Ford Supports President's Hydrogen Fuel Proposal
Fuel cells and hydrogen fuels popped up in President George W. Bush’s recent State of the Union address. President Bush, as part of his FreedomFuel initiative, called for $720 million in new spending to reach a goal of developing commercially viable mass-produced hydrogen vehicles by 2020. The money is in addition to a $1.2 billion FreedomCar research initiative announced a year ago. The five-year effort would partner private companies with the federal government to develop both fuel cell powered vehicles and the infrastructure needed to produce, store, and distribute hydrogen for use in hydrogen-powered vehicles and electricity generation.Ford Motor Co. called the proposal “good news” and said it awaits further details of the initiative, some of which could come this week when U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham will make a scheduled visit to Detroit.Ford is in various phases of testing with 15 fuel cell vehicles (FCVs), five of which are in the customer development stage. Ten more are currently going through internal test programs. Ford anticipates that it will be mid- to late-decade before FCVs are available for commercial sale.Ford recently showcased hydrogen technologies at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The company introduced the Model U Concept, which featured a supercharged hydrogen internal combustion engine (ICE) with Ford's modular hybrid transmission. The hydrogen ICE could provide an affordable transition utilizing hydrogen.