Getting hydrogen cars to live up to their hype
By Sholnn Freeman
The Ford Edge gliding along the George Washington Memorial Parkway doesn't have spinning rims or a booming sound system. The bling in this SUV is the technology. The vehicle runs almost silently. It needs no gas and releases no polluting exhaust.
The HySeries Edge, which is to be unveiled at the Washington Auto Show today, is a plug-in hybrid with an electric drive powered by a battery and a hydrogen fuel cell. Its arrival intensifies the competition to manufacture a mass-market electric hybrid that reduces reliance on gasoline and curbs the emission of greenhouse gases.
But the futuristic Edge vehicle is Ford's only one, and it cost $2 million to build. To get a car like this into the showroom for sale to the public will require the automotive and energy industries to leap high technological hurdles. The infrastructure to deliver alternative fuels such as hydrogen is in its infancy, and engineers are puzzling over how to mass-produce a lightweight, inexpensive and safe electric battery.