Ford's surpassed the double-century mark, and joined the Bonneville 200-mph club, in its Hydrogen 999 fuel-cell-powered Ford Fusion. It's an industry first, considering other automakers' hydrogen fuel-cell projects have eschewed speed accrual for the message of environmental correctness. Why not do both, Ford says with the 999 project, which we're just fine with us old salts. The car was worked up with The Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research, Ballard Power Systems and Roush Racing, and was piloted by Bonneville vet Rick Byrnes, who's also a retired powertrain engineer with the blue oval bunch.
DEARBORN, Aug. 15, 2007 — The Ford Fusion Hydrogen 999 raced to a record 207.297 miles per hour Wednesday at the famous Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, which makes the world's first and only production vehicle-based fuel cell race car the fastest as well.
After more than one year of design and development and 10 years of hydrogen vehicle research, Ford's fuel cell vehicle team battled technical difficulties and a harsh desert environment en route to joining the 200 MPH Club of Bonneville Speed Week, an annual event that attracts hundreds of racing teams.
"What we've accomplished is nothing short of an industry first," said Matt Zuehlk, lead engineer on the project. "No other automaker in the world has come close."
Zuehlk added that Ford's historic run at Bonneville is to further expand its technological horizons with fuel cell-powered vehicles, because it is a fuel that could someday play a key role in meeting the energy needs of the transportation sector. The Ford Fusion Hydrogen 999 is Ford's latest environmental innovation and is another step on the road toward commercially viable hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
The project is a partnership between Ford, The Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research, Ballard Power Systems and Roush Racing. Rick Byrnes, a veteran Bonneville racer and retired Ford Powertrain component design engineer, piloted the Hydrogen 999 at Bonneville.