Ford attempting land speed record with Fusion Hydrogen 999 Racer

click above image for more high-res pics of Ford Fusion Hydrogen 999 Racer

Ford thinks it's time to make hydrogen sexy. Capitalizing on its 10 years of hydrogen research expertise, the automaker is headed to the Bonneville Salt Flats in August to go for a few world land speed records with a hydrogen fuel cell-powered Ford Fusion. Actually, there will be two vehicles going to Bonneville. The Ford Fusion Hydrogen 999 pictured above is a collaboration with Ballard, Roush and Ohio State University. It features a 770-hp electric motor and is going after the production-based fuel cell-powered vehicle title. We're not sure what the current record is (ha ha, current), or if one even exists, but with 770 hp, we're guessing this Fusion should be good for some serious speed.

The second car is a bit more radical. Ford is working with student engineers from Ohio State University on the Buckeye Bullet 2. This one is a fuel cell-powered racer that will compete in the unlimited class. The "2" in the name should be a tip-off that these guys have tried this before. In 2004, the BB1 ran 315 mph and set the unlimited land speed record for an electric vehicle.

Full press release after the jump.

[Source: Ford]


  • Ford to attempt land speed record for production-based fuel cell powered vehicle at Bonneville with the Ford Fusion Hydrogen 999.
  • Ford, Ohio State University, Ballard and Roush are collaborating to build and engineer the hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrains.
  • Ohio State University will attempt to set the land speed record for unlimited class fuel cell powered vehicle with the Buckeye Bullet 2.

DEARBORN, Mich., July 10 – Ford Motor Company will take its 10 years of hydrogen research expertise to the Bonneville Salt Flats in August in an attempt to set the world land speed record in a hydrogen fuel cell powered Ford Fusion.

The Ford Fusion Hydrogen 999 fuel cell car – a collaboratively engineered racer with Ballard, Roush and Ohio State University – is one of two vehicles Ford's fuel cell research team is helping prepare to set world land speed records. Ford researchers also are working with Ohio State University student engineers on its Buckeye Bullet 2, a fuel cell-powered racer that will compete for a similar world record in the unlimited class category.

"Racing is part of Ford Motor Company's DNA so it seemed only natural for us to build a fuel cell race car that runs on hydrogen, a fuel that could someday play a key role in meeting the energy needs of the transportation sector," said Gerhard Schmidt, vice president, Research & Advanced Engineering for Ford Motor Company. "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."

The land speed record attempt will take place during Bonneville Speed Week from Aug. 10-17. The attempt will be sanctioned by the Southern California Timing Association®.

The Ford Fusion Hydrogen 999 land speed record vehicle was designed by Ford engineers and fabricated and built by Roush in Allen Park, Michigan. Ohio State students are providing the design of the 770 hp electric motor, while Ballard is supplying the hydrogen fuel cells. Ford retiree Rick Byrnes, a veteran Bonneville racer, will pilot the Ford Fusion Hydrogen 999 car on its record attempt.

Ohio State students have designed their unlimited class vehicle, dubbed Buckeye Bullet 2, from the ground up. Ballard donated the hydrogen fuel cells for Ohio State's car, Roush its engineering services and Ford has provided overall project coordination and expertise in fuel cell drivetrains.

In 2004, Ohio State students set the unlimited land speed record for an electric vehicle by running 315 mph in the first Buckeye Bullet, dubbed BB1.

Hydrogen Part of a Broader Effort
Ford's strategy for alternative fuels is built around multiple technologies, including hydrogen fuel cells. This flexible approach allows the company to meet goals for customer needs, environmental impact and shareholder interests. The strategy does not focus on one catch-all solution but includes a flexible array of options, including hybrids, E85 ethanol, clean diesels, bio-diesels, advanced engine and transmission technologies and hydrogen fuel cells.

The company already has a fleet of 30 hydrogen powered Focus fuel cell vehicles on the road as part of a worldwide, seven-city program to conduct real world testing of fuel cell technology. The 30-car fleet has accumulated more than 540,000 miles since its inception in 2005.

Ford also is conducting tests with the world's first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the Ford Edge with HySeries Drive. The Ford Edge with HySeries Drive uses a series electric drivetrain with an onboard hydrogen fuel cell generator to give the vehicle a range of 225 miles with zero emissions.

Currently, Ford offers gasoline-electric hybrids including the Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid. The company will also offer hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan in 2008.

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