Ford Airstream Concept
From Ford press: Playing to win in the growing crossover segment, Ford has joined with another iconic company to showcase how it could further expand its lineup of expressive crossovers with the Ford Airstream Concept. “Crossovers are an increasingly important part of our business, and Ford is going to continue developing an expressive range of these vehicles,” says Peter Horbury, executive director – Design, The Americas.
“The Ford Airstream Concept is a futuristic look at crossovers. It’s the ultimate modern touring vehicle that delivers flexibility and capability with dynamic design that evokes the spirit of the journey.”
The concept is powered by a plug-in hydrogen hybrid fuel cell drivetrain – called HySeries Drive™ – that operates under electric power at all times. This advanced fuel cell system is half the weight and cost of today’s fuel cells and can operate in the dead of winter. That’s a major step forward because today’s fuel cells don’t do well when the mercury dips below freezing. The new HySeries Drive plug-in hydrogen fuel cell featured in the Ford Airstream Concept is more than a concept.
This powertrain is already on the road and driving in a Ford Edge prototype. Ford scientists and engineers created this vehicle with partial funding from the United States Department of Energy. The HySeries Drive delivers the combined city/highway equivalent fuel economy of 41 miles per gallon. In this application, the fuel cell’s sole function is to recharge the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery pack as needed. This allows it to work like a portable generator, instead of an engine, as had been the case in previous Ford fuel cell vehicles.
The new fuel cell, supplied by Ford partner Ballard, operates in a steady state, allowing a significantly smaller, less expensive fuel cell and drastically improving the durability of the fuel cell. With this system, the fuel cell delivers the power needed to recharge the lithium-ion batteries, rather than to be the primary power source to drive the wheels, as in a typical fuel cell-powered vehicle. In pure electric mode, the Ford Airstream Concept can travel 25 miles before the fuel cell begins operating to recharge the vehicle’s 336-volt lithium-ion battery pack. With the hydrogen-powered fuel cell, the range increases another 280 miles for a total of 305 miles.