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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: If they care about economy...
By masher2 (blog) on 2/26/2007 3:26:03 PM , Rating: 1
> "I see no links to evidence. I'm sure you'll find some, though. You can make figures say anything."

Come, this is beneath you. I say nothing but simple truth. Per-capita miles driven has been increasing since the turn of the century. It still increases today...from 1988 to 1994, in fact, average miles/vehicle went up by over 1000 miles/year (Sources: http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/rtecs/chapter3.html) You may not like the figures, but their truth is inescapable.

> " People have to drive places..."

People do not "need" to live 50 or even 100 miles from where they work though, now do they? You are quick to claim no one needs a SUV...why do you hide from this truth?

> "You could get a people carrier and it would be both safer, more practical and more economical [than an SUV]..."

There are at least five reasons people buy SUVs even when they never intend to take them offroad. First, their towing capacity, which an estate car or minivan will never match. Second, their cargo capacity. A van might equal an SUV here...but the MPG differential between a van and a similar-sized 2WD SUV is pretty small. Third, the higher platform allows for better view and easier loading and unload of passengers. When you have small children in carseats, an SUV saves a great deal of back strain.

Fourth is safety. And before you trot out crash test results, you have to realize those tests are done against fixed barriers, which eliminates the mass differential-- the most important factor in a multicar crash.

The fifth reason is the simplest. Looks. And before you sneer at this, I suggest you think about how many times you've bought a car, clothes, or even a home without thinking at least marginally about its style and/or appearance.


RE: If they care about economy...
By RogueSpear on 2/26/2007 4:22:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I say nothing but simple truth.

False. You say "it's not what people drive it's how many miles they drive". You say much more than "simple truth". You purposely ignore facts when it's convenient. I agree that miles driven is part of the equation, but what you drive is at the very least an equal part of the equation. And to me it's a larger part of the equation. I know it's not to you.

Every once in a while you come up with a good point worth considering, but for the most part you present arguments that are skewed or downright misleading. I don't believe this is out of ignorance either, rather it's similar to an accountant who "plays" with numbers to make the books read whatever he wants them to. I give you credit for going out and finding resources to back up whatever you like and sometimes ignoring information from those same links that directly contradict a good deal of your argument. I have a bit more going on in my life than to spend the day preparing a thesis as to why you're wrong. The only reason I spend as much time as I do on this silliness is that it turns my stomach to see you spreading a bunch of baloney.

And you still have chosen not to reveal what your true agenda is in this whole matter. Perhaps my guess regarding a financial interest was a little too close for comfort.


RE: If they care about economy...
By masher2 (blog) on 2/26/2007 4:55:14 PM , Rating: 1
> "You say "it's not what people drive it's how many miles they drive..."

No. I say that how much people drive is the most important factor in gasoline consumption. And it is-- by far. The average person in 1950 drove less than 3000 miles/year. Today, our cars are almost twice as efficient...but we drive four times as many miles.

> "I have a bit more going on in my life than to spend the day preparing a thesis as to why you're wrong..."

Ahh, the "I'm too busy to prove you wrong" story, eh?

> "And you still have chosen not to reveal what your true agenda is in this whole matter..."

Simply the desire to expose hypocrisy. It turns my stomach to have simple-minded people focus on symbols over substance. And that's exactly what the SUV is...a symbol, that lacks any real substance on the issue of gasoline consumption. Eliminate it totally, and in five years time, our usage would be higher than ever.


RE: If they care about economy...
By RogueSpear on 2/26/2007 5:20:11 PM , Rating: 2
Well you may have quite an audience here who buy into your arguments. I am not among them. While not a professional in this field, you could say I have an interest in it and I try to keep myself informed and educated. As such I regularly spot holes in your arguments.

Rather than even refute the argument I made several posts ago, you simply steer in another direction figuring people will get distracted. Those who share your point of view will obviously go right along.

I think I've presented enough to illustrate how incomplete and myopic your argument is.


By masher2 (blog) on 2/26/2007 5:48:15 PM , Rating: 1
> "I think I've presented enough to illustrate how incomplete and myopic your argument is..."

Sorry, but merely remarking that "I could prove you wrong if I had more time" doesn't cut it in place of data and hard facts. I've presented those facts. SUV's aren't the problem, they're merely a symbol for those unable to grasp the reality of a complex situation.

To repeat-- replacing every SUV on the road today would only save a few percent of our total gasoline usage. Given our current growth rate, within five years time, we'd be using more than ever.


RE: If they care about economy...
By typo101 on 2/27/2007 7:31:49 PM , Rating: 2
Man this thread has really taken off on a tangent. masher's original argument (which I agree with) really has less to do with types of cars and even fuel efficiency, and more to do with the suburban sprawl . These days people are moving away from their downtown workplace to live in a quaint suburb far away from the city (as masher also pointed out there are many reasons for this that I don't want to get into because that will probably spark another heated argument).

It is impossible to deny that more efficient cars would decrease fuel consumption, but focusing on efficiency is masking this continent's bigger problem -- the commute.

is masher being shortsighted or are you being fooled by marketing?


By RogueSpear on 2/26/2007 5:25:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ahh, the "I'm too busy to prove you wrong" story, eh?

Seriously man, how much of my day am I supposed to spend on something like this? Perhaps if this thread weren't forgotten in the next 48 hours I could see getting a little more into it.

I'm not sure about you, but I work, have a family and all that stuff.


RE: If they care about economy...
By Kuroyama on 2/26/2007 5:35:41 PM , Rating: 2
Sure the amount of driving has gone up over the years. But are you suggesting that this is due to fuel economy being better? I doubt that fuel consumption plays more than a minor part in most people's decisions about how far to drive; most people decide what to do and only later whine about how much the gas for their mega-vehicle cost. If that is the case then improving fuel economy will certainly decrease gas consumption, at least relative to what would have been used without the improvements in fuel economy.


By masher2 (blog) on 2/26/2007 5:54:00 PM , Rating: 1
> "Sure the amount of driving has gone up over the years..."

I'm glad you realize this...you seem to be in the minority here.

> "But are you suggesting that this is due to fuel economy being better?"

No, the vast majority of it is due to other factors. However, fuel economy and fuel costs do have a small impact on total miles driven. When gas prices increase, consumption decreases, and vice versa. People do adjust their driving patterns around their budget.


RE: If they care about economy...
By evildorf on 2/26/2007 4:32:30 PM , Rating: 2
To be fair to the guy just above your reply masher2, I think he was wanting evidence to support your figures on switching SUVs to cars only saving 10% and the other bit about reducing miles driven saving a lot more. That per- capita-miles-driven has been increasing is probably not a surprise to him/her, and that item is the one addressed by your link.
Your link does, interestingly enough, say the following: "In addition, two segments of the light truck fleet--minivans and sport utility-vehicles--were driven more miles per year per vehicle than were passenger cars." So at least according to 1994 data (I suppose of questionable validity now that it's 2007) not only are people living farther from wherever it is they're trying to get to (work, etc.) they are driving less efficient vehicles in order to get there. Your personal driving habits aside (only burning 5 gallons a week in an SUV is an admirable feat), it seems that the idea that more efficient cars are driven proportionally more than SUVs/minivans holds little truth.
On the article itself, the vehicle looks good but I'm a bit leery on the whole fuel cell thing. For a big hydrogen supply, we'll need to split a lot of water, which requires a great deal of energy by itself. Though how this compares to the energy required to pump an equivalent amount of hydrocarbons out of the ground, I don't know. Also, the range of this vehicle isn't very impressive, and I think that's going to remain a problem until they get the hydrogen-to-storage medium mass ratio down.


RE: If they care about economy...
By masher2 (blog) on 2/26/2007 4:49:13 PM , Rating: 1
> "I think he was wanting evidence to support your figures on switching SUVs to cars only saving 10%"

All light trucks (which includes pickups, SUVs, and minivans) account for only 1/3 the miles travelled in the US. (data in the link above). SUVs account for roughly 1/3 of that. That's only an 11% savings, even if you swapped every SUV for a bicycle. Realistically, swapping an SUV for an car with equal passenger capacity, you'd save only about 3-4% of all national usage. So my original 10% figure was actually highly optimistic.

> "So...not only are people living farther from wherever it is they're trying to get to (work, etc.) they are driving less efficient vehicles in order to get there..."

False correlation. That data is by household, not individual. Larger households (especially those with many children) tend to drive more miles. Larger households are more likely to own an SUV or a minivan.


RE: If they care about economy...
By evildorf on 2/26/2007 8:23:53 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, I agree with your estimate then. On the other point, technically it's per vehicle, not per household and I'd surmise that larger households also tend to have more vehicles...though that almost certainly doesn't scale linearly (people to vehicles). Anyway, my point was only that according to that study, SUVs/minivans are driven for more mileage, individually, than other (usually more fuel efficient) vehicles.
I think I recall you stating that most of the gas is being used by people commuting large distances in smaller cars. That statement is neither proven nor disproven by the study we've been discussing, though the fact that SUVs are driven for more miles appears to lean away from it. Was your statement an expectation or a quotation of fact? I don't mind being proven wrong, it's simply that my expectation is opposite of yours.


By masher2 (blog) on 2/26/2007 8:49:22 PM , Rating: 1
> "I think I recall you stating that most of the gas is being used by people commuting large distances in smaller cars..."

That may be true, but its not quite what I'm saying. My point is really very simple, and just a statement of statistics. Vehicle mileage varies anywhere from around 10mpg (Hummer) up to 50mpg (Prius). Thats a 5:1 ratio.

Miles driven in the US, though varies from below 4K miles/year to over 100K miles/year. That's a ratio of over 25:1. A far broader bell curve, and therefore a much more significant variance.

The conclusion? Total gasoline consumption in the US is driven much less by people driving cars below average on efficiency, and much more by people driving more miles than the national average. It doesn't matter why they're driving, or what they're driving in...that half of the bell curve is the one with all the weight.

That same conclusion can be proven in a wholly different manner. Vehicle mileage has increased considerably since 1950. Yet, even allowing for population increases, our total gasoline consumption is up sharply. Why? Because more efficient cars don't have nearly the impact that total miles do...and our total miles keep going up and up.


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