The Model U Concept
stems from the mass appeal and affordability that Ford
's Model T
provided. Not only does this new concept offer upgradeability
, it was also designed to be as safe
as or safer
than today’s automobiles. The car, being made from green materials
, is not only environmental
, but the interior and exterior have also been remodeled. Perhaps the most impressive innovation
that the Model U has to offer is the world's first supercharged Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine
. Offering this model in SUV
form, Ford has not only redesigned the concept of a car, but has shown that the technology has advanced
to support the conversion of current carmaker’s fleet entirely to newer, safer, and environmentally friendly units.
Design is the key feature separating this SUV from all others. Seating up to four people, the Model U’s hydrogen tanks and power train do not constrain the spacious interior. The slotted floor, doors, and instrument panel allow mountable components to be moved or upgraded in the future, and are designed to access the vehicles electronic network providing power. The speech interface system operates the entertainment, navigation, cellular communication, and climate controls. This feature allows the operator to focus more on driving. Pre-crash sensory and advanced night vision also improves the driver’s awareness adding safety concepts unlike any other car.
The interior and exterior are quite unique. Inside the Model U you will find it uncluttered, open, and flexible due to the slot system. It contains three different visual and physical layers so that separation can be simplistic. The bottom surface is painted dark gray and is above the fueling system. The middle layer contains the three main slots and has a semi-gloss finish which overlays the bottom surface from the instrument panel to the tail gate. The top layer is an orange fabric that covers the seats, arm rests and steering wheel. The exterior layout is somewhat similar to the interior design. It also separates the materials visually. The glossy body, matte and grooved doors, and natural fiber-filled composite front and side panels encase the body’s aluminum structure. It also maintains a level of flexibility and can convert from a SUV to pick up. Rear seats may also be removed for a longer loading floor. The roof, rear door, rear window, and along with the hood, are power controlled.
The supercharged, inter-cooled Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine has maximum efficiency, power, and range. Since the fuel is hydrogen based it results in emissions close to zero, and is 25% more fuel efficient than gas, burning better and cleaner. Seven kilograms of hydrogen are stored on board in a three millimeter aluminum pressure barrier with carbon-fiber structural casing with the operation pressure of 10,000 psi. The engine is also enhanced by dual stage inter-cooling process, and can produce a boost of 15 psi. To allow the motor to operate in conjunction with or independently from the engine, the torque converter is replaced with a high voltage electric motor and two hydraulic clutches. Energy is conserved on the breaking process that would otherwise be lost as heat. An air cooled 300 volt battery pack stores the energy to be used later.
The Model U Concept addresses environmental and social issues. It doesn’t just minimize negative effects, it produces positive ones. The recycling process is more efficient due to the use of green materials and visual separation. The flexibility and addition of upgradesappeals to the consumer, no matter what the social status. The Model U Concept is just what the population has been waiting for: an affordable, safe, and environmentally sound means of transportation.