Ford Motor Company debuted a hydrogen-fueled, battery-powered plug-in in the new Airstream concept vehicle this week at the North American International Auto Show. The system, called HySeries Drive, is powered by a 336-volt lithium-ion battery pack and has a range of 25 miles on a full electric power. Once the battery pack is depleted by about 40 percent, the hydrogen-powered fuel cell begins generating electricity to recharge the batteries, increasing range another 280 miles, for a total driving range of more than 300 miles. The battery pack can be refreshed by plugging into a standard outlet, benefiting drivers in areas with limited hydrogen infrastructure in place, according to the company. Ford says another advantage of the HySeriesDrive is its fuel, engine and energy- conversion flexibility. The fuel cell could be replaced with a hydrogen internal combustion engine, or the fuel cell and hydrogen tank could be replaced with a diesel tank and a diesel engine. In addition, a three- or two-cylinder engine could be used as an auxiliary power unit to recharge the battery pack instead of a six- or eight-cylinder engine. The HySeries Drive system already is on the road in a Ford Edge prototype, which will be shown publicly for the first time at the Washington, D.C., Auto Show on Jan. 23.
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