Ford Motor Co. has unveiled what it is claims is the world’s first operable fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle with plug-in capability. The new prototype Ford Edge model is based on HySeries Drive powertrain technology which features an onboard hydrogen fuel cell together with a lithium-ion fuel cell.
The company stated that the HySeries Drive was a "real-world" version of that envisioned for the Ford Airstream concept vehicle, details of which were released earlier this month – a move designed to make the technology more accessible to the average driver.
Ford’s Vice President of Research and Advanced Engineering, Gerhard Schmidt, stated, "We wanted to take what was in a 'gee wiz' 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."
Ford claims that the Edge model can reach 85 mph using the HySeries Drive, with a fuel economy rating of 41 mpg. Although drivable, the car has been designed primarily for research purposes, the company added, with the need to overcome "many significant technical hurdles" preventing full-scale commercial availability. Factors such as the lack of hydrogen fuel infrastructure and the high cost of fuel cell technology were cited as current concerns.