The Ford Kuga Plug-In Hybrid SUV: The Complete Guide For India

Ford Kuga Plug-In Hybrid SUV
Price: N/A
Type of electric vehicle: Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
Body type: SUV
Battery size: 14.4 kWh
Electric range (WLTP): 35 miles
Tailpipe emissions: 32g (CO2/km)


Electric Cars: The Basics


For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:

For those keen on an overview of the benefits of electric vehicles (EVs) and the different types of electric vehicles (EVs), simply scroll down to the end of the article!


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The Ford Kuga PHEV SUV


Michigan based, Ford Motor Company, the US automotive manufacturer, stepped firmly into the fast evolving electric vehicle (EV) race with the unveiling of its ‘new breed of Mustang’, the all-electric Mustang Mach-e sport utility vehicle (SUV), ahead of the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The Ford Kuga compact SUV has been manufactured by Ford since 2008. The Ford Kuga is currently in its third generation, which was introduced in early 2019 and went on sale late 2019, to include the Kuga PHEV. The internal combustion engine (ICE) variant is available as an all-wheel drive (AWD) and front-wheel drive (FWD). The Kuga plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) variant is only available as a front-wheel drive (FWD).

The Ford Kuga PHEV has much to offer those seeking lower-tailpipe emission electric driving, at a more affordable price. For families, the e-SUV offers much practicality and financial savings. Driving a PHEV on e-mode is much cheaper than driving an equivalent combustion engine variant. Given the continued escalation in fuel prices in India, electric driving is fast becoming the best option for private and business car ownership.

Moreover, the pairing of the petrol engine with an electric motor, improves the fuel economy of the electric vehicle. Ford claims that the Kuga plug-in hybrid SUV can achieve a fuel economy up to 201.8 mpg, again, substantially better than the equivalent petrol variant (40.9 mpg). However, achieving an improved fuel economy in a plug-in electric vehicle, requires the EV driven on the electric mode on a regular basis. If the electric drivetrain, powered by the onboard EV battery is not leveraged, the financial savings from driving an EV will not materialise.

The Ford Kuga plug-in electric SUV has far lower tailpipe emissions (32g CO2/km) compared to the petrol only variant (156g CO2/km). Lower tailpipe emissions help reduce local air pollution.

The Ford Kuga EV has a 14.4 kW onboard EV battery, with a claimed emission-free electric range up to 35 miles. Expect the real-world EV range to be closer to 30 miles. Nevertheless, sufficient electric range to meet most daily needs. This should not come as a surprise, given that the majority of our day-to-day trips are to the local grocery store, gym, high street, school-runs etc. The efficiency of the EV is further enhanced by regenerative braking, so do take advantage of it while driving!

The Ford electric vehicle (EV) has a 3.7 kW onboard AC charger. Using a dedicated EV charging station, the PHEV can be charged within 3 hours. We at e-zoomed recommend charging an EV overnight, when the electricity tariff rates are more affordable. We also recommend getting into a habit of ‘topping-up’ the EV battery on a regular basis. This way, you can use the pure electric mode more often, and it is also better for the overall maintenance of the EV battery. Ford offers a 8-year or 100,000 miles warranty. The plug-in electric car does not offer DC charging compatibility.

In terms of performance, the front-wheel drive Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid will not set the heart racing, but the performance is certainly decent. The PHEV can achieve 0-62 mph in 9.2 seconds (maximum power: 225 PS). The top speed of the EV is 124 mph. The Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid pairs a 2.5-litre Duratec petrol engine with an electric motor. Of course, the EV also benefits from instant torque.

Despite the reduction in the boot space (581 L) due to the placement of the EV battery, the Kuga PHEV offers reasonable practicality for front and rear seat occupants, with ample headroom and legroom. The overall visibility and ease of driving is also good. The EV also benefits from a Five-Star NCAP Safety Rating. Also on offer are a host of driving safety features, to include: personal driving assistant, adaptive cruise control, lane centring technology, lane keeping assistance and more.

Bottom-line, electric driving is good for the environment and the wallet! The Ford electric car is not available in India.


PROS CONS
An affordable PHEV SUVNot as stylish or iconic as the Mach-e electric SUV
Cheap to drive on electric modeOnly available as a front-wheel drive (FWD)
Practical and spaciousOnboard charger limited to 3.7 kW

The All-Electric Ford Kuga PHEV SUV (credit: Ford)


Driving an electric vehicle (EV) is cheaper than driving a petrol or diesel vehicle. As an example, in India, filling a full tank of fuel for the internal combustion engine (ICE) Tata Nexon SUV will cost up to Rs 5,000 (assuming an average cost per litre of Rs 100. The Tata Nexon has a fuel tank capacity of 44 L).

In comparison, the Tata Nexon Pure Electric SUV will cost less than Rs 300 for a full EV battery charge (EV Battery size: 30.2 kWh). In India, the average cost for residential electricity is between Rs 5 to Rs 10 per kWh(unit). Therefore the cost to drive per km (or mile) in a pure electric vehicle is substantially lower than a petrol or diesel vehicle.

At an average one can expect a cost per km of Rs 1 for a zero-emission EV, while for an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle, the cost per km could be up to Rs 7 per km. The annual cost savings achieved by switching to electric driving is significant!


At A Glance
EV Type:Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
Vehicle Type:SUV
Engine:Petrol-Electric
Available In India:No

Trims (4 Options)
Zetec
Titanium Edition
ST-Line Edition/ X Edition
Vignale

EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-ion
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size: 14.4 kWh
Charging:DC charging not available. On board charger: 3.7 kW AC (0% – 100%: 3 hrs)
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:32g (CO2/km)
Warranty:8 years or 100,000 miles

Charging Times (Overview)
Slow charging AC (3 kW – 3.6 kW):6 – 12 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SOC)
Fast charging AC (7 kW – 22 kW):3 – 8 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Rapid charging AC (43 kW):0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Rapid charging DC (50 kW+):0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Ultra rapid charging DC (150 kW+):0-80% : 20 mins to 40 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Tesla Supercharger (120 kW – 250 kW):0-80%: up to 25 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)

Dimensions
Height (mm):1675
Width (mm):1883
Length (mm):4614
Wheelbase (mm):2710
Turning Circle (m):11.6
Boot Space (L):581

2.5L Plug-In Hybrid
EV Battery Capacity:14.4 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):35 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (kWh/100 km):15.8
Fuel Consumption (mpg):201.8
Charging:DC charging not available. On board charger: 3.7 kW AC (0% – 100%: 3 hrs)
Top Speed:124 mph
0-62 mph:9.2 seconds
Drive:Front-wheel drive (FWD)
Max Power (PS):225
Torque (Nm):N/A
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:5
Kerb Weight (kg):1,844
Colours:7
NCAP Safety Rating:Five-Star

Benefits Of Electric Driving


The benefits of electric driving are many, with significant advantageous over petrol and diesel internal combustion (ICE) engine cars, for all stakeholders. These benefits include:

  • Lower to zero-tailpipe emissions
  • Lower running costs
  • Lower taxes
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Lower noise pollution
  • Convenience of charging at home
  • Smoother drive
  • Instant torque for acceleration
  • Lower environmental impact

Below we have highlighted three of our favourite benefits of owning and driving an electric car.


Improved Air Quality


Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) or all-electric vehicles do not have tailpipe pollution. In fact, such electric cars do not even have a tailpipe! Zero-emission electric driving has a real and immediate impact on local air quality i.e. improving air quality. While, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) have reduced tailpipe pollution compared to traditional petrol and diesel vehicles. The sooner we migrate to electric driving in India, the sooner we can improve air quality for all our cities, towns and villages. Lower air pollution will also result in a reduced number of health issues arising from inhaling toxic pollutants.


Lower Maintenance & Running Costs


Electric vehicles (EVs) are cheaper to maintain and drive. Pure electric cars have far fewer moving parts compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. The fewer the moving parts, the lower the probability of repair and maintenance. Moreover charging an electric car can cost as little Rs 50 per 100 kilometres! A full charge can cost between Rs 100 and Rs 200. Significantly cheaper than filling a tank of petrol or diesel!


Lower Noise Pollution


Yes, we in India are far more resilient to noise pollution than those living in the western world. We have certainly got used to horns blaring and engines roaring, day and night. But that does not mean we enjoy or welcome noise pollution. In fact, quite the opposite!

Though much focus has been on the advantageous of ‘air quality’ with an electric car, just as important, is the benefit of lower noise pollution. In fact, pure electric cars are silent, with an inbuilt ‘sound booster’ to increase road safety for pedestrians. As our cities in India and across the world become densely populated with cars, the significant negative impact on ‘quality of life’ as a result of increased noise pollution from petrol and diesel vehicles, is just as dangerous, as increased air pollution. Battery-electric cars are a perfect solution in reducing noise pollution and increasing the living standards for us all. Of course, one can only hope that the self inflicted ‘horn blaring’ pollution will also reduce!


Types Of Electric Vehicles (EVs)


Electric vehicle” is an umbrella term, and a broad one at that. There are a number of different types of electric vehicles (EVs), each with its distinct characteristics and advantages. These include:

  • BEVs: Battery-electric vehicles (pure electric)
  • PHEVs: Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (electric and internal combustion engine (ICE) combined)
  • MHEVs: Mild hybrid electric vehicles (internal combustion engine (gasoline or diesel) along with regenerative braking)
  • FCEVs: Fuel cell electric vehicle (electric with hydrogen as fuel)

The above “types” are powered either entirely or partially by electric energy and have different environmental impacts.


Battery-Electric Vehicles (BEVs)


Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), also known as pure electric vehicles, are powered entirely by electricity (i.e. the vehicle does not have a conventional internal combustion engine). BEVs have zero-tailpipe emissions and help improve local air quality.

BEVs are also very economical to drive. A BEV can cost as little as Rs 50 per 100 kilometres to drive. Examples of best-selling EVs include, the all-electric Tesla Model 3 and the all-electric Renault Zoe. A BEV is charged by plugging in the electric vehicle to a dedicated electric car charging station (home or public charging stations). BEVs are well suited for those living in towns, cities and urban centres. Of course, battery-electric vehicles are also suitable for those living in rural settings.


Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)


Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) differ from battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), in that, PHEVs use both a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric engine for propulsion. Plug-in hybrid vehicles combine the advantages of electric driving and internal combustion engine driving.

On shorter distances, the PHEV uses the electric mode to drive emission-free, using the on-board EV battery and regenerative braking. For longer distances, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles switches to using the internal combustion engine. With a PHEV, the vehicle can cost as little Rs 50 per 100 kilometres to drive on e-mode, without any tailpipe pollution, and also be driven long-distances, without the fear of range anxiety! Most PHEVs have an EV battery of up to 15 kWh and can achieve a zero-emission electric range of up to 50 kilometres. No wonder PHEVs are fast becoming popular globally, with much potential or India. Like a BEV, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is charged by using an external power source (EV charging point) for charging.

PHEVs are suitable for those that drive long-distances on a regular basis but want to lower the negative environmental impact from tailpipe pollution. PHEVs are also suitable for those individuals and families that are seeking to save money by taking advantage of electric driving. The Volvo XC40 PHEV and the Volkswagen Golf 8 are good examples of PHEVs.


Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles (MHEVs)


Mild hybrid electric vehicles (MHEVs) are a limited form of electric driving. These vehicles also use hybrid technologies (electric driving and internal combustion engine), but the EV battery is much smaller than a BEV or PHEV. Moreover, in a mild hybrid, the EV battery cannot be charged via an external source (i.e. EV charging station). In a MHEV, the battery is charged by capturing the energy released during braking, a process known as regenerative braking. MHEVs have lower tailpipe emissions, and are more economical to own, run and maintain than petrol and diesel cars. MHEVs are a better option than a petrol or diesel car, but not as good an option as a BEV or PHEV. Mild hybrids are well suited for those living in regions with limited charging infrastructure. Again, MHEVs have great potential in India, given the limited public EV charging infrastructure.

The Toyota Prius is a good example of a mild hybrid electric vehicle.


Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs)


Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) also called hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, have a fuel cell stack that uses hydrogen to generate the electricity needed to power the electric vehicle. The fuel cell generates electricity and pure water vapour that can escape via the tailpipe. It is capable of generating electricity as long as there is a steady supply of hydrogen. Fuel cell electric vehicles can be refuelled with hydrogen at purpose built filling stations. Filling an FEC takes no more than five minutes.

FCEVs have a range of about 500 kilometers or more between refueling. Today, the only and major limitation is the very limited hydrogen refuelling station network globally. The Toyota Mirai FCEV is a good example of this type of EV.


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Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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