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
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.