Retired Ford employee Rick Byrnes joined the 200 mph club at Bonneville for the third time on Wednesday as he drove the Ford Hydrogen Fusion 999 to a benchmark of 207.297 mph. This marks the first time that a production bodied (sort of) fuel cell-powered vehicle has exceeded 200 mph. After more than a year of development, construction and testing and three days of running on the desert salt, the team finally met its target. Check out AutoblogGreen for more on the technology that made this water vapor emitting car crack the double century mark.
[Source: Ford] HYDROGEN FUEL CELL FUSION SETS LAND SPEED RECORD
By Kristopher Spencer, FCN
DEARBORN, Aug. 15, 2007 -- The Ford Fusion Hydrogen 999 raced to a record 207.297 miles per hour Wednesday at the famous Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, which makes the world's first and only production vehicle-based fuel cell race car the fastest as well.
After more than one year of design and development and 10 years of hydrogen vehicle research, Ford's fuel cell vehicle team battled technical difficulties and a harsh desert environment en route to joining the 200 MPH Club of Bonneville Speed Week, an annual event that attracts hundreds of racing teams.
"What we've accomplished is nothing short of an industry first," said Matt Zuehlk, lead engineer on the project. "No other automaker in the world has come close."
Zuehlk added that Ford's historic run at Bonneville is to further expand its technological horizons with fuel cell-powered vehicles, because it is a fuel that could someday play a key role in meeting the energy needs of the transportation sector. The Ford Fusion Hydrogen 999 is Ford's latest environmental innovation and is another step on the road toward commercially viable hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
The project is a partnership between Ford, The Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research, Ballard Power Systems and Roush Racing. Rick Byrnes, a veteran Bonneville racer and retired Ford Powertrain component design engineer, piloted the Hydrogen 999 at Bonneville.