With fuel cell cars there are - at least as prototypes - almost like sand on the sea. Buy but these cars can still nowhere. However: There will be further researched. Almost all development departments of car manufacturers werkeln in a clean power package, which consists of hydrogen on board the cars for the power an electric motor. The second major trend for a clean future is the battery-powered vehicle that is his power - such as just so popular Tesla Roadster - at the outlet tanks.
Ford now goes a step further: Both technologies were in fact the first time together in a vehicle. The prototype is called Edge HySeries Drive, and SPIEGEL ONLINE, the models around the Ford Research Center in Aachen first time. It is the first serial plug-in fuel cell hybrid - which comes under the eierlegenden Wollmilchsau research vehicles already pretty close. On short-haul runs the single unit with power from the outlet. And if the charge of the lithium-ion battery is low, the onboard computer raises the fuel cell to the battery to eat.
Only the mice cinema for the energy-flow display in the center console, power instead of the speed gauge and, of course, look under the hood irritate: Instead of the conventional V6 engine there is a surprisingly small electric motor with converted 88 hp. The same unit is also working on the rear axle - the Edge shall retain the four-wheel drive and comes up to 176 hp.
At the wheel of the car does spectacularly unspectacular. Because of the chemical factory and the power plant on board the driver feels nothing. Ever need to sharpen the senses when the SUV on the future is how each electric car, this Edge almost completely silent and accelerated with the two 230 Nm times faster than anyone expected. Although the alternative propulsion technology around 400 kilos on the scales and it takes only one course, the car is therefore almost sparkling. It accelerates in 9.4 seconds from 0 to tempo 100, in city traffic keeps loose, and also on the road you can feel hardly any difference. Only on the highway was really busy - because at 140 km / h for the electric motors final.
The fact that this Edge runs differently than a gasoline car, you can feel even when Brakes: First, because then the front electric motor acts as a generator and the battery feeds. And secondly, because the mass powerful and pushes the car only to press to stop. “But that is only a prototype,” a companion excused the unusual braking.
With a battery filling, the Edge on a range of 40 kilometers. And the 4.5 kilograms of hydrogen in the tank full enough to power for another 320 km to produce. Even the gas at a pressure of 350 bar stored. Doch arbeitet Ford an Tanks, die 700 bar verkraften. But Ford is working on tanks, the 700 bar handle. Then would the range to 450 km climb and the Edge to everyday car. Most customers, however, have probably never been as one of the rare hydrogen filling stations. “Many go on the day less than 40 kilometers,” says project manager Roland Krueger. “Who the Edge in the local garage or in the company parking lot at the outlet depends, it has quickly full.” The loading process takes four hours.
The combination of large and small battery fuel cell has two advantages Kruger. “First, the range, and secondly, the fuel cell in a very limited operating range. Therefore, it is less complex and thus little cheaper than other systems.” This is particularly important for Kruger. Because the price is in addition to the lack of infrastructure for hydrogen remains the biggest hurdle on the way to series maturity of this technology.
“The technical problems we will be in seven or eight years under control,” says Krueger, with a view to cold start behaviour, performance and durability of the fuel cell. But the costs were pressed, dauere it safe even longer. “Finally, we need the price nor to reduce at least one point.” Even then, a fuel cell car close to the pain threshold of what the customers today for a Ford to pay. But in recent months Kruger sees the cost issue increasingly relaxed: “The more expensive gasoline and diesel are, the easier it is for us later, the customer to change.”