The Ford F-250 Super Chief it was conceived as a veritable beast of burden that could use not one or two, but three fuels to function. All an exercise of power in the form of a wild pick-up that the blue oval mark was marked on the occasion of the already distant Detroit Motor Show in 2006.
It was simply a concept car, a concept design that was never made beyond the sample unit, but because of its resounding and unusual motorization, its story is fascinating.
Powerful design, luxurious railway design
The denomination Super Chief evoked the mighty locomotive Super Chief, used by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe rail line, which connected Chicago with Los Angeles, among other cities in the United States.
The Super Chief was the first diesel locomotive in charge of pulling luxurious Pullman cars that even had air conditioning, as early as 1936, and even today it is an icon of rail transport in the American country.
|6,70 m||2,40 m||1,98 m|
Ford’s use of the Super Chief designation it was not a mere nominative question. Moving away from the line followed by the recent F-series trucks, the Ford F-250 Super Chief was an acknowledgment of the aesthetics of the train that had united the United States of America for decades.
That very robust appearance established a basis in the design of Ford pick-ups that has even reached later models, with the brutal Ford F-150 Raptor as a sign of the excess, and even the Ford Ranger Raptor in her role as a little but bully sister.
Inside, what aspired to be the most luxurious pick-up of the moment boasted exquisite materials combined with a sober line. Lit by a wide paneled glass ceiling, the interior was inlaid with walnut wood, polished aluminum, and aniline-dyed Spinneybeck leather.
This created an atmosphere worthy of the most epicurean occupants. There would be four occupants who would make use of those armchairs with arms that the Ford F-250 Super Chief had for seats, complementing them with footstools that, like retractable footrests under the floor, would give the Ford pick-up the atmosphere of the Sleeping cars of the iconic Super Chief railroad.
The designers of the Ford F-250 Super Chief were aware of the enormous size of their pick-up. So much so that they developed a protection system called BlockerBeam, a passive protection measure so that in the event of a collision with a smaller car, that is, 99% of the time, the floor of the pick-up would deform, absorbing good part of the energy released in the impact and thus avoiding the embedment of the other vehicle.
Tri-Fuel system: gasoline, ethanol or hydrogen
From the cockpit of the Ford F-250 Super Chief It stood out, above all, the enormous rudder arranged as a selector for the different positions of the transmission, and for the power supply. This, in a vehicle that was distinguished by its sistema Tri-Flex, with which it fed an engine V10 from 558 CV and 542 Nm using gasoline, E85 ethanol or hydrogen.
Hydrogen as a fuel to burn in the engine chamber It is a chemical element that we hardly ever consider today, as it is more inefficient than other energy sources. It is used to generate electricity in cars of fuel cell, and even so, its use is not widespread at all. However, in 2006 Ford was selling hydrogen as the best source for the future:
Hydrogen is the best clean fuel of the future. Not only is it the cleanest fuel, it is the most abundant element on Earth.
It is abundant … but it is not found in the earth’s crust in a natural and accessible way. For this reason, it is produced industrially from some chemical compound, be it water, biomass or hydrocarbons, plus subsequent storage, in addition to the necessary transport to the point of supply.
In this industrial production, hydrogen loses a good part of that cleaning proclaimed by Ford in 2006, firstly because each energy transformation generates losses, and secondly because of the need for associated logistics activities. All this leads to think that there are more efficient alternatives.
Back to the Ford F-250 Super Chief, and according to brand data, we have that, running on hydrogen, the supercharged V-10 engine provided up to a 12% improvement in fuel economy, if we compared it to a V engine -10 gasoline not supercharged; and 99% less emissions than the same pick-up engine running on gasoline.
Ford’s range was 500 miles (805 kilometers) that it was capable of having the Ford F-250 Super Chief with the exclusive use of hydrogen as fuel.
To achieve this, the engine had to couple a specific supercharger for use with hydrogen, due to the lower calorific value of this gas, compared to that provided by E85 ethanol or gasoline. This meant that to use hydrogen it was necessary to stop the engine. On the other hand, going from gasoline to ethanol, or vice versa, could be done with the engine running, by means of a simple button.
In fact, Ford took advantage of developments in the use of ethanol and gasoline as fuels in internal combustion engines since 1996, with 1.6 million units manufactured with flexible fuel systems in the years before the global launch of its Tri-Flex engine. And the idea was not only to strengthen the two-fuel systems, but to demonstrate that Ford was capable of putting a three-fuel system on the table.
The Ford F-250 Super Chief never made it into production. However, he did know commercial life in the form of a video game, both for Nintendo Wii and for PlayStation 2, with Ford Racing: Off Road. There, the Ford F-250 Super Chief was the ultimate car any gamer could aspire to. Nothing that should surprise us, considering its colossal appearance.