Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ford, Daimler, Nissan Agree To Push Hydrogen Fuel

Rare is the moment when companies put competing tactics aside to focus on the greater good of their industry.  Thankfully, Daimler AG, the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and Ford Motor Co. have done just that.  The three automotive monoliths have pledged a joint investment in commercialized hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.

(L-R) Raj Nair, Group Vice President, Global Product Development, Ford Motor Company, Prof. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development and Mitsuhiko Yamashita, Member of the Board of Directors and Executive Vice President of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., supervising Research and Development.
Fuel-cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) technology is especially promising because one of the chief components- oxygen- is pulled into the engine literally out of thin air to react with stored hydrogen.  The by-products are heat and water vapor; zero negative effect on the environment to add to the ridiculous cost-efficiency of the combustion/ process.

An FCEV blueprint for Nissan's TERRA 
Nissan's Executive Vice President agrees:  "Fuel cell electric vehicles are the obvious next step", says Mitsuhiko Yamashita,  "to complement today's battery electric vehicles as our industry embraces more sustainable transportation."

Now, it's important to stress these are automotive companies.  They specialize in the vehicles; the existing infrastructure for hydrogen fuel cells is sorely lacking in the United States.  Stations that can supply and "refuel" fuel cell vehicles are pretty scant....ten, total, according to the US Department of Energy.

Make no mistake about it, however:  this is a watershed moment for the auto landscape of the future.  Roads, Interstates, Rest Stops, fueling stations around not just the US but the entire globe will change.  Major companies who own the tech want to supply it, and the green-minded consumer community demand it.  This may be a first step, but it is a giant one.

Donal Thoms-Cappello is a freelance writer for Rotor Clip Company.

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