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<< News >>

National News

Saturday, 3 September, 2005 0:45 AM

Hydrogen Cars: A Look into the Future

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

The GM Sequel Hydrogen Vehicle at the 2005 NAIAS.

by Jason Rzucidlo
AmericaJR@AmericaJR.com

In America, we have the technology and resources available to build hydrogen cars. They will lessen our dependence on foreign oil companies. Hydrogen cars combine hydrogen gas and oxygen from the air to operate.

Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of sources including gasoline, methanol, ethanol, natural gas and a process called electrolysis. Hydrogen is the first element on the Periodic Table of Elements and is the most abundant on Earth. So why not use it?

There are many benefits of driving a hydrogen vehicle. First, there will be zero or close to zero smog-forming emissions released. You will have increased fuel efficiency. You will have lower maintenance costs and higher driving range (nearly 300 miles without a fill-up). Even after all that, you will be able to operate electronic devices such as radios, GPS and the internet.

What's the one reason stopping automakers? Cost. If hydrogen cars are mass produced, it will drive the cost down to build these type of cars. Right now, automakers are focused on building gasoline-type cars and introducing hybrids.

I am issuing a challenge to the Big Three Automakers in Detroit. Someone needs to step up to the plate and say: Yes, I will spend the money now to make money later. Isn't that the way business works? GM, Ford, or Chrysler should begin mass producing these hydrogen vehicles so that we can free ourselves from gasoline and the foreign oil companies.

At the 2005 NAIAS in Detroit, I interviewed a spokesman from General Motors. The car pictured above is called the GM Sequel. Matt Erdey from GM said, "There should be a prototype by the end of 2005. You can get 300 miles per fill up. The chassis alone costs $34,000 so the overall cost would be between $60,000 to $70,000 today."

GM expects to mass produce these hydrogen vehicles in the year 2010. I believe we need to start earlier. Just after Hurricane Katrina, gas prices shot up to over $3.00 per gallon. The need is now. Let's make it happen! It will definitely be a question that I will bring up when attending the Auto show in January.

Ford has introduced the Model U concept. It is going to run on hydrogen with an internal combustion engine. It will be 25% more efficient then gas-powered cars. It is going to be a hybrid with hydrogen and electric power. It will come with a 300-volt battery pack for extra power.

The Model U will hold 7 kilograms of hydrogen. Ford is working alongside BP to open hydrogen fueling stations.

I was surprised to find out how many Hydrogen fueling stations are already in the state of Michigan. There is a BP Refueling station in Southfield, MI that is fully operational. Another location is the EPA National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Lab, now open in Ann Arbor. GM operates a Hydrogen fueling station at it's plant in Milford. Ford operates one in Dearborn.

Hydrogen stations will open soon at the NextEnergy Center on the campus of Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. Another BP Refueling Station will open soon in the city of Taylor.

A study at the Stanford University estimates that the price of hydrogen would cost somewhere between $1.12 and $3.20 per gallon at a refueling station.

The Hydrogen Car Company creates, designs and sells vehicles that run only on hydrogen to minimize air pollution and our dependency on foreign oil. Some cars that they have available include the Shelby Cobra, Shelby Series I, Ford Explorer, Ford Expedition, Lincoln Aviator and Navigator. They also have hydrogen models of the Ford F-150 pickup truck as well as the Ford Ranger.

To order from the Hydrogen Car Company, please call 323-936-9303 or send an e-mail to cars@h2carco.com.

According to an article in the National Geographic Magazine, switching from gas-powered engines to hydrogen fuel cell cars would save from 3,700 to 6,400 deaths annually. Those are caused by pollution.

In California, something called the "Hydrogen Highway" is being created. It will include hydrogen refueling stations at 20 miles apart to move towards a cleaner lifestyle. The vision is for the government and private agencies to work together and make progress. It will serve as a model for the rest of the country.

In a recent article on CNet, Katrina Morley director of power train control electronics at Visteon said, "Within 10 years, you are going to see the transition to alternative fuel sources. Eventually internal combustion engines will die off, but it'll take 20 to 30 years." This gives us a time table to when changes will go into effect.

Face it: One day there will be no gasoline. It could be tomorrow, next week, next month or years to come. We need to be prepared. The time is now. Our country needs to be mass producing cars that run on methods other than gasoline.

PHOTO © BP p.l.c

A BP Hydrogen Refueling Station in Barcelona, Spain.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

The Ford Model U Hydrogen Concept

 

Sources:

http://roadrally2005.org/fuel-vehl.html

http://www.nextenergy.org/industryservices/hydrogeninstallations.asp

http://www.new-cars.com/concept/2003/ford-u-concept.html

http://www.h2carco.com/home.html

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/06/0623_050623_hydrogenfuel_2.html

http://news.com.com/2102-7342_3-5845817.html?tag=st.util.print

http://www.bp.com/genericarticle.do?categoryId=4453&contentId=7004950

 

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