Ford To Showcase Hydrogen Fuel Cell Explorer
The Explorer, to be introduced at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show, is one of several vehicles with green technology that Ford will be exhibiting, including the new 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid, the PZEV emissions compliant Ford Fusion and Ford Focus and the 2008 Ford F-Series Super Duty with Ford Clean Diesel Technology.
The fuel cell Explorer prototype is part of a series of vehicles partially funded by a contract with the United States Department of Energy. The goal of the Technology Demonstration Vehicle program is to find a pathway for a fuel alternative to petroleum that has less environmental impact than current powertrain technology.
"We believe hydrogen may become a viable motor fuel in the long-term," said Gerhard Schmidt, vice president, Research & Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Company. "With these technology demonstration vehicles, Ford continues to lead the way in the development of hydrogen technology."
Research into hydrogen, including the hydrogen fuel-cell-powered Ford Explorer, is part of Ford's overall effort to address the challenges of climate change and energy independence. Ford is moving ahead with a range of technology solutions simultaneously, including vehicles such as the Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid, hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen internal combustion engines, ethanol, clean diesel and refinements to gasoline fueled engines and advanced transmissions. Some of the technology, such as that seen in Ford's lineup of hybrid vehicles, represents near-term approaches. Other technology, including hydrogen cell, must be viewed as a long-term option.
The first vehicle to be publicly unveiled from the Ford and DoE demonstration program is the fuel-cell-powered Ford Explorer. While it comes equipped with advanced electric all-wheel-drive like the production model from which it is based, a center-mounted hydrogen storage tank now occupies the space typically used for the 6-speed automatic transmission found in production Explorer models. Locating the hydrogen storage tank in this area allowed engineers to design a larger tank and deliver a never-before-achieved 350-mile driving range for a fuel cell vehicle. This unique design maintains Explorer's six-passenger seating arrangement and the cargo capacity found in the production Ford Explorer.
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