The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Ford Breaks Speed Record

September 28, 2007

DEARBORN, MI - The Ford Fusion Hydrogen 999, which reached the heady speed of 207.23 mph, is the world's first production-based hydrogen fuel cell race car, according to, a New Zealand news Web site.

The 999, named in homage to Henry Ford's famous race car of a century ago, is seen as another step on the road toward the commercially viable hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. The car was designed and built by Ford engineers in collaboration with Ohio State University, Ballard Power Systems and the famous Roush speed shop.

The 999 is one of two vehicles demonstrating the potential of fuel-cell technology. Ford researchers are also supporting student engineers from Ohio State University on its Buckeye Bullet 2, a streamliner-type fuel-cell-powered racer, according to

Gerhard Schmidt, vice-president, research and advanced engineering for Ford, said the Bonneville run would expand the company's technological horizons with fuel cell-powered vehicles, because the use of hydrogen as a fuel could someday play a key role in meeting the energy needs of the transportation sector.

“What we've accomplished is nothing short of an industry first,” said Schmidt. “We established this project to advance fuel cell-powered vehicles and to do what has never been done before; and we did it.”

The final speed was reached during a run at the Bonneville Nationals, which were held from August 10 to 17.

The Ford land speed record vehicle was designed by Ford engineers and built by Roush in Allen Park, Mich. Ford engineers leveraged the 2004 Buckeye Bullets electric motor, while Ballard Power Systems supplied the 400 kW hydrogen fuel cells. Ford retiree Rick Byrnes, a veteran Bonneville racer, piloted the vehicle on its record-breaking run.

Ohio State students have designed their streamliner, dubbed Buckeye Bullet 2, from the ground up. Ballard donated the hydrogen fuel cells, Roush its engineering services and Ford has provided overall project co-ordination and expertise in fuel cell drivetrains.

In 2004, Ohio State students set the unlimited land speed record for an electric vehicle by running 313.98 mph in the first Buckeye Bullet.

Ford has a fleet of 30 hydrogen-powered Focus fuel cell vehicles on the road as part of a worldwide, seven-city program conducting real-world testing of fuel-cell technology. The 30-car fleet has accumulated nearly 930,000km since starting in 2005.

Ford also is doing tests with a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the Ford Edge, with HySeries drive which uses a series of electric drivetrains with an onboard hydrogen fuel cell-generator, according to

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