Plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles ‘champions’ of advanced propulsion

11 June 2014 #SMMT News

SMMT International Automotive Summit

Electrification and hydrogen fuel cell technology will both be instrumental in powering vehicles in the near future. This was the message delivered as Kevin E Layden, Global Director of Powertrain Engineering for Ford Motor Company, and Frank Meijer, Head of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle at Hyundai Motor Europe, debated strategies for advanced propulsion at the 2014 SMMT International Automotive Summit.

In the debate, Layden stated that Ford is planning an onslaught of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles in Europe by 2016. It expects that the plug-in hybrid system will be Ford’s ‘champion’ powertrain among its alternatively-fuelled vehicles, with the company having already driven 270 million miles using the technology.

Crucially for the manufacturer, Ford expects to have driven down the cost of electric technologies by 80% before 2020. It has chosen Dunton Technical Centre in the UK as one of two global hubs for the development of electric powertrains.

Layden also hinted that, when Ford has the technology in place, it will substitute the internal combustion engine for hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Hyundai has already developed four generations of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, with its most recent having entered mass production in Korea; it boasts a 370 mile range and a refuelling time of just a few minutes. The manufacturer expects to invest nearly 18 million euros across Europe over the next 16 years. Meijer also suggested that by 2020 there will be 26 hydrogen refuelling centres in the UK.

Hyundai is a member of Hyfive, a consortium of five vehicle manufacturers which is trialling 110 vehicles in six major cities across the world.

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