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.)