Ford is claiming a favourable reaction from visitors looking over the Focus FCV Hybrid sedan on its stand at the British International Motor Show.

Spokesman Mike Peach said visitors were fascinated by the vehicle. “The reaction is uplifting. You see people’s eyes lighting up when they think about a car in the future with zero pollution.”

Powered by a fuel cell hybrid system and operating with gaseous hydrogen, the Focus is claimed to boast several attributes that an internal combustion engine will never have.

The hybrid vehicle runs without producing any type of toxic emissions and, according to Ford, breaks new ground in the levels of fuel efficiency it achieves.

Ford’s UK operation is, however, carefully glossing over the car’s recent breakdown in front of press at a rural location when it was first shown – in typical damp British weather – soon after arriving in the country. The hybrid drivetrain completely stumped local dealer technicians brought in to try and get the show car, which is based on a US-specification Focus sedan, started again.

Ford claims that modern petrol engines are at best capable of converting 30% of the energy potential of its fuel into power, a modern diesel unit can achieve around 40% yet the Focus hybrid can achieve a maximum efficiency of 90%, the highest specific output (power-from-fuel-ratio) of any known propulsion system.

A tank of hydrogen gives the vehicle a range of about 210 miles (320 kilometres). Researchers are now looking to increase that range.

Ford argues that hydrogen is a promising future source of energy, particularly because it can power fuel cells that produce no exhaust gas.

“Hydrogen will be the energy source of the future, and Ford has been dedicating major research and development resources towards the objective of harnessing its power to propel motor vehicles as soon as possible,” the company says.