Ford begins a game of one-upsmanship;with General Motors. “My fuel cell SUV can drive a longer distance than your fuel cell SUV.”
“Oh yeah? We’ve got one too, and it’s better!” That’s what Ford is saying to Chevrolet at this year’s Los Angeles auto show.; A few months ago, Chevy announced their plans for a fleet of Equinox fuel cell vehicles and also slapped a bowtie on the front of the previously GM-badged Sequel concept.
Because of the obvious competitive factor here, Ford is bragging about the records set by their Explorer. Due to a large, center-mounted fuel tank, the fuel cell Explorer can still hold six passengers while driving 350 miles on one tank of hydrogen. This helped engineers drive 1556 miles in a twenty-four hour period, the most of any fuel cell vehicle.
The SUV has been driving 17,000 miles in the past year as part of a Department of Energy study to determine the feasibility of hydrogen fuel cells as a viable technology for vehicle propulsion in the near future. Alternative energy seems to be the theme of this year’s L.A. show, and it is good to see that the Americans are taking it as seriously as many foreign companies, notably those from Germany.
The bigger news? Ford tells us that this Explorer is just the first in a line of fuel cell demonstration vehicles. The next will be shown in January at the Detroit show. That’s the big stage for the big three, so we’re excited to see what they surprise us with.