Fleet News

Ford fuel cell trial fleet 'by 2004'

A FLEET of 50 Ford fuel cell vehicles will go on trial with customers in the United States of America by 2004. And the manufacturer is currently discussing whether fuel cell vehicles could also be test driven in the UK and Europe.

On display at Geneva was Ford's first working production prototype, direct-hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle - the Focus FCV. Despite the unveiling of the car Rudolf Kunze, Ford of Europe's chief technical officer, said: 'We're still a long way from having fuel cells that compete with internal combustion engines.'

Reducing cost, improving reliability and fuel availability are among the key hurdles which need to be overcome. The 80 mph Focus FCV is Ford's second hydrogen fuel cell vehicle following the launch of the P2000 HFC three years ago.

Also unveiled was a hybrid electric powered Maverick - claimed to be the most fuel-efficient sports utility vehicle in the world when it goes on sale in 2003. With an electric drivetrain augmenting a four cylinder petrol engine the Maverick HEV is claimed to offer diesel-like fuel economy but with V6 performance. Initially the vehicle will be launched in the USA but it is expected that it will enter European including UK showrooms.

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