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Ford's High-Mileage P2000 DIATA Debuts at NAIAS

5 January 1998

Ford's High-Mileage P2000 DIATA Debuts at NAIAS

    DETROIT, Jan. 5 -- Ford Motor Company's P2000
DIATA, a revolutionary family car prototype that gets 63 miles to the gallon,
was unveiled today at the North American International Auto Show.
    The newest P2000 _- equipped with Ford's all-new, aluminum, 1.2-liter
DIATA compression-ignition direct-injection engine -_ represents a giant
advance toward the production of lightweight, environmentally responsible
vehicles with outstanding economy and emissions levels.
    The driveable next-generation P2000 is a midsize vehicle, about the same
size as today's Taurus, yet weighs 40 percent less, about 2,000 pounds.
    "Sixty-three miles per gallon is no mean feat, and it's even harder to do
this in a family-sized sedan with five seats and the performance and amenities
and safety our customers are used to," said Ford Automotive Operations
President Jac Nasser.  "But we know we have to have this kind of mileage in a
vehicle that people will want to buy.  Otherwise, 63 miles per gallon -_ or
600 miles per gallon, for that matter -_ doesn't count."
    The P2000 program's goal is to develop a midsize vehicle weighing
40 percent less than today's vehicles with up to three times the fuel
efficiency of today's family sedan and very low emissions -_ all while meeting
customer expectations for safety, performance, durability, comfort and
    "Later this year, we'll have an electric hybrid-powered version of the
P2000 on the road.  And by 2000, we will have a fuel-cell version that
produces no emissions other than water vapor," Nasser said.  "That's three
very different powertrains, and we probably won't build all of them for sale.
But we will build some of them."
    Last month, the company took a significant step toward a viable fuel cell
vehicle when it formed a global alliance to develop fuel cell technology with
Ballard Power Systems of Canada and Daimler-Benz AG.  The companies signed a
memorandum of understanding Dec. 15 and are expected to reach final agreement
within a few months.

    A Systems Approach is a Key to P2000's Success
    Ford has invested more than 20,000 hours in computer modeling of P2000,
believed to be the most extensive computer application ever for an
experimental vehicle.
    "From the beginning, we've focused on taking a systems approach _-
designing a first-rate powertrain and optimizing the use of lightweight
materials," said Ross Witschonke, Ford's director of the Partnership for a New
Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) program, a collaboration among the domestic
automakers, federal government and others to produce fuel-efficient
breakthroughs in vehicle technology.
    Each P2000 component is designed to reduce weight without compromising
safety, strength, stiffness and durability.  Engineers also maximized
secondary weight savings.  For example, the lighter vehicle could use smaller
and lighter springs and shocks.
    P2000's lightweight materials include aluminum -_ the major component for
the body and engine _- carbon fiber, magnesium and titanium.  Today's midsize
vehicle contains more than 2,000 pounds of steel and other ferrous materials,
compared with only about 500 pounds in the P2000.

    Hybrid Propulsion Systems and Fuel Cells Are on the Horizon
    Relying on the DIATA engine as a base for the next-generation hybrid
P2000, expected to be complete by spring, engineers are developing a low-
energy storage system that would use a small, high-power battery to provide
quick engine restart after deceleration or rest.
    The next prototype, a hydrogen fuel cell research vehicle, will use liquid
or compressed hydrogen and oxygen from the atmosphere to generate electricity
to power the vehicle's electric motor.  Emissions are zero, and the need for
heavy batteries with limited ranges is eliminated.
    Although recent progress in fuel cells has been impressive, the agreement
between Ford, Daimler-Benz and Ballard is expected to accelerate further the
development of fuel cell-powered components for cars and trucks.  The
agreement unites Ford and Daimler-Benz -_ two of the world's leaders in
automotive technology -_ with Ballard Power Systems, the fuel cell industry's
leading developer and manufacturer.
    Fuel cell vehicles have the potential to provide the size, range,
roominess and performance of conventional cars and trucks while emitting
little more than water vapor into the atmosphere.
    "It's too early to predict whether hybrid vehicles or fuel cell vehicles
will cross the finish line first for commercial application," Witschonke said.
"Our new alliance greatly improves the possibility of a viable, flexible-fuel
commercial fuel cell program in the near future.  However, we still face major
issues of affordability and packaging, as well as the development of a
hydrogen supply infrastructure."
    The P2000 project is associated with Ford's participation in the
Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) program.  PNGV is a
collaboration among the domestic automakers, U.S. Department of Energy and
others aimed at producing breakthroughs in fuel economy.  Ford's hybrid
propulsion work is part of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Hybrid
Propulsion Systems Development Program and is funded by Ford and DOE through
the Midwest Research Institute, which manages and operates DOE's National
Renewable Energy Laboratory.
    Sixty tier-one suppliers are directly involved in P2000, along with more
than 100 second- and third-tier suppliers.  Most of North America's largest
aluminum companies are participating, as well as major engine designers.

SOURCE  Ford Motor Company