Automakers Put Hydrogen Power On the Fast Track

'What you're seeing is a groundswell, not really of industry pushing as much as everybody demanding that we really get serious about these solutions', says Ford's Mary Ann Wright

Published: 09-Jan-2005

brakes are controlled by a computer, so the car can stop a full length shorter than most. Each rear wheel has its own motor and can turn by itself, which not only improves traction but also makes parallel parking a snap. And the only thing this car emits is water vapor.

But for all the exotic gizmos on the Sequel, an experimental hydrogen-powered car to be shown today by General Motors Corp., the biggest breakthrough is that it is designed to drive as far and accelerate as quickly as the cars in most driveways.

The Sequel uses fuel-cell technology that until now has not matched the overall performance of gasoline engines. GM is introducing the car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit as rival companies make similar announcements.

Passengers at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport will soon ride on buses with hydrogen-powered engines, Ford Motor Co. chief executive William Clay Ford Jr. is to announce today. Ford also is to announce plans to create three gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles for retail sale, and to rush the hybrid Mercury Mariner sport-utility vehicle to showrooms later this year -- a year ahead of schedule to capitalize on consumer interest in hybrids.

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