Take Your Future Trip in the Space Age Ford Airstream

Phoenix Arizona Auto Enthusiasts:  Imagine a modern Ford Green-Hybrid SUV, crossed with a vintage Airstream Trailer, crossed with a 1960s era NASA Space Capsule, and you are getting the general idea behind the Ford Airstream concept.

The Ford Airstream is a new, high concept vehicle, which originally made it’s debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.  The Ford Airstream is a retro futuristic crossover SUV that was inspired by the classic Airstream RV trailers of the mid 20th century.  The modern Ford Airstream concept includes a plug-in hybrid hydrogen fuel cell drive system, called HySeries Drive, that operates exclusively on electrical power. Ford calls the Ford Airstream Concept “a futuristic look at crossovers” as “modern touring vehicle(s)” for recreational travelers. The concept vehicle was designed in cooperation with Airstream, a division of Thor Industries.

The Airstream Concept has a 1960s vintage space age aesthetic, which should be very familiar to Phoenix Valley residents, as many of the very distinct monuments of Phoenix Valley architecture were erected in the early and mid 1960s, during the height of the space race.

According to Ford spokesmen, the interior was inspired by spacecraft images and environments portrayed in the film 2011: A Space Odyssey.  It is described as a lounge atmosphere, with an instrument panel including flush-mounted, touch-sensitive controls and a single multifunction gauge display with primary driving information.  A center-mounted dual-view screen provides a camera view and secondary driver-oriented information, and also allows the front-seat passenger to web-surf and view streaming media via a built in mobile hotspot.

This vehicle was built for what many people consider to be the new space race: The Green Tech Movement.  The Hyseries Drive powerplant system was developed with partial funding from the United States Department of Energy, and is currently being tested on a prototype version of the Ford Edge.  The Airstream Concept’s wheels are driven by electric motors, which are powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. The hydrogen fuel cell system recharges the vehicle’s battery pack as needed, as a portable generator, while the vehicle can also be plugged in to recharge between trips.

The HySeries Drive delivers the equivalent of a combined city/highway equivalent fuel economy of 41 mpg. In pure-battery mode, the Ford Airstream Concept is designed to travel about 25 miles before the hydrogen-powered fuel cell begins operating to recharge the vehicle’s 336-volt lithium-ion battery pack. With a full load of hydrogen, the range increases another 280 miles, for a total of 305 miles. The sole exhaust emission from the operating vehicle is water vapor.

The Airstream exterior includes asymmetric doors. The passenger side door is a power clamshell hatch that runs two-thirds the length of the vehicle for loading of passengers and cargo, while the crossover includes a rear hatch for cargo loading.

Phoenix Arizona motorists interested in the Ford Airstream concept can keep and eye out for a production model in the near future to be hitting Phoenix Valley area Ford dealers.  Also, with the wealth of funding that went into the development of the unique sustainable energy technology featured in this vehicle, a Phoenix Arizona resident could reasonably expect to see the Ford Airstream concepts showing up under the hood of current production models within the next year or two.

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