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Ford shows hydrogen, driving technologies

Ford used a press event last week to discuss several new technologies, including:

  • Hydrogen-fueled engine: A four-cylinder engine fueled by hydrogen was fitted into the aluminum-bodied P2000 concept car. Two high-pressure tanks in the trunk contain enough fuel to give the car a range between 100 and 150 miles. Water vapor is the only emission.

  • Fuel-cell Focus: Scheduled to be on the road in a California demonstration fleet by 2003, the Focus sedan’s fuel cell is fed hydrogen directly from a storage tank. But questions remain over the lack of a hydrogen-refueling infrastructure.

  • Driving simulator: Ford next month will start testing the safety of telematics systems with Wingcast components in its Virttex driving simulator. Wingcast Inc., a joint venture between Ford and Qualcomm Inc., is scheduled to provide Ford with telematics systems in the 2003 model year.

    Ford wants to use its research to create an industrywide standard for telematics, said Jeff Greenberg, group leader for Virttex, which stands for virtual test track equipment.

    Results from the first Virttex study, which will involve 60 participants ranging in age from 40 to 80, are expected to be complete by year end. The tests will force drivers to make cell phone calls and adjust music selections. Ford will push subjects to the point where they no longer can drive safely at typical speeds. The goal is to determine how much drivers can handle, Greenberg said.

  • You can reach Richard Truett at rtruett@crain.com

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