The Model U concept is meant to reincarnate the simplicity, affordability, and configurability of the Model T. Unlike the T, which put rural America on wheels, the Model U is “urban contemporary transit,” says Ford design chief J Mays. Ford claims that the Model U, which is powered by the world’s first supercharged hydrogen internal combustion engine and a hybrid electric transmission, not only won’t hurt the environment, but will actually help it, because it’s not only a near-zero-emission vehicle, it’s also made of many agriculture-derived products, such as a canvas roof and tires derived from corn, soy-based seat foam, and sunflower-seed engine oil. The interior features slots in the floor, door panels, and instrument panel that allow components to be mounted, moved around, or added later. “The Model U is not science fiction,” maintains Mays, but don’t look for it at your Ford dealer anytime soon.
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