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Ford's $2 million USD plug-in hybrid fuel cell vehicle

From top to bottom: fuel cell, hydrogen tank and li-ion battery pack
Edmunds gets a test drive in Ford's multi-million dollar concept

About a month ago, DailyTech first brought you a glimpse at Ford's Edge HySeries crossover utility vehicle (CUV). In its current form, the concept features a hydrogen fuel cell, a 336-volt lithium-ion battery pack and electric motors for propulsion. Ford can also adapt the chassis to accommodate gasoline-electric or diesel-electric hybrid powertrains.

The editors at Edmunds were recently given a chance to drive the $2 million USD Ford Edge HySeries concept vehicle. The 5,400 pound CUV is powered solely by electricity, so power delivery is turbine smooth and quiet. Edmunds likened its forward progress to that of a "horizontal elevator." And by using a hydrogen fuel cell, the Edge HySeries has no harmful emissions and only releases water vapor into the environment.

The Edge HySeries’ powertrain is mounted low in the chassis for better weight distribution. One electric motor is located at each axle while the fuel cell and batteries are located under the driver and passenger seat respectively. The 350-bar hydrogen fuel tank is mounted along the vehicle's centerline under the center console.

Since Edmunds was given the keys to a prototype vehicle, performance wasn't quite up to production levels. The vehicle was admittedly running at 50% of its potential, so acceleration was a bit on the slow side compared to its gasoline-engined counterpart – the additional 870 pounds of heft doesn’t help either. On the other hand, the vehicle was nearly silent under acceleration with just the hum of the fuel cell compressor penetrating the cabin.

With a fully topped off battery and a full hydrogen tank, the HySeries should offer a driving range of 225 miles and a combined city/highway rating of 41MPG. This is quite favorable to the newly revised 2008 EPA ratings for some of the most popular hybrid automobiles on the North American market. The Prius, Camry Hybrid and Civic Hybrid are rated at 46MPG, 34MPG and 42MPG combined respectively under the new EPA guidelines.

With North American vehicles coming up on the short end of the stick with regards to fuel efficiency, it's good to see car manufactures looking towards technology to improve fuel efficiency given America’s apprehension to diesel power in consumer automobiles. Multi-million dollar investments in test vehicles like Ford's Edge HySeries and GM's Volt and Sequel mean that we as consumers will reap the benefits in the near future.

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RE: 5400 pounds?!
By AlmostExAMD on 2/26/2007 4:32:46 AM , Rating: 1
Then why buy an SUV to start with.
Seriously what drugs are Ford and others on, You all talk about environment and saving on fuel and other shit but you buy a big chunky 4WD?
Why can't they(GM/Ford) just release a nice sporty looking sedan like a Pontiac GTO or Mustang with this technology, Or even a family car like a Camry or something instead of these ugly hybrids currently out there!

RE: 5400 pounds?!
By masher2 on 2/26/2007 9:22:21 AM , Rating: 2
> "Why can't they(GM/Ford) just release a nice sporty looking sedan like a Pontiac GTO or Mustang with this technology..."

Because no one would buy it. Personally, I like this Edge's the first Ford I'd even consider purchasing.

RE: 5400 pounds?!
By Spivonious on 2/26/2007 12:46:21 PM , Rating: 2
What's your reasoning behind this, masher? My car gets 36mpg highway (from my own measurements) but I'd gladly trade up to a similar car that gets 50mpg.

About the Edge, I think it's pretty ugly. Ditch the huge wheels and it might actually sell to the general public.

RE: 5400 pounds?!
By masher2 on 2/26/2007 12:54:47 PM , Rating: 2
If it was similar-- sure people would buy it. But it wouldn't be. A hydrogen system adds a lot of parasitic weight. On a small car, it's proportionally a much larger factor. So the mpg increase of the system would be smaller, and the decline in acceleration and performance even larger.

Would you "trade up" your 36 mpg car for a vehicle that gets 41mpg, but costs twice as much, accelerates half as fast, and uses a fuel that costs more than gasoline?

RE: 5400 pounds?!
By Spivonious on 2/26/2007 1:07:24 PM , Rating: 2
Very good points. The appeal of a small car to me is the "nimbleness" of it. If it weighed a few thousand pounds more it would be a slug.

Still, I'd like like to see them try to make one :) There is definitely a market for it if they can solve the weight issue.

RE: 5400 pounds?!
By walk2k on 2/26/2007 1:10:07 PM , Rating: 2
Trucks and SUVs use more gas, so it makes sense to target them with fuel-efficient technologies. Small cars with gas engines can already get high-30s MPG. Taking a truck that gets low-teens-MPG and pushing it into the 30s makes much more sense than turning 30s into 40s.

Also, they do make a Camry hybrid...

RE: 5400 pounds?!
By walk2k on 2/26/2007 1:13:50 PM , Rating: 2
Also also, I don't know about Ford/GM but Honda/Acura has been showing a hybrid NSX prototype for a few years. No idea if it will ever make it into production, and I mean... the NSX is a $90k already, but you can't really argue with, 200mph top speed, 0-60 in like 3 seconds, and 45 MPG. :) I know I want one!

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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