Ford Reveals 'Model U' Hydrogen Hybrid Concept Car

Project collaboration with McDonough & Associates and BP.

Published: 05-Jan-2003

DETROIT, Jan. 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Building on the heritage started with the Model T, Ford's Model U concept begins Ford Motor Company's second century of innovation.

Equipped with an array of upgradable technologies and a multi-function tailgate, Model U can stick with you and adapt to your needs if your life changes.

Powered by the world's first supercharged hydrogen internal combustion engine, equipped with a hybrid electric transmission and pioneering green materials and processes, Model U is a vision for the future. It is Ford's model for change -- exploring the benefits a vehicle provides to its users, the way it is manufactured and how it impacts the world.

It is the Model T of the 21st century.

Inspired by how the Model T revolutionized personal transportation in the last century, a team of Ford researchers and designers created Model U. It is a clear expression of Ford Motor Company 's strategy to pursue future automotive technologies without compromising today's customer expectations for personal mobility. It is a car designed to be good to you and good for the world.

"When Henry Ford built the Model T, it was affordable, offered the most advanced manufacturing and was built with the most advanced materials," says Dr. Gerhard Schmidt, Ford Motor Company vice president of Research and Advanced Engineering. "In a similar but entirely contemporary way, Model U starts a new cycle. Emissions, safety and fuel economy, also green materials and processes, are all key questions facing the entire industry. We believe the Model U addresses them all."

A partnership was struck among Ford's Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford's Brand Imaging Group (an internal design think tank), Bill McDonough (architect of the new Rouge Center and co-founder, with Dr. Michael Braungart, of the product design firm MBDC), BP and a host of technology suppliers.

"Model U is very different from most futuristic concept vehicles," says J Mays, vice president of Design. "It tries to address the challenges of the future and proposes exciting, realistic solutions that exceed current industry standards. Therefore, I hope it does justice to the name 'Model for Change.'"

Model U offers SUV driving excitement that is affordable, but can grow with a customer's lifestyle and aspirations. It is designed for mass production, but has nearly infinite capacity for being personalized and upgraded. It offers advanced technologies that respond to customers' desires for convenience, entertainment and continuously improved safety. And it

looks at how building a car, truck or SUV can strengthen the environment. "What I think is so exciting about Model U is that it opens the door to a whole new way of looking at things, just like the Model T did," says McDonough. "The vision behind Model U is entirely positive. Instead of focusing on minimizing environmental harm, which is what most approaches to sustainable mobility do, Model U starts to find ways to be re-creational and regenerative -- to have fun and create environmental benefits at the same time. That's a totally new vision for the auto industry."

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