Skip to comments.Ford's plug-in hybrid takes fuel cell approach
Posted on 01/23/2007 8:54:27 AM PST by thackney
Big hurdles include the cost: millions per car
WASHINGTON - Ford Motor Co. is joining the list of automakers working on a plug-in hybrid with a twist. It combines the convenience of plugging in your car with a zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell.
Ford today is to display what it calls the world's first drivable fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle with plug-in capability. Called the Flexible Series Hybrid Edge, it represents the latest offering from automakers hoping to stake a claim to the next generation of highly efficient alternative automobiles.
Gerhard Schmidt, Ford's vice president of research and advanced engineering, said the vehicle, based on the Ford Edge crossover platform, gives the company "the ultimate in flexibility in researching advanced propulsion technology."
"We could take the fuel cell power system out and replace it with a downsized diesel, gasoline engine or any other powertrain connected to a small electric generator to make electricity like the fuel cell does now," Schmidt said.
Ford was showing the plug-in fuel cell at the Washington Auto Show, where lawmakers and government officials were viewing a number of advanced vehicle technologies. The show opens for media previews on the eve of President Bush's State of the Union address, which is expected to include energy proposals of concern to the auto industry.
Several automakers have been working on similar technologies. General Motors Corp. will display the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in electric car recently unfurled in Detroit with a range of 40 miles on the battery and more than 600 miles with a gas engine.
DaimlerChrysler has been pursuing plug-in hybrids and said Friday it would expand its test fleet in the U.S. to more than 20 Dodge Sprinter vans. The company's chairman, Dieter Zetsche, and Chrysler Group Chief Executive Tom LaSorda were expected to discuss clean diesel technology at the auto show on Tuesday.
Volkswagen will be showing the Golf GT TSI for the first time in the United States. The vehicle's supercharged gasoline engine has 170 horsepower while garnering 40 miles per gallon in the city and 48 mpg on the highway. VW estimates the vehicle gets 638 miles on one tank of fuel.
Ford's plug-in hybrid Edge operates in battery only mode for the first 25 miles, moving at speeds of up to 85 miles per hour. When the battery is depleted to 40 percent, it shifts to the fuel-cell mode, which recharges the battery for 200 more miles of range.
The 336-volt lithium ion battery pack can be fully charged overnight in about eight hours with either a 110 or 220 volt outlet, and the engine produces gas mileage of about 41 miles per gallon. Drivers who travel fewer than 50 miles per day would get more than 80 miles per gallon, Ford said.
The combined plug-in-hydrogen vehicle offers a new way to address some of the challenges of hydrogen fuel cells. The pollution-free technology could provide a sustainable energy source through the mixture of hydrogen and oxygen, but it faces a number of hurdles with its size, weight, cost and lack of a fueling infrastructure.
Ford reduced the fuel cell's size, weight and cost by half and said its approach would double the lifespan of the fuel cell's stack.
Mujeeb Ijaz, Ford's manager for fuel cell vehicle engineering, said the changes were "a great step to commercializing" the vehicle.
Ford has not set a date when it would be available.
The automaker said the vehicles cost millions of dollars each and commercialization remains hindered by a lack of a hydrogen infrastructure and the cost of lithium-ion batteries.
Only if the hydrogen is produced using a zero-emissions energy source like Nuclear, Wind or Solar.
Fix Or Repaie Daily.
First On Race Day ended in 1954!
Somehow missed Found On Road Dead!
I would happily drive a Volt, no problem with that whatsoever. First electric car I've seen that doesn't make me look straight out of Queer Eye.
If higher speed highway driving is you primary concern, you would be better of with Prius shape without the extra weight of batteries and secondary drive.
You have probably heard of Mr. Pogue from Canada who, in the 1930's, developed a carburator which used exhaust gases to vaporize the fuel so the engine ran on only fumes which is the way they are designed to do. He was able to get 200 mpg's in a mid sized car. There were numerous newspaper articles about his invention and the oil stocks even went down on the news of it. Unfortunatley, he was bought out by either a car maker or oil company, I don't remember which. It's pretty well known that the big auto makers and oil companies are purposely keeping great technology out of the scene so as not to greatly drop their profits. They believe they are doing the right thing but obviously it is hurting the average American.
I'll save the 117k that one of those costs, buy me a nice fat towncar for 25k and spend the savings on premium gas, thank you!
How did Big Lube and/or Big Piston keep the Soviets from developing that technology? What is now keeeping Big Sino from developing it?
Also missed "F***in' Old Rebuilt Dodge".
It's pretty well known that fools who heard of Mr. Pogue from Canada buy into this type of engineering quackery!
FACT: There is absolutely NO incentive or valid business reason why ANY automotive manufacturer would NOT want their products to get good or great fuel mileage.
Do you think that GM, FORD, DCX or others would sit by as their businesses crash from HIGH fuel costs? These firms are loosing BILLIONS of dollars each year.
If such an invention existed they would be the first to go after it as it could well mean their survival.
If the "Big Oil" firms had bought this device to keep it off the market they would have been dragged into the courts years ago by every firm that uses fuel.
Nice try - but it never happened.
Maybe their own oil companies are keeping it from them as ours are...greatly improved mpg's means alot less profits for the oil business no matter what country and less tax revenues for the government. Just do a search on Mr. Pogues invention and read about the many high mileage patents that have been bought by the car makers. It has and is happening.
But the Soviets didn't have "companies" and did want to surpass us. Ditto for Maoist China.
I've heard variations of this story (100 mile per gallon carburetor, for instance) for 50 years and know the stories go back much farther than that.
I think you should do a little reasearch on Mr. Pogues invention as well as others that have greatly improved gas mpg's before you post a reply. I have and it is a fact. I'm sure the car makers have made a decision that to let the high mileage inventions out of the bag will hurt their profits alot more than any poor sales that are usually temporary. They are also financially intertwined with the oil companies and of course if everyone got 100-200 mpg's that means alot less gas tax revenues. I think you are a bit naive about this subject. I'm not saying that the car and oil companies are evil...they are just protecting their profits but it is very short sighted of them. By the way, when I was 20, I copied some plans for a simpler vapor system using the radiator water for my big plymouth fury and went from 13 to 28 mpg's. The gas is formulated different now and takes a higher temp to vaporize or you would be seeing alot of simple hot water vapor systems on the market.
Pure fantasy. No company would pass up the money that could be made from selling such a device as well as guaranteeing petroleum remains the sole energy transportation fuel for another century.
"Half of what makes the Toyota Prius a successful design is that it is a very efficient shape with all sorts of low-friction, low-drag goodness." I'm waiting for the 23,000lb+ GCVW rated Prius so I can put my backhoe with the goose-neck 20' low deck trailer.