The next time you see a Ford shuttle bus, you might want to look under the hood, because it might have an engine you have never seen before. Ford is producing the first commercially available hydrogen internal combustion engine for its E-450 shuttle buses, which will be available later this year.
This isn’t a hydrogen fuel cell and an electric motor. This 6.8-liter V-10 engine actually burns hydrogen like most engines burn gas. The engine can produce 235 horsepower at 4000 rpm and hits 310 ft-lb of torque at 3000 rpm. It isn’t exactly an overpowering beast, but then again, that’s not really the point.
Why would you want a hydrogen internal combustion engine? Well, they’re highly efficient, they can function under any weather conditions, and there are practically no emissions. A jump to hybrid would be easy, adding to the efficiency too. The shuttle buses will be an important real world test of the technology, which has already gone through more than 7,000 hours of testing.