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.October 06, 2004
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Ford Celebrates Production Of Hydrogen-Powered Focus Fuel Cell Vehicle

Ford Motor Company celebrates Job One production of its hydrogen fuel cell hybrid electric Focus.

Photo: Ford


Ford is building an evaluation fleet of advanced hydrogen fuel cell, hybrid electric Focus sedans using Ballard Power Systems' fuel cell. Fleet created in response to the U.S. Department of Energy's solicitation, titled "Controlled Hydrogen Fleet and Infrastructure Demonstration and Validation Project." Vehicles to be placed in fleets in Michigan, Florida, California, Berlin, Germany, and British Columbia, Canada, are part of initiatives to promote development of hydrogen-based technologies.


DETROIT - Ford Motor Company celebrated the production of a new Focus Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV), the first in a fleet of high-tech Focus FCVs that will be deployed in Orlando, Fla., Sacramento, Calif., Taylor, Mich., Berlin, Germany and Vancouver, B.C.

"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 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.

The Focus FCV looks and drives like other Focus sedans on the road today, but appearances can be deceiving. Hot-rodders of a past era would call such a car a "sleeper." Designed to look like any other car on the road, a sleeper was a car that was packed with powertrain enhancements that belied its everyday appearance. A sleeper might have a larger engine, a supercharger under the hood, or a Nitrous Oxide boost system under the seats to increase normal output.

In the case of the new Focus FCV, under the hood is a sophisticated hybrid electric powertrain. Tucked under the floor pan is a hydrogen fuel cell and auxiliary energy system that supplies electricity to the powertrain. And in the trunk is a hydrogen tank that carries the car's renewable hydrogen fuel.

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 vapor 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 fueling stations in these markets to support the vehicles. Some BP hydrogen refueling 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.

"The launch of this Ford fuel cell demonstration fleet, together with the previously announced DaimlerChrysler deployments of cars, vans, and buses powered with Ballard® fuel cells clearly demonstrates the strength and leadership of our fuel cell alliance," said Dennis Campbell, president and Chief Executive Officer, Ballard.

"This unique collaboration between Ford, DaimlerChrysler and Ballard Power Systems is fielding the most extensive fuel cell vehicle demonstration ever undertaken.

"Over the next two years more than 120 Alliance-built fuel cell vehicles will be on the road in the hands of end-use customers in thirteen different countries," Campbell continued. "The experience we are gaining under actual driving conditions will add immeasurably to our fundamental understanding and keep the Alliance at the forefront of the most sweeping transformation in the history of motor transport."

(Sept. 28, 2004)

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