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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 on 2/27/2007 12:26:09 AM , Rating: 0
> "Tell me you really "need" to [carry large loads] that frequently?? "

Myself? No, not frequently. The point was that *some* people need to do it frequently. And even when you only need it infrequently, renting a truck is not always practical, in terms of time, money, or even simple convenience. Just last weekend I purchased a carving from an antique store downtown. Now, I could have spent $100, waited a week, and had them deliver it. Or I could have driven to find a Home Depot, rented a truck, left my car there, driven back to the store, loaded the purchase, driven home, driven back to Home Depot to get my car, then driven home yet again. Or I could have just done what I did...and tossed it in the back of my SUV, saving myself hours of time.

Maybe twice a month I need to move something large. Does that justify the SUV to me? It sure does...even ignoring all the times I have to carry multiple children. I could probably fit my own children and their sports equipment into a midsize car...though admittedly with less convenience and comfort. But a third of those trips, I wind up carrying some other children as well. Sometimes as many as six total kids at a time. That's not extremely common...but I don't want to stop and rent a truck when it does happen.

And of course, carrying capacity is only ONE of the five reasons to own an SUV I mentioned. Six, if you count offroad capability (which I didn't).

> "His point was he *could* tow external loads if necessary ..."

Only those loads that weigh less than 1400 lbs. For anyone with a boat, travel trailer, or any other of the countless loads which weigh more than this-- you're out of luck.

> "pretending to misunderstand that is just being churlish. ..."

He specifically referenced my earlier statement when he mentioned towing capacity...NOT in reference to adding a little carrying space. I think his intent was clear.

“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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