DoE To Slightly Fund Hydrogen Fueling Stations
|   Monday, March 25, 2013
Just a while ago, in 2009, the Department of Energy was not so close to the idea of hydrogen fuel cars and their infrastructure. Steven Chu, the Energy Secretary back then, was quite skeptical in that respect. However, things seem to have happen in the meantime that have lead to him having a change of heart. That happened last summer to be precise. Right now, it seems that the DoE will embark on a campaign to promote hydrogen fueled cars, which has been tentatively called H2USA.


According to Automotive News, this is more or less a campaign that aims to comvince municipalities and the industry that there actually is support for further testing of hydrogen cars. It also aims to promote the symbolism of hydrogen as a fuel source for cars. It seems that this campaign will not be serioulsy funded, which can be interpreted both ways, depending on whether you are a supporter of hydrogen cars or not.

One of the program's points will be advocating for funding and construction of hydrogen refueling stations. These will be needed if Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai will be bringing hydrogen vehicles to the market in 2015. Of course, it remains to be seen if those automakers or others keep their word. Also, 2015 is just a reference year; it could easily be pushed back.
The aforementioned carmakers think that hydrogen-fueled cars are important still. They are one way to travel with zero emissions without having to worry about range anxiety, a feeling associated with almost all battery-electric vehicles today.

Naturally, there are some who don't have the same view point on this matter. Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn said that hydrogen cars are not viable as a future technology. This happened just 2 weeks ago.
Coming as a sort of proof of that statement, we learn that only 200 hydrogen powered cars are on the road in the US right now. Most of them are operating as part of various test programs.

According to Shad Balch, GM's Manager, Environment & Energy Policy and Communications, via Green Car Reports, General Motors has nearly 25 of its "Project Driveway" Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell Vehicles traveling the American roads.

"We have a dozen in Hawaii and two in California at the Camp Pendleton Marine base, participating in a Department of Defense program. We're also putting miles on six vehicles as part of a data-driven program by the DoE."
Honda is in the game too, with 25 of its FCX Clarity fuel-cell cars leased to California drivers. The mid-size sedan was the very first hydrogen vehicle to go to the public in 2008 when it went on sale.

Mercedes-Benz has a fleet of to 70 B Class F-Cell vehicles operating since 2011 in Northern and Southern California. Mercedes-Benz has recently partnered with Ford and Nissan to develop hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, but the statement has a 2 year delay in the plan to develop a production-ready vehicle.

As a comparison, there will be 500000 plug-in electric vehicles on US roads by 2015. It seems that the priorities are more or less obvious, wouldn't you think?
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