Ford Motor Company Debuts Fuel Cell Prototype at SEMA

Ford to debut world's first production-prototype, direct-hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicle.

Published: 30-Oct-2000

LAS VEGAS, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) debuted the world's first production-prototype, direct-hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicle at the 2000 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show today. Based on Ford's popular Focus platform, the Focus FCV, powered by TH!NK, brings high-tech and high-volume together for the first time by combining the world's most advanced powertrain with the world's best selling passenger car.

The Ford Focus FCV showcases the company's continuing effort toward production of full performance fuel cell vehicles. Ford is committed to offering fuel cell vehicles to customers by 2004.

"Although we're working very hard to demonstrate the technical capability of fuel cells, we're still a long way from having fuel cells that will compete with internal combustions vehicles," said John Wallace, executive director of Ford's TH!NK Group. "Ford plans to lead in the development of fuel cells, but there are still enormous hurdles that must be overcome in reducing cost, improving reliability and fuel availability."

The Ford Focus FCV combines environmentally friendly, fuel cell technology with customer appeal. It features high-fuel economy, zero emissions and the smooth, seamless ride characteristic of electric vehicles without the limitations inherent in electric vehicle batteries.

The Focus FCV was developed by TH!NK Technologies and will be co-branded with the "Powered by TH!NK" logo.

TH!NK Technologies is the research and development arm of TH!NK Group, an enterprise of Ford Motor Company. TH!NK Technologies concentrates on fuel cell and other advanced electric power sources for all of the brands under the Ford Motor Company trustmark.

Ford Motor Company will deliver the Focus FCV to the California Fuel Cell Partnership this week for use in demonstrating the capabilities of fuel cell vehicles. The vehicle will be based at the partnership's headquarters in Sacramento, California.

Ford plans to deliver several additional fuel cell vehicles to the project over the next three years. The partnership, which started in April 1999, includes auto manufacturers, energy providers, fuel cell companies, and California state agencies. It plans to put up to 50 fuel cell vehicles on the road between 2000 and 2003. In addition to testing the fuel cell vehicles, the partnership will also identify fuel infrastructure issues and prepare the California market for this new technology.

"Fuel cells are a high-risk and high reward technology," said Wallace. "We're developing this technology because it is the only one that has a chance of replacing the internal combustion engine."

The Ford Focus FCV is the second direct-hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicle from Ford. The company introduced its first fuel cell vehicle -- the P2000 HFC -- at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 1998.

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