Hydrogen Car Hits 161 MPH… Goes for 200

John Davis

Fusion 999A hydrogen-powered Ford Fusion has taken part in the annual Speed Week at the famous Bonneville Salt Flats this week and hit an amazing 161 MPH!

This article from the Journal and Courier (Lafayette and West Lafayette, Indiana) says the Ford Fusion 999, a hydrogen- and electric- powered car designed and built in cooperation between Ford and Ohio State University, blazed across the salt flats… and Matt Zuehlk, the project leader for Ford’s 999 says they want to hit 200 MPH:

By doing so, he said, the car will help change the perception that alternative-fuel cars lack muscle and grit. If it happens, company brass can thank the budding designers and engineers at OSU. They turned to Ford because the students’ electric-only cars had hit a ceiling at Bonneville.

The students figured adding hydrogen fuel cells might allow for more speed. Ford decided not only to help add hydrogen power to the Buckeye Bullet – a streamlined dragster – but also to model a potentially realistic version based on the Fusion.

On Monday, having qualified with the 161-mph run, the team returned to the track to make its first run at 200 mph. But before (driver Rick) Byrnes got even a mile, a hydrogen sensor shut down the engine.

“They have multiple safety features,” Byrnes said, “mostly for me.”

The car’s electric motor is fed by a fuel cell that generates electricity by combining oxygen and hydrogen. The technology is not new, but harnessing enough power to push that technology so fast is.

The latest breakdown was actually an aerodynamic design problem, but officials believe they proved that hydrogen can be a hot fuel for a cool car.