Ford Presents New Model U Concept Vehicle

January 06, 2003 by Jeff Shepard

Ford Motor Co. (Dearborn, MI) introduced its new Model U concept vehicle, which is powered by what is claimed to be the world's first supercharged hydrogen internal combustion engine, equipped with a hybrid-electric transmission and green materials and processes. The Model U is powered by a hydrogen internal combustion engine (ICE) that is optimized to run on hydrogen. The engine is supercharged and inter-cooled for maximum efficiency, power and range. Its emission of all pollutants, including carbon dioxide, is nearly zero, and the engine is up to 25 percent more fuel-efficient than gasoline engines.

The hydrogen ICE is based on Ford's global 2.3l I-4 engine used in the Ford Ranger, the European Ford Mondeo and a number of Mazda vehicles. The engine is optimized to burn hydrogen with 12.2:1 high-compression pistons, fuel injectors designed to handle hydrogen gas, a coil-on-plug ignition system, an electronic throttle and new engine management software. The hydrogen ICE is joined with an advanced hybrid-electric transmission technology called the Ford Modular Hybrid Transmission System. The torque converter from a conventional transmission is replaced with a high-voltage electric motor and two hydraulic clutches that permit the motor to operate independently of, or in concert with, the engine. The electric motor simultaneously fills the role of flywheel, starter, alternator and hybrid traction motor.