(from Ford Motor
Company Press Release) FORD UNVEILS WORLD’S FIRST DRIVABLE FUEL CELL
HYBRID ELECTRIC VEHICLE WITH PLUG-IN CAPABILITY
* The Ford Edge with HySeries Drive™ is the world’s first drivable
fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle with plug-in capability.
* Ford’s flexible powertrain architecture enables the use of new
fuel and propulsion technologies as they develop without redesigning
the vehicle and its control systems.
* The HySeries Drive technology is able to operate using a fuel
cell, small gasoline or diesel engine connected to an electric
generator to make electricity.
WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 23, 2007 – Ford Motor Company [NYSE: F] today
unveiled the world’s first drivable fuel cell hybrid electric
plug-in that combines an onboard hydrogen fuel cell generator with
lithium-ion batteries to deliver more than 41 mpg with zero
emissions. The vehicle is built on a flexible powertrain
architecture that will enable Ford to use new fuel and propulsion
technologies as they develop without redesigning the vehicle.
“This vehicle offers Ford the ultimate in flexibility in researching
advanced propulsion technology,” said Gerhard Schmidt, vice
president of research and advanced engineering for Ford Motor
Company. “We could take the fuel cell power system out and replace
it with a down-sized diesel, gasoline engine or any other powertrain
connected to a small electric generator to make electricity like the
fuel cell does now.”
The new HySeries Drive™ powertrain featured in a Ford Edge uses a
real-world version of the powerplant envisioned in the Ford
Airstream concept unveiled earlier this month at the 2007 North
American International Auto Show in Detroit. The HySeries Drive
powertrain delivers a combined city/highway gasoline equivalent fuel
economy rating of 41 mpg. For those who drive less than 50 miles
each day, the average jumps to more than 80 mpg.
“We wanted to take what was in a ‘gee whiz’ vehicle like the
Airstream and connect it with something people are driving on the
road today, something that wasn’t just a futuristic concept
vehicle,” Schmidt said.
The plug-in hybrid is powered by a 336-volt lithium-ion battery pack
at all times. The vehicle drives the first 25 miles each day on
stored electricity alone, after which the fuel cell begins operating
to keep the battery pack charged. This provides another 200 miles of
range for a total of 225 miles with zero emissions. Individual
experiences will vary widely and can stretch out the time between
fill-ups to more than 400 miles: drivers with modest daily needs
would need to refuel only rarely, drivers who travel less than 50
miles each day will see fuel economy well over 80 mpg, while those
with long daily commutes will see somewhat lower numbers as the fuel
cell must run a larger fraction of the time.
The Ford Edge with HySeries Drive can travel at speeds of up to 85
mph. An on-board charger (110/220 VAC) can refresh the battery pack
when a standard home outlet is available, making the concept a true
When the battery pack is depleted to approximately 40 percent, the
hydrogen fuel cell – supplied by Ford partner Ballard –
automatically turns on and begins generating electricity to recharge
the batteries. Like a conventional automobile, the Ford Edge with
HySeries Drive will go until it runs out of fuel – in this case via
a 350-bar hydrogen tank that supplies 4.5 kg of useable hydrogen.
The HySeries Drive name is derived from the powertrain’s structure:
a hydrogen fuel-cell-powered series hybrid drivetrain. This highly
innovative approach reduces the size, weight, cost and complexity of
a conventional fuel cell system by more than 50 percent. It also
promises to more than double the lifetime of the fuel cell stack.
This flexible powertrain architecture enables the use of new fuel
and propulsion technologies as they develop and become available
without the need to redesign the vehicle and its control systems.
Certainly, many significant technical hurdles need to be overcome
before a vehicle such as the Edge with HySeries Drive can become a
reality. Fuel cell vehicles remain expensive, costing millions of
dollars each. And the single biggest hurdle to plug-ins remains the
cost of lithium-ion batteries. Much work also needs to be done to
make fuel cells more durable and to create a hydrogen
Hydrogen Part of a Broader Effort At Ford
Research into hydrogen, including the Ford Edge with HySeries Drive,
is part of Ford’s overall effort to address the challenges of
climate change and energy independence. Ford is moving ahead with a
range of technology solutions simultaneously, including vehicles
such as the Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid, hydrogen
fuel cells, hydrogen internal combustion engines, ethanol, clean
diesel and refinements to gasoline fueled engines and advanced
transmissions. Some of the technology, such as that seen in Ford’s
lineup of hybrid vehicles, represents near-term approaches. Other
technology, including hydrogen fell cells, must be viewed as a
Ford began working on hydrogen technology in the early 1990s. Ford’s
first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, released in 2001, was based on a
lightweight aluminum sedan body, which also was used in the
development of the company’s first hydrogen-powered internal
The company currently has a fleet of 30 hydrogen-powered Focus fuel
cell vehicles on the road as part of a worldwide, seven-city program
to conduct real-world testing of fuel cell technology. The fleet has
accumulated more than 300,000 miles since its inception. With this
fleet on the road, a great deal of information that can be
integrated into future fuel cell vehicle propulsion systems is being
generated in different local environmental conditions.
Having the fleet outside the confines of Ford Motor Company also has
allowed the team to gain valuable feedback on servicing vehicles in
the field. As a hydrogen infrastructure is developed and implemented
for the fleet at each location, lessons learned are being generated
to ensure that the customer and hydrogen fueling interface is
seamless and customer friendly.