11/05/2002 – Ford Tests Fuel Cell Vehicles, Hybrids And Other Future Technologies

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Source: Ford Motor Company


The Ford Focus FCV is our most advanced environmental vehicle ever and gives clear demonstration of future direction. There are still many hurdles before us, but we do believe fuel cells are a technology with the potential someday to replace the internal combustion engine, without compromising the performance and functionality customers expect in a vehicle.Dr. Gerhard Schmidt, Vice President Research, Ford Motor Company

  • Ford is developing Fuel Cell vehicles that use hydrogen to generate emissions-free power.
  • The Ford Escape Hybrid, to be introduced in late 2003, will use a combination electric and gasoline-powered drive system that nearly doubles fuel economy in city driving compared with conventional SUVs.
  • Ford is the industry leader in alternative fuel vehicles, which run on low-emissions propane or liquefied natural gas.
  • Ford Motor Company is committed to improving fuel economy in its industry-leading lineup of sport utilities by 25 percent, while bringing advanced powertrain technologies to market as soon as possible, in practical, high-volume applications.

Ford was the first to announce plans for a hybrid electric-powered SUV. When the Ford Escape Hybrid goes into production in late 2003, it not only will be the most fuel-efficient SUV on the market, and the most practical hybrid vehicle ever built. The Escape Hybrid will deliver nearly 40 miles per gallon (less than 6L/100km) in city driving.

It will achieve certification under California’s Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) and Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) emissions standards. It will meet Stage IV emissions rules in Europe before they take effect in 2004.

Ford also is applying hybrid technology to fuel cell vehicles, with its new Focus Fuel Cell Vehicle. The Focus FCV is expected to achieve a 160-200 mile (250-320 kms) operating range a significant improvement on previous fuel cell vehicles, which typically achieved a maximum range of 100 miles or less. The Focus FCV’s performance is comparable with that of a more conventional vehicle.

Ford also offers a full range of vehicles powered by fuels other than gasoline, including natural gas, propane, ethanol, electricity and diesel. Ford sells more of these alternative fuel vehicles than all other manufacturers combined.

Escape Hybrid

The Ford Escape Hybrid is designed to provide the same acceleration and functionality as its 200-horsepower V-6 cousin, using a combination of a fuel-efficient Atkinson cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor. Overall fuel economy is nearly double that of the V-6 Escape.

In traditional vehicles, energy used to accelerate the car is lost as heat when the driver applies the brakes. The Escape Hybrid is engineered to recover a substantial portion of what would otherwise be lost energy and store it temporarily for use while accelerating again. The vehicle’s advanced braking technology is the subject of 51 patent disclosures.

Core to the Escape Hybrid’s drivetrain is its hybrid transaxle. Packaged as a single unit, it houses a 65-kw permanent-magnet electric motor, a 28-kw generator, an electronic controller and a planetary gear set that directs power among the engine, electric motor, generator and the drive wheels. The vehicle can run on the gasoline engine, the electric motor or both depending on the driving situation. When the driver calls for maximum acceleration, the gasoline engine and the electric motor team in parallel, providing the performance of a powerful V-6 engine.

A 300-volt nickel-metal-hydride battery pack is located beneath the rear load floor. Since the battery is charged while braking and cruising, the Escape Hybrid does not need to be plugged-in like battery-electric vehicles.

The electric motor can be used to start the gasoline engine in less than 0.2 seconds. This allows the vehicle’s electronics to automatically shut down the engine while it is coasting or stopped, saving the fuel that would otherwise be lost while idling.


No mechanical linkage will connect the accelerator pedal to the engine’s throttle, using an electronic drive-by-wire system that provides power on demand.

Electronic throttle control (ETC) is among several new technologies Ford will introduce as standard equipment on the 2004 Explorer to help increase its fuel economy by about 5 percent while also reducing emissions.

This type of system is already available on the 2003 Lincoln LS and Ford Thunderbird. It will be available on the ’04 Ford Explorer, the 4.0-liter V-6 and the 4.6-liter V-8 one of the first applications in the auto industry of a torque-based, intelligent ETC with a gasoline engine.

A number of other technologies to be introduced on the ’04 Explorer improve fuel economy by reducing friction and parasitic energy loss. These technologies include coated pistons, a torque converter upgrade, electronic returnless fuel system, low rolling resistance tires, synthetic rear axle lube and advanced exhaust gas return (EGR) system.

Fuel-cell vehicles

Ford will advance the practical application of fuel cell technology with its new zero-emissions Ford Focus Fuel Cell Vehicle the company’s most advanced environmental vehicle ever which combines the latest hybrid electric vehicle technology and leading edge fuel cell development with the world’s best-selling passenger car.

The Focus FCV is the motor industry’s first hybridized fuel cell vehicle, bringing together the improved range and performance of hybrid technology with the overall benefits of a fuel cell. During its test program, the Focus FCV is expected to demonstrate a 160-200 mile (250-320 kms) operating range a significant improvement on previous fuel cell vehicles (which typically achieved a maximum range of 100 miles or less). The Focus FCV’s performance levels compare with a more conventional saloon and its top speed is governed at 80 mph.

The Ford Focus FCV is the second direct-hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicle from Ford. The company introduced its first fuel cell vehicle the P2000 HFC in January 1998.

Ford Motor Company has entered into collaboration with DaimlerChrysler and Ballard Power Systems of Vancouver, Canada, to form the Fuel Cell Alliance for advanced fuel cell development.

Alternative-fuel vehicles

Ford Motor Company first began offering propane-powered trucks in 1964 and was the first auto maker to offer its propane trucks with the same limited warranty as gasoline-powered versions. Ford now has a propane-powered vehicle option for nearly every commercial truck application.

In 1993, Ford introduced the flexible fuel Taurus, followed by bi-fuel vehicles in 1994. Since that time, Ford has been the leader in the alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) market, producing more AFVs than all other manufacturers combined. Ford offers products that operate on natural gas, propane, ethanol or combinations of alternative fuels and gasoline.

Bi-fuel vehicles, which have the capacity to run on either an alternative fuel or gasoline, offer customers the best of both worlds by combining the clean-burning characteristics of alternative fuels with the range and convenience of gasoline.

Since 1996, the federal government has purchased or leased more than 4,000 bi-fuel natural gas or propane vehicles from Ford. The use of alternative fuel vehicles by federal agencies is expected to grow significantly during the next five years.

For the 2002 model year, Ford began offering a dedicated natural gas version of the popular E-450 Cutaway Econoline van. The E-450 Cutaway is a conventional short-chassis-cab van produced without a back panel for custom commercial applications. Popular uses for E-450 Cutaways include airport shuttles and parcel delivery vehicles.

Other 2002 offerings include dedicated natural gas versions of the Ford Crown Victoria, F-Series pickup and Econoline Cargo Vans and Club Wagons; bi-fuel natural gas and propane Ford F-Series pickups; and flexible fuel versions of the Ford Explorer, Ranger and Taurus, and Mercury Mountaineer and Sable. Flexible fuel vehicles operate on ethanol, gasoline or any combination of the two fuels in the same tank.

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