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Ford reveals ‘On-the-Go H2O’ in car drinking fountain

As part of the 2017 World Changing Ideas Awards, Ford’s On-the-Go H2O has been selected as a finalist in both the Transportation and Developing-World Technology categories.

The awards, organised by US-based business and media magazine ‘Fast Company’, honours businesses, policies, projects and concepts that offer innovative solutions to the issues facing humanity.

On-the-Go H2O was developed by Ford engineers Doug Martin and John Rollinger. The pair brought the concept to life after an idea struck: what if cars could be a source of water? The system collects condensation from vehicle air conditioners, which usually just drips to the pavement below, then filters and pumps the fluid into a faucet located inside the car to provide drinking water.

Martin worked with colleague John Rollinger to bring the idea to life, creating an early prototype. Martin and Rollinger’s innovation is one of a number of inventions created by Ford employees in recent years. The increase in innovation – as measured by the brand's invention disclosures – is expected to top last year’s record of more than 6,000.

“All that water going to waste should be recovered to serve a purpose,” said Martin. “The real vision is that this idea could eventually help people who don’t have easy access to water, in remote locations such as the Australian Outback, for example.”

To test his idea, Martin discovered that a car can produce more than 64 ounces of water per hour, the equivalent of nearly four water bottles. Naturally, this means fewer roadside stops to pick up bottled water on a road trip, a nice convenience, along with fewer plastic bottles filling rubbish bins. However, Ford says the benefits extend much further, potentially curbing the global water crisis, which, according to the World Health Organisation, affects one in 10 people and leaves hundreds of millions without clean drinking water.

The project will appear in Fast Company’s April issue, which will celebrate the world changing ideas finalists.