Ford Launches Production H2 Focus FCV-Hybrid
28 September 2004
Ford today announced the first production of its new Focus hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the Focus FCV-Hybrid. (Earlier post on production of the demo fleet.)
This differs from prior demo cars in three ways. First, it’s the most sophisticated, according to Ford. Second, it came off a production line, not out of a lab. Ford intends to crank through 30 of the Focus FCVs initially for field testing. Also being tested and refined, though, will be the manufacturing techniques.
Third, unlike an earlier version of the Focus FCV, this model is a hybrid. Rather than combining a combustion engine with an electric motor, it uses an electric motor powered by two sources. A Ballard Power Systems hydrogen fuel cell provides the primary motive power, while a Sanyo nickel metal-hydride (NiMH) battery pack and a Continental Teves Electro-Hydraulic regenerative braking system provides the additional source of electric power. Continental Teves also supplies the regenerative braking system in the Escape Hybrid SUV.
“This Focus FCV combines our hybrid expertise with advanced fuel cell technology resulting in a vehicle that combines the improved range and performance of a hybrid with the overall benefits of a fuel cell,” said Dr. Gerhard Schmidt, Ford Motor Company vice president, Research and Advanced Engineering.
Here are a few points of comparison between the two.
|Focus FCV-Hybrid||Focus FCV|
(kW and hp)
(Nm and ft-lbs)
|Curb weight (kg)||1,600||1,727|
|H2 Pressure (psi)||5,000||3,600|
|Fuel Cell Stack||Ballard Mark 902||Ballard Mark 900|
(km and miles)
There is a clear difference in the driving range. While increasing the storage pressure of the hydrogen by 40% accounts for some of that (as does reducing the weight), it is the combined addition of the hybrid electric drive that allows the FCV-Hybrid to double the driving range of its FCV cousin under the appropriate conditions.
The new Focus FCVs will be deployed in fleet trials in Orlando, Fla., Sacramento, Calif., Taylor, Mich., Berlin, Germany and Vancouver, B.C.
Ford looks like it may be getting more aggressive with its hybrid systems. (See the post above.)
Writing this Focus vehicle up as a hybrid is an attempt to capture some hype from somewhere. Fuel cell vehicles are never going to operate without a substantial battery pack. That is unless you want to wait 24 hours for your PEM fuel cell to warm up. For practical reasons all fuel cell vehicles will need nicely operating battery pakcs be it NiMH or Li-ion/polymer. So why not just call it like it is---a PEM fuel cell vehicle. Traditional ICE vehicles don't operate without a Pb-acid battery for SLI. No one makes a big deal out of that.
Posted by: Anna Crull | 28 September 2004 at 01:48 PM
Well, I think the difference they are trying to capture is primarily the addition of the regenerative braking -- which, from what I can see, is indeed absent from earlier versions of the FCV. Now, you could make the point that earlier versions were incomplete, and that really, a production FCV should be a "hybrid" in that sense, so what’s the point of making noise about it—aside from the marketing benefit short term.
I’ll take the responsibility for any inadvertant amplification of hype. :-)
Posted by: Mike | 28 September 2004 at 02:39 PM
No by using hybrid tech they upped the power while shrinking the size of the fuel cell( the one most costly part in that car) and upping the range all while lowering weight almost 200lb.
Thats a big deal and because its using the battery far more then before its no longer a fuel cell car its a hybrid.
Posted by: wintermane | 28 September 2004 at 04:16 PM
This is suppose to be a "Production" car!!!!!
Posted by: Dursun | 29 September 2004 at 01:38 PM
Yes a very very short production but still a production car;/ It means they have the tooling up that they need to mass produce the buggers but likely they dont have all the PARTS needed for mass production. Its more a test of the plant then anything else realy. Seeing how the line actauly managed to pop the buggers out and troubleshooting anything that pops up as a result. The important bit is they would ONLY do this if they do in fact plan to mass produce something based on a signifigant amount of the parts in that car in a timeline no greater then 5 years or so... so ya they are up to something.
Posted by: wintermane | 29 September 2004 at 07:23 PM
Ford is treating this like a production car, albeit one whose primary goal is learning for later programs. The fuel cell vehicle has been tested like other cars. The development of a vehicle that runs on a new technology is not trivial, whether the goal is 30 cars or 300,000. "Production" in steps allows Ford and the other vehicle manufacturers to learn along the way and incorporate those lessons into the next generation of vehicles.
The "hybrid" designation also (in addition to regenerative breaking) refers to usage of the HV battery to enhance the driving experience in several ways, most notably during hard accelerations when the fuel cell cannot react as quickly as combustion engine drivers are used to (the flow of gases in the fuel cell slows response down). The hybrid functionality allows the vehicle to accelerate more like a normal car.
I'm interested to see where it takes the industry! It's exciting and I hope to be driving one some day!
Posted by: vicky | 01 October 2004 at 05:53 PM
Posted by: blahla | 03 March 2005 at 07:33 AM
i dont like this
Posted by: brad clemence | 09 February 2008 at 04:11 PM