Ford HySeries Drive Powers Airstream Plug-in HybridConcept Vehicle
The new HySeries Drive(tm) powertrain featured in the Ford Airstream Concept is a battery-powered, plug-in hybrid with a hydrogen fuel cell that operates as an on-board charger. The HySeries Drive powertrain delivers a combined city/highway gasoline equivalent fuel economy rating of 41 mpg.
A version of this innovative powertrain already is on the road in a Ford Edge prototype created by scientists and engineers at Ford’s Research & Innovation Center in Dearborn, Mich. The vehicle will be shown for the first time at the Washington, D.C., Auto Show on Jan. 23.
The plug-in hybrid is powered by a 336-volt lithium-ion battery pack at all times and has a range of 25 miles on a full electric charge. With the hydrogen-powered fuel cell, the range increases another 280 miles for a total of 305 miles.
The Ford Airstream Concept 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, making the concept a true plug-in hybrid.
When the battery pack is depleted to approximately 40 percent, the hydrogen fuel cell – supplied by Ford partner Ballard – automatically turns on and begins generating electricity to recharge the batteries. Like a conventional automobile, the concept will go until it runs out of fuel – in this case via a 350-bar hydrogen tank that supplies 4.5 kg of useable hydrogen.
The HySeries Drive name is derived from the powetrain’s structure: a hydrogen fuel-cell-powered series hybrid drivetrain. This highly innovative approach reduces the size, weight, cost and complexity of a conventional fuel cell system by more than 50 percent. It also promises to more than double the lifetime of the fuel cell stack.
The architecture could provide a more likely path toward commercialization of fuel-cell-powered vehicles than earlier parallel hybrid fuel cell systems. In a parallel hybrid system, electricity from the fuel cell directly powers the vehicle, rather than recharging the batteries.
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