Hydrogen-Powered Fleet Tours America

If you are interested in what the future holds for hydrogen in the United States, you can, depending on where you live, see for yourself. Hydrogen Road Tour '08, a two-week, cross-country trek of a fleet of hydrogen-powered vehicles, is currently underway. The fleet began its tour Monday in Portland, Me., and by the time it crosses the finish line in Los Angeles on Aug. 23 it will have made 31 stops in 18 states. For a map that includes all the tour stops, go to http://hydrogenroadtour08.dot.gov/.

"Five years ago, President Bush challenged America's innovators to develop new hydrogen technologies to help reduce our nation's dependence on oil, and today we have a fleet of hydrogen vehicles making their way across the country," said Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Thomas Barrett. "These hydrogen vehicles are the non-polluting cars of tomorrow and they are being demonstrated today on our nation's roads."

Nine auto manufacturers, the Department of Energy, California Fuel Cell Partnership, National Hydrogen Association, and DOT are sponsoring the Hydrogen Road Tour to show that hydrogen vehicle and fueling technologies are approaching commercial availability, even as new research and development breakthroughs continue. "The technology necessary to put these cars on the road, and keep them moving, exists today," said Administrator Paul Brubaker of the DOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). "The question is not if hydrogen-powered vehicles will be available commercially, but when."

Brubaker noted that six transit agencies across the country currently operate hydrogen-powered buses, Southern California auto dealers are leasing hydrogen vehicles, and hundreds of individuals are driving hydrogen-powered vehicles in demonstration programs across the United States. And, he added, hydrogen can be used as a fuel for both a fuel cell vehicle or in a modified internal combustion engine. In addition, Brubaker said, hydrogen produces virtually no greenhouse gas emissions, leaving behind only water as a byproduct.

"Hydrogen is part of a balanced and diverse energy portfolio that will help address our future energy, environmental and economic security needs," DOE Under Secretary Clarence "Bud" Albright, Jr. said. "This tour provides Americans an opportunity to see what the future could hold for hydrogen powered vehicles, as we work to help make these vehicles cost competitive and available for all."

The tour will make 31 stops in 18 states, stretching from Maine to California. Hydrogen vehicles from BMW, Daimler, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen are making the journey, and they are being joined by hydrogen transit buses along the route. Air Products and Chemicals Inc. and Linde are providing mobile refueling stations and hydrogen fuel.

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