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January 14, 2007


jeff Turner

I don't get it. Please elaborate on why you say this is "hardly a credible showing." I thought you would've explained your opinion later on in the article, but no deal. All i see is an admittedly goofy design with a working example of the most likely hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain configuration. Here we have a plug-in series hybrid, a vehicle in which the power supply can be interchanged, without too much trouble, whether it be fuel cell or more practically, a little gas generator.
And they're saying they've got this thing running in a Ford Edge prototype. So its not like its uncredible in the sense that it won't work.
If this is about your doubts towards hydrogen, that's another thing, I am of the electric vehicle camp. But I still think that its too soon to abandon research into hydrogen. And if you're gonna build a hydrogen powered car, what better way than with a series hybrid? If the fuel cell doesn't work out, just simply replace the fuel cell with a fossil fuel generator, and you're still doing lots of good.
If its something else, please elaborate in the comments as to why you're not impressed by this drivetrain!


Hydrogen fueling stations pose an uninsurable risk, as well as a huge expense. Solve that issue with hydrogen first. Then tackle the cost and limited useful life of hydrogen fuel cells. Then find a cost effective way to produce hydrogen without cO2 emmissions.

I have imperfect solutions for two of these problems.

Instead of fueling hydrogen vehicles with 3000 psi "gas" pumps, use refillable cylinders. With a very high mileage plugin serial hybrid "hypercar" (Amory lovins' ultralight composite car concept)the size of the cylinder to get 200+ mile range will be small and light enough to be practically exchanged at filling stations. One can have a spare cylinder in the trunk.

Consumers will not like it though. They are used to gas pumps. And all the infrastructure for refilling the cylinders will still be very expensive. And hypercars are not on the drawing board of the auto companies, at least not yet.

Hydrogen can be produced cost effectively and cleanly from either electrolysis of water using wind electric power or splitting it off from methane derived from waste in biogas digestors. But that electricty or biogas would probably be more efficiently used in other ways.

As far as hydrogen fuel cell research, I wonder if it is even being pursued. I know solid oxide fuel cell research is being pushed hard. they run on safer, easily stored biofuel, like biodiesel.

Biodiesel can be derived from algae grown in solar collectors in a much more cost effective method than hydrogen while trapping cO2 from power generation at the same time.

Looked at from this more comprehensive analysis hydrogen fuel cell power falls short in all respects except emmissions. Water is a better byproduct than cO2.


I read an MIT Technology article a while back that stated hydrogen has several problems preventing wider market acceptance: (a) manufacture of hydrogen from water is not efficient (so it's expensive), (b) transport of the fuel is dangerous because leaks can be hard to detect, (c) vehicle storage tanks are heavy, and (d) fuelcells are still too expensive. I just laughed. Isn't this all four major catagories of use in vehicles ...and it's not ready in any one of them?
I don't understand why the interest for vehicles. People are slow to change? Series PHEVs, like the Volt, can cut gas use to 1/8 of what we use now. Pheonix has an EV with 120 mile range and is working on 250. Tesla has one with 250 due to use of composites. Seems to me that batteries are already starting to do the job. They will no doubt be better in 20 years. We could also see a future change-over of infrastructure from steel to carbon-fiber car bodies. The light weight and increased strength of composites could translate to another doubling of range.
I still support hydrogen development, but for long term energy storage battery at stationary sites. If we can get the cost of renewable electricity down far enough. If we can improve the efficiency hydrogen generation from water and get the cost of hydrogen storage down far enough.
...or we could just charge those cars during the day when the sun's out.
We could use Nuclear to generate CO2 free electricity 24/7 right now.
As has been said by others: "Hydrogen is not a fuel. Its an energy storage medium."
This Ford concept seems like a mis-allocation of resources to me. Is this an honest effort at hydrogen use or just fodder for using ICEs longer, like the EV1?

Enoch Braude

What an achievement. Spent zillions of dollars for a 41mpg contraption. No wonder Ford is in trouble.


At least they got the name right. It really does look like an Airstream Trailer.

Don Quichotte

This is the real Deal:


Yep, it looks like yet another distraction from Detroit. Not marketable, not affordable, not cool in any discernible way, ... unless you have a thing for Airstream campers or Amtrak coaches.

It makes me wonder about GM's Volt concept car, which is decidedly more attractive and marketable right out of the gate. Is it really just a PR move? Will they scuttle the Volt project or just withhold development funds and let it die on the vine? Or are they actually serious about competing in the 21st century auto market?


It looks like Ford may have the electric side of of this car design in good shape. They mentioned the fuel cell can be replaced by a diesel or ethanol run generator so it seems the auxiliary power is designed as a modular plug in. Perhaps they were satisfying some DOE or other commitment in order to qualify for a grant... we don't know. At least it runs on electric and can be powered by any type of auxiliary fuel. Maybe they are not so dumb if they have advanced their electrical design. JohnBo


Re. "hardly credible", where to start? 41mpg equivalent? Can get that now from a conventional Camry hybrid. 25 mile electric-only range? Should be triple that - look at some of the other EVs that are being planned. Hydrogen as the fuel? Compare that to the Volt which works with conventional fuels.


Ford aims to conquer the growing market demands in the crossover vehicle segment with the launch of a new concept vehicle that displays the future of crossover vehicle models. This new Ford Airstream concept features a plug-in hydrogen hybrid fuel cell system that enables the vehicle to fully operate under electric power. The vehicles’ powertrain system, called HySeries Drive is an advanced fuel cell system that is half the weight and cost of today’s fuel cells and can operate under any weather condition. The system has been developed at Ford’s research center for quite a long time.

jeff Turner

Maybe "hardly credible" wasn't the right expression. I think its very credible, they obviously didn't exaggerate mpg numbers. I think "hardly impressive" would be a better word, though i still don't think that's true. This seems to be an excellent drive train, the less impressive part is the fuel itself. There just simply isn't enough energy/litre or energy/$ in hydrogen, at least at this point (and i think it'll stay that way).
The powertrain is very impressive, in that its the first fuel cell vehicle from a major manufacturer that is not a complete waste of money on a technology that in my eye will never see mass production (the fuel cells, that is). As the last poster pointed out... if the whole hydrogen thing doesn't work out, this powertrain will be just as happy with a tiny biodiesel TDI engine or something.

So as far as hydrogen fuel cell vehicles go, this one, or at least the Ford Edge that we'll supposedly see in a week or so, is by far the best investment a company could make.


The thing I cannot work out is the fact that you will be using more of your electricity in the home, which in the UK it is very expensive and secondly to use electricity it produces green house gasses at the power station, just seems as if we are moving backwards


Many analyses by environmental activist groups show that the net CO2 emissions from the powerstation are still better for a plug-in EV than a petrol vehicle, even if the power station is burning coal. Plus you gain the option of sequestering the CO2, something you can't practically do with vehicle exhaust. Finally of course, the electric power station can eventually move to a non-emitting source.

jaime reina

I think the best of to run my car on water is help to the planet and help to enviroment, why converting your car to run on water is very proven to lower fuel costs, increase mileage and help the environment.

run your car on water

wow this car is so cool. This is such great technology.

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