September 29, 2004

Ford produces its first hybrid fuel cell car

Detroit, Michigan – Ford produced the first of a new generation of Focus Fuel Cell Vehicles on Tuesday. The Focus FCV is one of the industry’s first hybridized fuel cell vehicles combining the improved range and performance of hybrid technology with the overall benefits of a fuel cell.

Ford Focus FCV
Dr. Gerhard Schmidt, vice president, Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford, (right) and Dennis Campbell, president and CEO, Ballard, stand next to a new Focus FCV. Click image to enlarge

“This Focus FCV is the most sophisticated environmental vehicle Ford has developed,” said Dr. Gerhard Schmidt, Ford Motor Company vice president, Research and Advanced Engineering. “As such, is a critical success in our long-term strategy to move toward high volume production of hydrogen powered cars and trucks.”

The Ford Focus FCV uses a fuel cell powertrain supplied by Ballard Power Systems, the world leader in proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology. The FCV is hybridized with the addition of a nickel metal-hydride battery pack and a brake-by-wire electro-hydraulic series regenerative braking system. The fuel cell engine converts chemical energy into electric energy using hydrogen fuel and oxygen from air. The electric energy then powers the vehicle’s electric drive motor, producing only water vapour and heat as by-products.

“This Focus FCV combines our hybrid expertise with advanced fuel cell technology resulting in a vehicle that combines the improved range and performance of a hybrid with the overall benefits of a fuel cell,” said Schmidt.

Ford is building an evaluation fleet of Focus FCVs for placement in demonstration programs in the United States, Canada, and Germany. Vehicles will be placed in Michigan, California, and Florida in response to the U.S. Department of Energy’s solicitation, titled “Controlled Hydrogen Fleet and Infrastructure Demonstration and Validation Project.” Additional vehicles will be placed in Vancouver, British Columbia and Berlin, Germany under programs sponsored by the Canadian and German governments. All of these programs are designed to promote development of hydrogen-based technologies.

Additionally, Ford is working with BP plc. to build a network of hydrogen fuelling stations in these markets to support the vehicles. Some BP hydrogen refuelling stations will evaluate technologies that have near-term commercial feasibility, such as reformation of natural gas, while others will explore more long-term technology options and assess the potential to produce renewable-based hydrogen that achieve U.S. DOE hydrogen fuel cost targets.

Ford, Ballard and DaimlerChrysler have formed an alliance that is at the forefront of fuel cell research and technology development. Ford and DaimlerChrysler are placing fuel cell vehicles in the hands of customers on four continents over the next six months for evaluation.

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