Th!nk FC5 Hydrogen
On January 10, 2000 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, Th!nk, which was then a part of Ford Motor Company, unveiled its new Th!nk FC5 (Fuel Cell – 5th generation) vehicle. The Th!nk FC5 was touted as a family-sized sedan that ran on the latest in methanol reformer technology. The Ford Th!nk FC5 was fueled with liquid methanol and the reformer extracted the hydrogen and pumped this through the fuel cell to provide electricity to power the auto.
Th!nk Nordic FC5
Th!nk decided to go this route since methanol is readily available in liquid form, produces very low emissions compared to gasoline or diesel, can be produced from biomass as well as from fossil fuels.
According to Ford, using methanol produces virtually no nitrogen oxides, autobon monoxide or particulates that account for urban smog problems. In addition, far fewer infrastructure hurdles, also would need to be jumped in comparison to building a hydrogen infrastructure from scratch.
The Th!nk FC5 debuted Ballard Power Systems’ (Vancouver, Canada) newest Mark 900 fuel cell module. DBB Fuel Cell Engines premiered their newest methanol reformer as well. Ecostar Electric Drive Systems designed the Th!nk FC5’s electric motor. The Th!nk FC5 was expected to deliver similar top speed, range and performance as similar gasoline models
The Th!nk FC5 was based on the 2000 Ford Focus and has most of its fuel cell system underneath the floor panel, so maximum passenger room and comfort could be attained. Ergonomically designed, the Th!nk FC5 also has usable storage in the rear of the vehicle.
In January 2000, Ford Motor Company chairman William Clay Ford Jr. and Ford Motor Company President and CEO Jac Nasser, were both on hand to unveil the Th!nk FC5 as well as the TH!NK Group.
In early 2003, Ford gave up ownership of Th!nk. In 2005, Th!nk rolled out its prototype Th!nk Hydrogen car. And in March 2006, a Norwegian investment group InSpire, including the original Think-founder Jan Otto Ringdal, acquired all of the assets of Th!nk Nordic.
Written by Hydro Kevin Kantola