This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 08, 2003

Ford Unveils "Model U," a Hydrogen-Fueled Hybrid Vehicle

Ford Motor Company unveiled a new hydrogen-fueled concept vehicle on January 5th, but unlike most recent prototypes, this vehicle uses an internal combustion engine rather than a fuel cell. Ford's "Model U" concept car uses a supercharged engine to achieve a performance similar to a gasoline-fueled engine while using about 25 percent less energy. The engine also produces very low emissions, consisting mainly of water vapor and low levels of nitrous oxides.

The hydrogen engine is combined with a 35-kilowatt electric motor in a "strong" hybrid configuration, which allows the vehicle to run on electric power only at low speeds. In addition, Ford used a number of "green" materials in the car's construction, including Cargill Dow's corn-based polylactide for the "canvas" roof and carpet mats, and soy-based foams and plastics for the seats and tailgate.

The Model U, intentionally named to invoke Ford's Model T, was unveiled during the 2003 North American International Auto Show. Ford produced the Model U and two other concept cars as part of the company's centennial celebration. See the Ford press release.

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