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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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water vaopr - a greenhouse gas
By gkline on 2/26/2007 9:34:47 AM , Rating: 1
It seems that everyone thinks water vapor is harmless, but it is in fact the green house gas with the largest contribution to atmospheric warming of all greenhouse gases. Now maybe we do not currently produce enough water vapor to affect the atmosphere, but what if we switch all of our CO2 production to water vapor production? Would we then be making the situation worse?

We still do not understand enough abot how our climate works. While I do think we need to start taking the easy steps to reduce CO2 emissions, we had better continue trying to understand how the system works.

RE: water vaopr - a greenhouse gas
By Marlowe on 2/26/2007 10:57:08 AM , Rating: 2
Hehe I don't know about that man, but you made me think about another thing.

Water vapor is the same as what clouds really are right? So what if we had millions of hydrogen cars that produced millions of tons of water vapor, maby that could form into clouds and make it rain all day long hehe ;)

RE: water vaopr - a greenhouse gas
By Spivonious on 2/26/2007 12:55:23 PM , Rating: 2
...if H20 is a greenhouse gas, we're in trouble.

RE: water vaopr - a greenhouse gas
By masher2 on 2/26/2007 1:45:10 PM , Rating: 3
H20 is a greenhouse gas far more potent than CO2. In fact, 90+% of the greenhouse effect results from water vapor.

By Oregonian2 on 2/26/2007 2:04:20 PM , Rating: 2
You're saying that having an Exxon tanker crash and make oil slicks go out forever on the ocean is a *good* green-planet thing because of the lower water evaporation from the ocean? Seems like the oceans have a pretty large surface of water, perhaps more oil slicks are in order!

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