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Old 06-09-2003, 07:20   #1 (permalink)
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Ford to put fuel cell-powered Focuses into fleets early next year

By HARRY STOFFER | Automotive News

Ford Motor Co. will place its first fuel cell-powered cars into commercial operation early next year.
Five hydrogen-powered Focuses will be used by fleet operators in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, for up to three years, the company says. Fleet users haven't been chosen for the project, which a Ford spokesman says will cost about $3.5 million.

Ford and its partners in the effort say the goals are to test the evolving technology, educate the public about fuel cells and find out how drivers and fleet operators react to fuel cell power and hydrogen refueling. Other organizers are Natural Resources Canada, a government agency, and Fuel Cells Canada, an industry association.

Vancouver is home to Ballard Power Systems Inc., which produces Ford's fuel cell stacks. Ford owns 19.1 percent of Ballard.

Ford joins a growing list of companies that are subjecting limited numbers of fuel cell-powered vehicles to real-world operating conditions in North America. While the programs are small, they could be crucial steps toward determining whether hydrogen fuel cells are the automotive powerplants of the not-too-distant future, as many in the industry hope.

Fuel cells combine hydrogen from a fuel source with oxygen from the air to produce electricity, with only water vapor as a byproduct. So, if hydrogen can be obtained without creating pollution, fuel cells largely would take motor vehicles out of the environmental equation, industry executives and engineers say.

Ford's official announcement of its Vancouver program was scheduled to be made Sunday, June 8.

Company CEO Bill Ford hinted at it when he appeared Wednesday, June 4, at a Ford centennial celebration at Mount Vernon estate.

He recited what he says are the company's big environmental achievements and undertakings - in part to counter an advertising campaign against Ford by environmental group Sierra Club, timed to coincide with the centennial.

Ford also told about 200 company employees, retirees and dealers from the mid-Atlantic region that despite difficult economic conditions in all major global markets, the company's five-year revitalization plan is on track.

Ford later visited members of Congress and at least one Bush administration official, whom company officials declined to identify.
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Old 06-09-2003, 07:26   #2 (permalink)
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FORD FUEL CELL FLEET TO BE TESTED ON VANCOUVER STREETS

In a first-ever long-term real-world test of fuel cell vehicles, Ford Motor Company, Natural Resources Canada and Fuel Cells Canada today announced plans to place a fleet of hydrogen-powered Ford Focus fuel cell vehicles on the streets of Vancouver early next year.

The vehicles are part of a three-year collaborative development program designed to give select evaluation partners an opportunity to test fuel cell vehicles in real world applications. The goals of the program include technology testing, driver acceptance evaluation, evaluating comfort with hydrogen fueling and educating the public on the benefits of and challenges posed by the introduction of fuel cell vehicles.

"Testing fuel cell vehicles in everyday conditions and applications is a critical step in moving the industry toward commercialization," said Mike Schwarz, director of Sustainable Mobility Technologies, the group at Ford Motor Company responsible for research and development of fuel cell products. "Projects like this will provide the data we need to engineer improved performance, reliability and durability of fuel cell vehicles and prepare the market for wide spread commercialization."

The vehicles in this program will be a hybrid-electric fuel cell version of the Ford Focus, utilizing a Canadian-made Ballard fuel cell engine and a Dynetek compressed hydrogen storage tank. The Focus Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) employs a regenerative braking system to capture energy lost through braking and improve overall efficiency and range and an advanced nickel metal-hydride battery for electrical energy storage.

"The technology is exciting, but it is still a long road to mass market consumption," said Alain Batty, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited. "We know demonstration programs such as this accelerate the process, and so we commend NRCan and the government of Canada for their support and future-oriented vision," Batty added.

"Hydrogen fuel cells are key to effectively addressing climate change," said Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Natural Resources Canada. "Today's announcement is an important step in moving towards the wide-spread use of this technology and demonstrates that Canada is a leader in this area."

A total of five vehicles will be involved in the Vancouver program. Ford and Fuel Cells Canada will select which fleets will utilize and evaluate the Focus Fuel Cell Vehicle – but it likely is to be fleets which operate locally and remain close to refueling and service facilities, such as delivery services.

"Given the leading capabilities of the Canadian fuel cell and hydrogen industry and the important role the government of Canada has played in working with Ballard Power Systems and Ford to introduce and develop fuel cell engines as an advanced powertrain option for high-efficiency vehicles – it’s fitting that one of the key fleets be placed in an important Canadian market like Vancouver," said Dr. Ron Britton, President, Fuel Cells Canada.

The vehicles will go into service in Vancouver in early 2004 for up to three years. Natural Resources Canada, through the Canadian Transportation Fuel Cell Alliance initiative, will work with Fuel Cells Canada to provide a network of hydrogen fueling stations in Vancouver.

Fuel Cells Canada will collaborate with the National Research Council Canada to provide secure space within its Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation to serve as home base and garage facility for the vehicles. Fuel Cells Canada will equip the repair facility and staff it. Ford will provide a 1-800 technical assistance hotline available to on-site technicians for service and repair concerns.

The Ford Focus FCV produces zero emissions (if the hydrogen is created using renewable resources), and uses a Ballard fuel cell engine that converts chemical energy into electrical energy using hydrogen and oxygen. The electrical energy then powers the vehicle’s electric-drive motor, producing only water and heat as by-products. Fuel-cell technology is projected to provide up to two times the fuel economy of gasoline and diesel engines.

Besides Vancouver, Ford is also working on projects that would place Focus FCV fleets into service in other markets. In addition to fleet placements, Ford participates on on-going activities to educate people on fuel cell vehicles and demonstrate the technology. The Ford fuel cell team recently completed the California Fuel Cell Partnership Road Rally, a 640 kilometre (400-mile) trek from Sacramento to Los Angeles. The team is currently on a three-week tour across Canada, with major stops in Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Victoria and Vancouver, in collaboration with Natural Resources Canada, Ballard Power Systems Inc., Dynetek Industries Ltd., Stuart Energy Systems and Fuel Cells Canada.

The Vancouver Fuel Cell Vehicle Project is a collaborative vehicle deployment and evaluation activity involving a consortium made up of Ford, Fuel Cells Canada, Natural Resources Canada, the National Research Council of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, as well as Environment Canada, and Transport Canada. Funding for this project will come from NRCan, Ford Motor Company, the National Research Council, the Government of B.C and other participants. Fuel Cells Canada will manage the project on behalf of the partners.

Fuel Cells Canada is a non-profit national industry association, headquartered in the National Research Council’s Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation in Vancouver.

FCC has over 50 members representing all industry stakeholders with a mission to accelerate the development of Canada’s world-leading fuel cell and hydrogen industries.

Ford Motor Company is the world’s second largest automaker, with approximately 335,000 employees in 200 markets on six continents. With world headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, Ford will officially observe its 100th anniversary on June 16, 2003. Additional information can be found on the company’s web site at www.ford.com.

Ford of Canada's operations include a national headquarters, six regional offices, six vehicle assembly and engine manufacturing plants, two parts distribution centres, and affiliates including Ford Credit, Jaguar, Volvo, Land Rover and Hertz. Ford employs more than 16,000 people, while an additional 21,000 are employed in 500 Ford and Ford-Lincoln dealerships across Canada. In 2002, revenues for Canadian operations were $23.3 billion, making Ford of Canada one of the country's largest privately-held companies. Since 1990, Ford has invested nearly $9.5 billion in its Canadian operations. For more information, please visit www.ford.ca.
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