TodayApril 17, 2022

Ford and BP To Build Hydrogen Fleets

U.S. Department Of Energy Hydrogen Project

April 27, 2004, Ford Motor Company and BP plc are announcing a major initiative aimed at moving the United States closer to a hydrogen economy. Ford intends to place up to 30 hydrogen-powered vehicles, and BP plans to build a network of fueling stations to support them, in metropolitan Sacramento, Orlando, and Detroit.

The automotive company and the energy provider made the announcement today at joint news conferences in each of the cities where the vehicles and fueling stations are proposed to be based and operated. The proposed fleets and fueling stations are in response to the U.S. Department of Energy’s solicitation, entitled “Controlled Hydrogen Fleet and Infrastructure Demonstration and Validation Project.”

“This demonstration and validation project will play a major role in moving us forward toward a hydrogen-fueled future,” said Gerhard Schmidt, vice president of Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “We are delighted to be associated with a strong forward-thinking worldwide energy provider like BP in this effort.”

According to Ross Pillari, president, BP America, “We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with a progressive company such as Ford to demonstrate the potential of hydrogen as a fuel. We believe cooperative efforts such as the one led by the U.S. DOE help stimulate progress toward a future that maximizes the potential of hydrogen infrastructure and fueling technologies.”

The Ford and BP joint proposal calls for Ford to provide up to 30 hydrogen-powered Ford Focus Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCV). Assembly of the vehicles will begin in the fourth quarter of 2004, depending on the timing of successful contract negotiations with the U.S. DOE and various state and local entities.

The Ford Focus FCV is one of the industry’s first hybridized fuel cell vehicles combining the improved range and performance of hybrid technology with the overall benefits of a fuel cell.

The Ford Focus FCV uses an 85kW fuel cell stack supplied by Ballard Power Systems, a world leader in proton exchange membrane (PEM) technology. The FCV is hybridized with the addition of a nickel-metal-hydride battery pack and a brake-by-wire electro-hydraulic series regenerative braking system.

BP plans to install a network of stations demonstrating state-of-the-art fueling technologies to support hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Some BP hydrogen refueling stations will evaluate technologies that have near-term commercial feasibility, such as the reformation of natural gas, while others will explore more long-term technology options and assess the potential to produce renewable-based hydrogen that achieves U.S. DOE hydrogen fuel cost targets.

Under the proposal, Ford intends to station up to 10 Focus FCV vehicles in each of the three metro areas of Orlando, Sacramento, and Detroit.


Ford plans to place up to 10 Focus FCVs across three organizations in Sacramento. Service and maintenance of the vehicles will be provided at the existing California Fuel Cell Partnership facility. BP plans to support the FCVs by installing refueling sites in the Sacramento area.

State of California Fleet

The California Air Resources Board (ARB), California Energy Commission (CEC), and Department of General Services (DGS) are working together to operate Focus FCVs to gain experience with fuel cell vehicles and promote hydrogen-powered vehicles through education and outreach activities.

ARB, CEC, and DGS intend to place the vehicles in the state fleet as delivery or shuttle vehicles. These vehicles should be operated on a daily basis, allowing for maximum mileage accumulation and regular monitoring by agency staff. The fleet will also be used for education and outreach purposes.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and hydrogen

SMUD plans to use Focus FCVs in its Electric Transportation Group, where the vehicles will be subjected to significant driving cycles to gather real use data through assigned drivers. Activities will include a collection of car driving data, basic vehicle maintenance, and consumer insight.

City of Davis

Focus FCVs will be used to support city services and for outreach and education. Potential vehicle usage includes police department community service activities, planning and building department use by building inspectors, and having vehicles assigned to other various city employees. All vehicles will return to a city facility each night and will be refueled at the existing University of California at Davis hydrogen refueling facility.


Ford plans to deploy up to 10 Focus FCVs in the Orlando area across three fleets. BP is examining several sites in the north Orlando area to locate a fueling site central to the three proposed fleet users.

BP is also examining several hydrogen production methods for the Orlando location. The Progress Energy Longwood Facility, located in Longwood, Florida, will be used for the service and maintenance of the Florida Focus FCV fleet.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Staff Office

The vehicles will be used in general staff functions, including visits to projects within the Central District of Florida.

Florida DEP Wekiwa Springs State Park

Wekiwa Springs Park is a 7,800-acre preserve north of Orlando. Park rangers plan to use the vehicles in daily monitoring of the park, as well as transporting rangers to frequent education and outreach programs conducted at local schools.

Progress Energy, Lake Mary

Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Progress Energy, is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and provides electricity and related services to more than 1.5 million customers in Florida. Progress Energy plans to assign the vehicles to meter readers and energy efficiency counselors who make home visit’s to advise customers in energy-efficient methods.


Ford plans to place up to 10 Focus FCVs with the City of Taylor and with the University of Michigan. BP is considering several sites for refueling infrastructure, including the Wayne County Metropolitan Airport and the EPA vehicle test laboratory in Ann Arbor. The vehicles in Southeast Michigan will be serviced at Ford’s existing fuel cell development facility (it’s Sustainable Mobility Transportation Lab).

The City of Taylor

The City of Taylor is very active in the support of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs), including FCVs. In fact, AFVs presently comprise twenty percent of the city’s vehicle fleet, and Taylor has received several national awards for it’s commitment and dedication to AFVs. The vehicles placed with Taylor will be used to support city services, such as meter reading. The City of Taylor is adjacent to the Wayne County Metropolitan Airport, which BP is considering as a location for a new hydrogen refueling station.

The University of Michigan

The University of Michigan plans to use the vehicles to support administrative services on campus. In addition, the Colleges of Engineering, Natural Sciences, and the Business School are all planning to integrate the vehicles into their advanced courses.

The EPA has offered the use of the hydrogen refueling facility at its vehicle test laboratory in Ann Arbor to support the vehicles at the school’s campus. BP is looking at the station as an opportunity for potential upgrades.

“BPs work in developing and demonstrating hydrogen applications goes hand in hand with our global commitment to provide lower-carbon energy and cleaner fuels today and in the future,” said Carol Battershell, BPs director of alternative fuels. “BP has the right skills, knowledge, and experience to supply the fuel and the fuelling infrastructure.”

“By testing fuel cell vehicles in everyday conditions and applications, Ford is moving the industry toward commercialization,” said Mary Ann Wright, director of Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrid Programs, the group at Ford Motor Company responsible for research and development of fuel cell products. “Projects like these will provide the data we need to engineer improved performance, reliability, and durability of fuel cell vehicles, and prepare the market for widespread commercialization.”

About Ford

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With more than 318,000 employees worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury, and Volvo.

Its automotive-related services include Ford Credit, Quality Care, and Hertz. Ford Motor Company celebrated its 100th anniversary on June 16, 2003.

Ford is a leader in the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles. It has a fleet of 20 Ford Focus fuel cell engineering vehicles traveling the streets of southeast Michigan, and four Focus fuel cell marketing vehicles traveling the globe, helping to prove out, develop and demonstrate the technology. In addition, two other Focus FCVs are dedicated to the California Fuel Cell Partnership in Sacramento.

The Focus FCV hydrogen

The hydrogen-powered Ford Focus FCV produces zero emissions from the tailpipe and uses a Ballard fuel cell engine that converts chemical energy into electrical energy using hydrogen and oxygen. The electrical energy then powers the vehicle’s electric-drive motor, producing only water and heat as by-products. Fuel cell technology is projected to provide up to two times the fuel economy of gasoline and diesel engines.

About BP

BP is one of the world’s largest energy companies, with global interests in more than 100 countries. It is a major producer of oil and gas and has substantial refining, retail, petrochemical, and solar interests. The company employs more than 110,000 people worldwide.

BP produces 5,000 tons of hydrogen per day and is a key player in hydrogen demonstration projects across the globe. Some examples of these projects include:

BP is a partner in the California Fuel Cell Partnership, which involves several major energy companies, and vehicle manufacturers in collaboration between industry, regulatory bodies, and government agencies. The partnership opened its first hydrogen refueling station in Sacramento in November 2000 and is a great example of the need for close cooperation between industry, government, and regulatory bodies to facilitate the development of hydrogen-fueled transportation. BP is a key hydrogen infrastructure provider to CUTE (Clean Urban Transport), a pan-European nine-city fuel cell bus project. BP is a supplier of refueling infrastructure for the Singapore Clean Cars for Clean Cities Program.

BPs subsidiary ARAL built the first public hydrogen refueling station at Munich airport which has been in operation since 1998. BP will open several new US hydrogen refueling stations in 2004, including one at Los Angeles International Airport.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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