LAS VEGAS - Ford Motor Co. will use the Focus as the platform for a fuel cell vehicle that will go on sale in 2004.
Ford showed a driveable prototype of the fuel cell Focus at the Specialty Equipment Market Association show here Monday, Oct. 30.
Ford said it will put the vehicle into its fleet in the California Fuel Cell Partnership for testing.
The unveiling came the day before a grand opening ceremony for the California Fuel Cell Partnership headquarters in Sacramento, Calif., where Nissan and Volkswagen unveiled fuel cell vehicles - an Xterra for Nissan and the Bora (Jetta) HyMotion for VW.
The partnership includes eight automakers, three oil companies and the state working to test fuel cell vehicles on the road in advance of California's zero-emission vehicle mandate that takes effect in 2003.
SMALLER FUEL CELL
The Focus FCV is a step forward from Ford's first fuel cell prototype, the P2000, which was unveiled in 1998.
The P2000 had the shape of the Ford Contour and used lightweight metals such as aluminum and magnesium. But that platform was too expensive for production and the fuel cell stack would not fit, said spokesman Brendan Prebo.
The fuel cell Focus uses a smaller Ballard Power Systems fuel cell that puts out as much electricity as the larger unit in the P2000. But the compressed hydrogen storage tank and fuel cell stack take up most of the Focus' trunk.
A fuel cell uses the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to create electricity; the only byproduct is water.
Ford said the vehicle features high fuel economy and no emissions, and the smooth ride of electric vehicles without the limitations inherent to electric vehicle batteries.
The Focus FCV has an AC induction electric motor that is connected to a single-speed transaxle. The motor has peak power of about 92 hp and peak torque of about 140 pounds-feet.
A hydrogen filled, pressurized fuel tank fills most of the vehicle's trunk space. The four-door 2000 Focus FCV weighs 3,800 pounds compared with 2,564 pounds for a gasoline-powered Focus.
The Focus FCV was developed by Th!nk Technologies, which is the development arm of Th!nk Group, a Ford subsidiary. Ford has spent $420 million on fuel cell research since 1998, Prebo said.
Ford said it will deliver several fuel cell vehicles to the partnership over the next three years.
The partnership, which started in April 1999, includes automakers, energy providers, fuel cell companies and several California agencies. The partnership plans to put 50 fuel cell vehicles for testing on the road by 2003.