Ford and Ferguson Enterprises are collaborating to introduce a first-of-its-kind F-550 Super Duty Fuel Cell Prototype Chassis Work Truck into its fleet, working towards the company’s sustainability strategy to reduce a sizable proportion of Scope 1 emissions. The commercial-grade truck will be powered by hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe.
The Ford F-550 Super Duty Fuel Cell Prototype is part of Ford’s response to the U.S. Department of Energy’s SuperTruck 3 initiative, which aims to reduce fleet emissions by challenging OEM brands to develop solutions to improve efficiency.
Ford Motor Company has arranged a similar partnership in testing a hydrogen-powered F-550 Super Duty truck with SoCalGas.
Ferguson’s pilot program will run for six months and will complement its previously announced pilot program to launch 30 class 6 through 8 all-electric delivery trucks in its fleet in collaboration with Holman and Electrada. Real-world usage data will be provided to Ford to help better define engineering requirements for commercial vehicles, such as battery range and payload capacity, which have previously prevented faster conversion to environmentally friendlier options.
The high-pressure hydrogen tank vessels for the Ford F-550 Super Duty fuel cell trucks will be built by Plastic Omnium, which has previously invested more than €300 million since 2015 and is planning €100 additional million each year to increase its expertise and footprint across the entire hydrogen value chain.
The vessels are 700-bar type-IV Hydrogen High-Pressure Vessels, which are required for all the auxiliary equipment on the trucks, such as s lift buckets for working on power and telecom lines. Plastic Omnium says that the 700-bar vessels will be perfect for the application as some scenarios require nearly 24/7 uptime.
The vessels will be built at Plastic Omnium’s factory in Adrian, Michigan, which will take full advantage of its critical manufacturing expertise in fuel systems.
“Ford’s strategy to reduce carbon emissions across the globe includes investigating multiple technologies that will help us achieve these goals across a broad spectrum of applications,” said Jim Buczkowski, executive director, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “This collaboration with Ferguson is a strong example of where our Ford Pro business and the potential of fuel cell propulsion systems might address the application gaps that battery electric vehicles just can’t fulfill. The potential of hydrogen, the most plentiful element on the planet, coupled with fuel cell technology has tremendous potential to power larger, heavier commercial vehicles while still delivering zero tailpipe emissions.”
The Ford F-550 Super Duty Fuel Cell Prototype Chassis Work Trucks will be deployed in California, and Ferguson will install temporary infrastructure equipment in Charlotte, NC.