Ford's Hydrogen 999 racer shooting for fuel cell land speed record

Remember that Ford Fusion land speed record we told you about in May? Ford has finally released more information about its plans to head out to Bonneville with a specially-designed Ford Fusion, the Hydrogen 999, to try and break the record for an production-based fuel cell powered vehicle. Ohio State University currently holds the unlimited land speed record for an electric vehicle when the school team managed to go 315 mph in the first Buckeye Bullet, the BB1. OSU will head out to the Salt Flats with Ford in the new BB2 for another go.

OSU, Ballard and Roush are working with Ford on the Hydrogen 999, with OSU supplying the 770 hp electric motors and Ballard Power Systems the fuel cells. The driver in the record attempt will be Ford retiree Rick Byrnes, a veteran Bonneville racer.

We'll be watching the news between now and August 10 (when the teams head out to Bonneville) for more updates. You can read Ford's announcement 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 cellelectric 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.

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 260,000 employees and about 100 plants worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit

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