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Ford Focus FCV - click above for high-res image gallery

For the past four years Ford has been running a fleet of 30 fuel cell-powered Focus sedans in several locations throughout the United States and Canada in a program partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Those cars have accumulated more than half a million miles over that time. Testing of those cars is still ongoing, but some of the cars have recently been redeployed.

The next phase of testing begins this month in Iceland as 10 of Focuses have been shifted to the North Atlantic nation for further evaluation. Iceland has long been interested in taking advantage of hydrogen through its vast geothermal and water resources. Shell Hydrogen has been running a commercial filling station in the capital of Reykjavik for over 6 years.

The new Icelandic arrivals will be leased out to to companies in Reykjavik to use for general transportation purposes for their employees. Thanks to Roy and Egill for the tips!


[Source: NewEnergy.IS]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      harlanx6
      • 5 Years Ago
      You all know when the DOE funding dries up, Ford will write em off! No way they can be produced to make a profit without massive taxpayer subsidy!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Kind of like what the National Research Council said recently about batteries. Subsidies will be needed for virtually any new advanced technology, just like it has been with hybrids.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        http://www.fuelcellinsider.org/2009/12/we-should-double-down-on-hydrogen/

        "And best of all from the taxpayers’ perspective, government funding is a small fraction – no more than 20% — of what the auto industry itself has invested. And the total invested in hydrogen over the past 20 years is less than we are spending on batteries this year alone. "
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh yes! I "love" that neverending testing stuff. Hydrogen fool cells have been testing from more than 43 years now! ( http://www.hydrogencarsnow.com/gm-electrovan.htm )
        • 5 Years Ago
        ...and BEVs have been on the drawing board for how long? Since the 19th century?

        Sebastian,

        If you're going to write about giving "range anxiety" a rest, how about a post about people who don't understand the difficulty in bringing a disruptive technology to market? This complaint about FCVs being "promised since xx" is just as annoying.
        • 5 Years Ago
        letstakeawalk: There is a big difference. BEVs have been on the market since the 19th century.
        Learn the basics before posting or go away and take a walk.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Im still interrested to buy one of these car at 15 000$ with a small home hydrogen producing machine. I do not intend to drive on batteries after slow recharging them for 12 hours and driving 20 minutes in winter.

      If gm, ford, toyota, freithliner, boeing, caterpillar don't sell hydrogen gadjetry this month, then the chineses, india, zimbaway, madagascar, malaisia, mexico, canada, perou will take the market. This technology is cheaper and there is 10x less money to do with it.
      First no petrol and the hydrogen is almost just a free convenience to atract people in grocery stores, so 7x less money to do. Then the fuel cell is just a box of sheet metals without any differences between manufacturers except the power output and every one not just car manufacturers is able to build somes, contrary to ice-transmission-gear differentials combo that only car manufactrers are able to build because it's complicated, notorious, different between manufacturers and are sold at a premium, especially porsche and ferrari in the luxurious market and gm and tata in the economy cheap market.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It don't take that long because the hydrogen is already contained in water, but i'll say approx one hour. If you want to fuel the neighborood, then connect your personnal home
        hydrogen machine to a big tank and fuel 5-6 cars a day. As hydrogen gas return approx 70 mpg or mile per kilo, then you fuel your car once every two weeks. It add-up to almost free fuel without pollution and almost free.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Gorr. How long will it take you to make hydrogen on your "small home hydrogen producing machine"? How many kg's per hour?
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Focus FCV looks very dated, I wonder if Ford is going to update it?
        • 5 Years Ago
        @letstakeawalk
        The US version Focus has actually gone through 2 styling refreshes already, even though it still rides on the original platform. The Focus FCV is still using the styling of the original Focus that launched in 1999. They should probably update the FCV when the new 2011 Focus launches.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The FCV Focus has been around for a number of years. Their main focus (no pun intended) is to test the technology behind the drive train. It makes very little sense to be "updating" the body, which would probably involve retooling of the drive train. If this vehicle ever goes into production then I would expect the rest of the car to be updated. Until then, it would be a complete waste of money.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well this is going to be used as a press car too, so having updated styling makes sense. The main reason why Honda gets more PR for their hydrogen car is because the Clarity looks modern.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, I talked recently to one of the guys in Iceland who's managing this fleet and it sounds like Ford's interested in doing some serious endurance testing--to push the technology to its limit to see what it can take before they make the next version. You're right, the body style isn't important. It's how what's under the hood performs.
        • 5 Years Ago
        it's a powertrain mule, what the hell difference does the body style make?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jake,

        Having Jamie Lee Curtis, Laura Harris, and Ron Yerxa each driving a Honda Clarity doesn't hurt, either. ;p
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nrb is correct. This test car has been around a while, and styling changes are the least of Ford's concerns.

        Jake

        I'm sorry, I thought you might be one of the non-US readers who were familiar with the more current Focus line sold overseas. They haven't seen this body on a Focus since 2004 - but I'll grant that Ford of US has been kind enough to "refresh" the car with new head and tail lamps, as well as some new chrome. 99% of the US public probably couldn't tell the difference...
        • 5 Years Ago
        The US version of the Focus is still wearing this body style. Yes, it is a sad situation...
      • 5 Years Ago
      LOL bumpers
      • 5 Years Ago
      "More than a half million miles" may sound impressive, until you realize that it took 30 vehicles and 4 years to do it. That means those Focus FCVs are averaging about 17,000 miles each, just over 4,000 miles a year. But that's not surprising, being tied to a handful of refueling depots severely limits driving range - no road trips, unless they bring along a refueling truck!

      I suspect the move to Iceland is because Shell doesn't have nearly enough customers for their H2 station. The size of Iceland is well suited for BEVs, many could drive clear around the island with their available range, and there is no real advantage to the higher cost of H2FCVs and 1/3 energy efficiency inherent in the H2 setup there.

      Oh, but Iceland got bamboozled by the Hydrogen Hype.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Chris, you are eliding the far greater range of fuel cell vehicles.
        To get around Iceland you would need perhaps three hydrogen fuel pumps.
        To get around Iceland in a battery vehicle in the winter, should you be daft enough to try, you would need a recharge station perhaps every 50 miles, and you would still be running a risk if anything went wrong of being stranded without heating.
        You seem somewhat hazy on the geography of Iceland, which you so confidently pronounce transport solutions for.
        If you look at the south side of the Island, you will see very long stretches with very little habitation at all.
        So the logistics of providing the recharge points would not be as simple as you suggest, leaving aside the very real chance of freezing to death if you got it wrong.
        Sorry, but no one technology will cover everything.
        A plug in huybrid is fine, as long as you have an infinite oil well available to continue to provide gasoline for the ICE part of the car, which under the scenario you depict is doing all the real work.
        Fortunately Iceland does have an 'infinite' supply of geothermal power, which can readily be converted into hydrogen, either to use directly or for conversion to liquid fuels which could power other types of fuel cell.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So I got some bum info on the roads of Iceland (and it appears that snaezi and David Martin don't quite agree on the miles, either).

        Ah, but it looks like that "ring road" far exceeds the range of any H2FCVs as well, so they can't venture far from Reykjavik where the H2 stations are. But I do believe that electrical power is available all the way around the island, so an EV could make it with a few stops for charging, and a plug-in hybrid could make it with 1 or 2 stops for fuel.
        • 5 Years Ago
        'Many could drivce clear around the island with their available range.'

        Really?

        'the Ring Road (Icelandic: Þjóðvegur 1 or Hringvegur) is a main road in Iceland that runs around the island and connects all inhabited parts (the interior of the island is uninhabited). The road is 1,337 km long (830 miles).'

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iceland

        The range of BEVs must have considerably improved since I last checked!

        In addition the performance of most batteries declines considerably in the cold, and heating needs would be large.
        Runnig out of power somewhere on the Icelandic ring road is not an appealing thought, and neither is it an experience likely to be repeated.

        The reason Iceland is being looked at for early introduction of fuel cell cars is a simple one.
        It has access to plenty of cheap power in the form of geothermal generation.

        The objections to using fuel cells are economic, due to the present cost of fuel cells and the lower efficiency of hydrogen production vis a vis electricity for batteries.

        Cost aside, fuel cells are undoubtedly better for many applications than batteries.

        Although many here dismiss out of hand the information that we get from the manufacturers such as Mercedes that the cost of the platignum etc in a fuel cell is going to drop to about the same as that in an ICE car, should this if fact happen then the remaining objection is to the cost of hydrogen production and infrastructure.

        For production at least Iceland is well placed to producee the hydrogen cheaply enough.

        Incidentally, at a later time I will post on the possibilities of producing hydrogen at reasonable cost more widely.
        For instance China is building mass-producible pebble bed reactors, which are high temperature and can use the process heat to release hydrogen in a far more thermically efficient manner than electrolysis.

        No one technology is going to provide for all our transportation needs, and outside of Reykjavik it would not only be foolish to rely on battery cars, but suicidal.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Chris M:
        "I suspect the move to Iceland is because Shell doesn't have nearly enough customers for their H2 station."
        -Iceland has enough customers.... Iceland has the largest fleet of hydrogen vehicles in Europe. And this has nothing to do with Shell hydrogen, they come nowhere close to this deal/concept, believe me, i work for one of the companies involved in this process.

        "The size of Iceland is well suited for BEVs, many could drive clear around the island with their available range, "
        -This is NOT true, currently there is NO BEV that can drive around Iceland, and there never will be, the circle around Iceland is 2000km, NO BEV will EVER cover that.
        if there is any technology that will be dominant in the next years in Iceland, it will be FC vehicles. Due to the climate, and low average temperature, which affects battery performance (as you should know)
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Fuel Cell adds Nothing to the Electric-Hybrid except Cost.
      Plus, with an added bonus of Less Efficiency.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Thanks for the link to ABG's previous Focus FCV.

      Do we know what upgrades Ford has done to the current generation of test vehicles?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hi,

      It would be a much better test if Ford also sent 10 Focus BEV's to Iceland to be tested along side of the hydrogen-powered serial hybrids mentioned in this article. Then, a direct comparison could be done, to see which is the most efficient.

      Sincerely, Neil
        • 5 Years Ago
        Missing the point. This isn't about choosing one technology over the other. It's about elevating the capability of all technologies so that we have multiple ways of designing emission-free vehicles. It's too early to choose one technology over the other and realistically, you're more likely to see a combination of these technologies on board a vehicle than just one. You can just design a better vehicle that way.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hi Patrick,

        I think that challenging one technology by pitting it against another is the best way to improve both -- or figure out that one is not worth pursuing. Why work in isolation, when comparisons and intermingling of ideas is when breakthroughs occur.

        Iceland is a unique place with unique resources. I'm guessing that both hydrogen and battery powered electric cars will have advantages and disadvantages, and this is the only way to see which basket we want to put our eggs into.

        Sincerely, Neil
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hydrogen powered fuel cell cars are really just EV's with a hydrogen powered range extender. The functional difference is what form you store your (electrical) energy in: hydrogen or batteries.

        Since it takes 3-4X as much energy to make and compress hydrogen than it does to charge the batteries, and about 4kg of hydrogen takes the Honda FCX Clarity about 240 miles. The Tesla has a similar range on ~$5 worth of electricity. (The battery is 53kWh total; I don't know what the practical output is -- maybe ~32kWh?) How much energy to make a kilogram of hydrogen? About 32.9kWh: http://www.hydrogenassociation.org/general/faqs.asp#energyused So the 4kg of hydrogen in the Clarity = 131.6kWh = a LOT more than the Tesla.

        But wait there's more! After you compress the hydrogen to 7,000PSI (kind of "medium" pressure, I think), it takes 60kWh/kg. So, the Clarity actually uses the equivalent of 240kWh of electricity = a WHOLE LOT more than the Tesla.

        Clarity = ~1kWh / mile
        Tesla = 128wH / mile plug-to-wheel

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_Roadster#Energy_efficiency

        Why would it be good to use hydrogen as the energy storage medium, when batteries are about 8X better?

        Sincerely, Neil
        • 5 Years Ago
        "...this is the only way to see which basket we want to put our eggs into."

        You're missing Patrick's - and the entire auto industry's - point. We don't want to put all of our eggs in one basket. It's a basic point of energy independence - not having just one single energy infrastructure. Anyway, the info-sharing is still going on within Ford, and among the different auto consortiums dedicated to improving ALL EVs.

        Lots of eggs to go in the different baskets that work best for the different egg's specific needs.
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