In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Ford Motor Company has developed a hydrogen fuel cell-powered Explorer as part of the DOE-funded Technology Demonstration Vehicle Program. The program’s goal is to find viable alternative fuels that have more environmental benefits than the current powertrain technology. The fuel-cell Explorer was built for the DOE to determine the feasibility of hydrogen propulsion.
Ford’s new fuel cell-powered Explorer features a center-mounted hydrogen tank able to power the vehicle for 350 miles on a single fill-up. The hydrogen storage tank occupies the space used for the six-speed automatic transmission in the gasoline-powered Explorer. The placement of the tank in the center console allowed the design of a larger tank.
Unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 29, the six-passenger fuel cell Explorer prototype comes equipped with advanced electronic all-wheel drive like the production model. In less than a year, the hydrogen vehicle has accumulated more than 17,000 miles. In addition, the prototype set a record for a fuel-cell powered vehicle by traveling 1,556 miles in a twenty-four hour period.
“We believe hydrogen may become a viable motor fuel in the long-term,” said Gerhard Schmidt, vice president, Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Company. “With these technology demonstration vehicles, Ford continues to lead the way in the development of hydrogen technology.”