Honda. I am a former Ford owner but now I would like some real mechanical and test results as I might find in "Consumer Reports".

Also your decision not to accept government bailout money so far looks to be pretty intelligent. Something that Detroit has been missing for a number of years.
Bob in Redding CA 07/04/2009
I own 2,300 shares in Ford. I love this story. GO FORD!!!!
dmh 07/04/2009
The Camry Hybrid should cost less than the Fusion Hybrid, it is using less efficient technology, the Fusion gets 8 mpg better mileage. Do the math on operating cost over life of unit.
ck Page 07/03/2009
Great product! I chose a Ford Escape Hybrid because of its excellent mileage, handling and interior. I think it is great that Los Angeles County adapted the SUV for the lifeguards -- to help protect the beaches and assist the lifeguards. I recommend this product to everyone!
ck Page 07/03/2009
I personally chose a Ford Escape hybrid in July 2008. It has great mileage and a very nice interior. It sounds like a great choice for the lifeguards to protect the many miles of beach in Los Angeles County. Also the idea that one can adapt a "conventional" vehicle for a specific use is a very wise decision. I recommend the Ford Escape hybrid for anyone wanting fuel efficiency and comfort.
Joe Mcbeth 07/03/2009
I have to agree. I own a camry XLE V6 . It has everything. Loaded with electronics,leather and sunroof and still less than taurus. I want to buy a ford and can with the A plan but it still costs more than what I will pay Toyota. Same thing happened when I bought my minivan....Odyssey. hope it changes because I don't know Chinese.
ed friedman 07/03/2009
it is really great that an american company is producing economical fuled hybrids. however, who is going to pay the prices ford wants. toyoto wants 23, 390 for a camary hybrid with a sunroof. ford doesn't even come close. i checked.

money does talk when it comes to buying a car.
Ford Escape Hybrid: Helping to Save Lives and Fuel on L.A. Beaches
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