A collection of vehicles powered by hydrogen are traveling in an unprecedented trip across the country, scheduled to end in Los Angeles on August 23rd. As part of The Hydrogen Road Tour , presented by the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFP), U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Energy, and National Hydrogen Association, these vehicles will cross the United States, from Maine to Los Angeles, visiting 31 cities in 18 states over 13 days, giving people across America a chance to interact with the vehicles and see how they are fueled. At the time of this posting, they are halfway across the United States!
Vehicles participating in the Hydrogen Road Tour include those from BMW, Daimler, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen, as well as buses from transit agencies and universities. Fuel cell vehicles used electric motors powered by electricity from hydrogen stored on board the vehicle. The current generation of FCVs promise to be two to three times more efficient than a gasoline vehicle, and more efficient than a hybrid vehicle. The only tailpipe emission is water vapor.
"The fuel cell vehicles in the caravan will drive roughly 20,000 combined miles and use domestically produced hydrogen to reach Los Angeles," stated CaFCP's executive director, Catherine Dunwoody. "During this trip, the vehicles will emit zero pollutants." For an itinerary of remaining stops, please visit www.hydrogenroadtour.com .
The trip culminates in "Hydrogen Day 2008" at the California Science Center with a special event open to the pubic on August 23, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Visitors to the free event will be able to test drive or ride in fuel cell vehicles from CaFCP members Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen. The exhibit will display demonstrations of fuel cells, hydrogen production, and fueling; and educate visitors about how government and industry are working together to bring this technology to California's roads. For further information about the Science Center, please visit goto.californiasciencecenter.org/fuelcell.
The Hydrogen Road Tour's goal is to showcase the progress that industry and government have made together, and emphasize the next steps to commercialization evan as R&D continues. "Together, we can show the country--and the world--how individual state and local programs are making a national change," Dunwoody said. Some automakers, such as Chevrolet, Honda, and Volkswagen are taking the first steps to market by leasing a limited number of FCVs in selected areas. Many expect to see commercial rollout in the 2015-2020 time frame.
"Bringing these vehicles to market requires continued commitment from government and industry," Dunwoody continued. "Building convenient, accessible hydrogen stations is crucial in the next few years."
Vehicles are filling their hydrogen tanks at a number of the 61 hydrogen stations that are operational today, though for the most part, the vehicles will use mobile stations from Air Products & Chemicals, Inc., and Linde. Both companies have been providing hydrogen worldwide for decades.
Most hydrogen in the U.S. today is created from natural gas. According to well-to-wheels studies, when hydrogen from natural gas is used in a FCV, greenhouse gas emissions are about 55% less than a comparable conventional vehicle. When the hydrogen is made from renewable sources, such as water or biomass, the GHGs are zero.
Are you interested in learning more about hydrogen fuel cell vehicles? CaFP also offers public tours of its West Sacramento facility on the fourth Friday of each month. (The next one is being held on August 29, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.) Pre-registered visitors can learn about CaFCP, tour a hydrogen station, and ride in a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle!
The CaFCP coordinated the logistics for the trip with regional hydrogen, fuel cell, and Clean Cities programs. CaFCP is a collaboration of organizations including auto manufacturers, energy providers, fuel cell technology companies, and government agencies working together to promote the commercialization of fuel cell vehicles and educate the public about how hydrogen and fuel cell vehicle technology will contribute to our long-term strategy for air quality, climate protection, and energy diversity. More information about the California Fuel Cell Partnership is available at www.cafcp.org.