Las Vegas, July 31, 2017 – Owners of Ford vehicles who never leave home without a water bottle in tow may soon face the day when they can depend on their vehicle to produce the water for them, if company engineers finesse an innovation to meet their collective vision.
The invention, fittingly called On-the-Go H2O, collects condensation from a vehicle's air conditioning system, collects it in a reservoir, filters it and then releases it through a faucet attached to a cup holder in the center console. The experimental technology holds the potential of adding another compelling amenity to Ford vehicles, not to mention diverting untold numbers of water bottles from U.S. landfills.
Of all the innovations Ford has introduced in the last few years – especially with regard to producing more electrified vehicles and integrating a bevy of sustainable materials in trucks, cars and SUVs – this is one Brad Cambridge believes may resonate with customers the most. And Cambridge ought to know since he is the General Manager of Ford Country, the premiere Ford dealership in Nevada.
“Can you imagine the look on people's faces when they see how a Ford vehicle can produce drinkable water right before their eyes?” Cambridge said. “They'll be floored, even if they're not behind the wheel of a Mustang!”
Peru billboard triggered engineer's creative “spigot”
The On-the-Go H2O project represents a classic case of how Ford's team of innovators constantly keep their eyes and ears open for emerging trends and ideas, cull and synthesize information from various sources and then converge the possibilities with a “why not?” idealism.
In this case, Ford engineer Ken Miller spotted a picture of a billboard in Lima, Peru, that advertised how the city gathered condensed humid air into drinking water for residents. “Why not” take that basic idea one step further, Miller thought. Condensation from vehicle air conditioner condensers usually drips to the road below, so why couldn't this condensation be harnessed for drinking water?
By Miller's calculation, a car could produce about 1.9 liters of water every hour. Intrigued, Miller ran the idea past fellow powertrain controls engineer, Doug Martin. Together, they brainstormed and then sought a patent for On-the-Go H2O – one of about 70 vehicle patents Martin has secured in more than 20 years at Ford.
Invention could hold the key to global water crisis
The team is focusing on the filtration system, which would employ a 0.1-micron filter to remove organic impurities before it flows through a faucet and into a cup holder in the center console of a Ford vehicle. The same system could be used to filter polluted water from other sources, raising Miller's hopes of applications, well beyond those that could be enjoyed by Ford owners. Pointedly, it could benefit the nearly 800 million people worldwide who lack access to clean drinking water.
For these reasons, Miller said it would be “exciting to see this invention go into production.” Cambridge wholeheartedly agrees.
“Mr. Miller is very humble,” Cambridge said. “The reality is, Ford could potentially help alleviate the global water crisis. And that would be an accomplishment so big, it's almost difficult to comprehend.”
Ford customers track innovations
Closer to home, Cambridge said Ford customers are energized by the company's plans to release 13 electrified vehicles in the next five years, including hybrid versions of the iconic Mustang and Ford F-150 and a fully electric SUV with an estimated range of at least 300 miles.
And customers continue to inquire about how Ford integrates sustainable materials in vehicles – from under the hood to rear storage – to reduce their weight and energy consumption. These materials include castor oil, cellulose, coconut fiber, nectar, recycled bottles and soybeans.
“All of these inventions take once far-fetched notions and make them reality,'' Cambridge said. “I think this is a driving force behind what makes owning a Ford a hip and socially conscious choice.”
About Ford Country Las Vegas
Ford Country Las Vegas, part of the Gaudin Motor Company family, was established in 1996 and continues to lead in the industry as a top 100 Ford dealership in the country. Located in the Henderson Valley Automall, Ford Country is made up of highly trained professionals who share a steadfast commitment to its customers and their needs. Ford Country is designed to serve as both a credited dealership, anchored by a state-of-the-art open showroom, and a full service automotive department that features Quick Lane maintenance for customer convenience. The facilities also invite guests to dine at Ford Country’s popular Mustang Sally’s Diner, adjacent to the showroom and features 60s style décor and delicious diner-style cuisine. Ford Country is home to Motorsport Enthusiast, a custom shop that offers automotive accessories and apparel. For more information, visit www.FordCountryLV.com.