|The Ford Edge with HySeries Drive.|
At the Washington, D.C. Auto Show, Ford is introducing a real-world version of the new HySeries fuel cell plug-in series hybrid drive that made its debut two weeks ago in the Ford Airstream concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Earlier post.)
The HySeries Edge combines a 336V li-ion battery pack with a fuel cell range extender. When the battery state-of-charge (SOC) drops to approximately 40% (about 25 miles of all-electric range), the fuel cell begins operating to keep the battery pack charged.
|Overview of the HySeries Chassis.|
The fuel cell range extender provides another 200 miles of range for a total of 225 miles with zero emissions.
Individual experiences will vary widely and can stretch out the time between fill-ups to more than 400 miles: drivers with modest daily needs would need to refuel only rarely, drivers who travel less than 50 miles each day will see fuel economy well over 80 mpgge (miles per gallon gasoline equivalent), while those with long daily commutes will see somewhat lower numbers as the fuel cell must run a larger fraction of the time.
At full range, the HySeries Drive powertrain delivers a combined city/highway gasoline equivalent fuel economy rating of 41 mpgge. The Ford Edge with HySeries Drive holds 4.5 kg of hydrogen in a 350-bar hydrogen tank.
The Ford Edge with HySeries Drive can travel at speeds of up to 85 mph. An on-board charger (110/220 VAC) can refresh the battery pack when a standard home outlet is available.
The series-hybrid architecture allows the downsizing of the fuel cell, thereby reducing the size, weight, cost and complexity of a conventional fuel cell system by more than 50%. It also promises to more than double the lifetime of the fuel cell stack, according to Ford. (GM offered similar downsizing observations when discussing a fuel-cell application of the E-Flex architecture in the Volt, which also uses a series hybrid architecture. Earlier post.)
HySeries is a flexible powertrain architecture that will enable Ford to use new fuel and propulsion technologies as they develop without redesigning the vehicle. The HySeries Drive technology is able to operate using a fuel cell, small gasoline or diesel engine connected to an electric generator to make electricity. This flexible series-hybrid architecture is similar to the approach GM is taking with its E-Flex System. (Earlier post.)
This vehicle offers Ford the ultimate in flexibility in researching advanced propulsion technology. We could take the fuel cell power system out and replace it with a down-sized diesel, gasoline engine or any other powertrain connected to a small electric generator to make electricity like the fuel cell does now.
We wanted to take what was in a ‘gee whiz’ vehicle like the Airstream and connect it with something people are driving on the road today, something that wasn’t just a futuristic concept vehicle.—Gerhard Schmidt, vice president of research and advanced engineering for Ford Motor Company
At the announcement, Ford did note that many significant technical hurdles need to be overcome before a vehicle such as the Edge with HySeries Drive can become a reality: the stacks themselves and the hydrogen infrastructure on the fuel cell side, and the cost of the lithium-ion batteries on the plug-in side.