The Big Three automakers should take a page
from Japans biggest car maker and step-up development of zero-pollution
fuel cell vehicles, says Fuel Cells 2000.
In an October 7 (1996) letter to the chairmen
of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, Fuel Cells 2000 Executive Director
Robert R. Rose noted that Toyota Motor Corp. plans to unveil a new electric
vehicle powered by a fuel cell on October 13.
Rose observed the Toyota vehicle, based on the
companys RAV4L V recreational vehicle, will have an energy efficiency
of more than 60 percent, two to three times that of gasoline engines. It
also will include a Toyota-made fuel cell that will operate with a solid
hydride fuel storage technology.
These developments appear to embody significant
and exciting advances in zero-emission vehicle technology, said Rose
in his letter. But he added the Toyota announcement raises substantial
concerns about the state of the U.S. fuel cell program.
Although the United States pioneered the
development of fuel cells, Rose remarked, there can be no question
the U.S. has lost the lead in fuel cell vehicles. He added that efforts
by American auto makers are continuing to plod along with paper studies
and bench testing.
Rose noted President Clintons observation
in the Oct. 6 presidential debate that the United States had regained world
leadership in automobile sales.
It would be a tragedy if the United States
once again fell behind its world competitors and lost market share because
of inattention to technological development, Rose said. Make
no mistake about it: The car crossing that bridge to the future may well
be powered by a fuel cell.
Rose observed that the Toyota news follows recent
fuel cell advances by other overseas manufacturers, including Daimler-Benz,
Volkswagen, and Volvo.
Germanys Daimler-Benz unveiled a fuel
cell-powered car in May, saying the technology represented the industrys
most realistic hope for mass-producing a practical, pollution-free automobile.
Volkswagen and Volvo recently have initiated efforts to develop fuel cell
A fuel cell converts hydrogen and oxygen into
electric power. The only by-product is water.
Rose urged the American car makers to reassess
and revitalize your current programs in light of the competition from offshore.
For more information, contact Bob Rose or Bernie
Ksiazek, Fuel Cells 2000, 1625 K Street, NW, Suite 790, Washington, DC 20006,
U.S.A. Phone: +1.202.785.9620. Fax: +1.202.785.9629.
Big Three Urged to Match Toyota, Other Overseas Fuel Cell
©1996. All Rights Reserved. A Publication of
the National Hydrogen Association.
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