Ford Fuel Cell Explorer Concept – Brief: Despite how much we all depend on them and thoroughly enjoy the freedom they provide, vehicles (and, in particular, SUVs) draw more than their share of disdain because of what some see as a disproportionate use of our natural resources. In response, we've seen the gradual increase in hybrids, corn-fed models, and most recently, hydrogen-powered concepts. One example is the hydrogen fuel cell powered Ford Explorer, which with 17,000 miles on its odometer, has proven its real-world viability. This SUV is capable of traveling 350 per tank, can carry six passengers, and like similar concepts under development, has the potential to transform the relationship between automobiles and the environment.
Ford's fuel cell Explorer is based on a six-passenger, all-wheel-drive production model that we can all buy, though it travels up to 350 miles on a full tank of hydrogen. That kind of mileage requires a large storage tank, one that holds 10 kg of hydrogen at 700 bar. Engineers made room for the tank by placing it in the spot usually reserved for the traditional Explorer's six-speed automatic transmission. Power comes from a 60-kilowatt Ballard Fuel Cell and dual 65-kilowatt electric motors backed up by a 50-kilowatt hybrid battery. Fuel economy for this Ford Explorer equates to about 35 mpg – not bad for a 5,645-lb. SUV.