Peek under the hood of the Ford Fusion Hydrogen 999 where the engine should be and you will see...a tub of ice? Does this car run on water? Not quite. Ford's land speed record vehicle has a few, um, modifications. After all, it just has to be fast for seven miles. So fast that the hydrogen fuel cells powering the record attempt will melt through the full 400 lbs. of ice during the car's short spurt.
Engineers are aiming to break the 200mph barrier. The car will borrow its electric motor (770 hp) from Ohio State student engineers who created the Buckeye Bullet, land speed record holder for electric cars. Four of the Ballard fuel cells used in the Ford Focus FCV are stacked into the 999 to provide the 350kW needed to break the double century. Gerhard Schmidt, vice president, Research & Advanced Engineering for Ford Motor Company is quoted at Eureka: "Our goal in attempting this record is to further expand our technological horizons with fuel cell powered vehicles. The collaboration with Ohio State University also affords us an opportunity to work closely with a prestigious university, which provides out-of-the-box thinking from student engineers and helps us recruit talented young people to work at Ford Motor Company."
We like the noises coming out of Ford's Design and R&D; departments. A land speed record may be mostly media noise, but it comes hot on the heels of Ford's announcement of plans to bring Ford plug-in hybrid vehicles to the market. We also noted Ford's fuel cell concept car, the Airstream --love the retro airstream look, gotta move this beyond concept Ford!
With this attempt, Ford can say they are truly in a class of their own. Yep. That's because there is no precedent for setting a fuel cell land speed record. But that situation won't last long. The Buckeyes plan to put their Buckeye Bullet II into the competition for the fuel cell land speed record. Organizers at Bonneville say that if the interest grows, they will create a specific class for fuel cell powered cars. But Ford, if they succeed this week at Bonneville, will always be first.
Image compliments of Ford