Monday, August 25, 2008
Planet Ark (link) reported that hydrogen cars from 9 manufacturers (Honda, GM, Toyota Motor Corp, Ford Motor Co, BMW AG, Daimler AG, Hyundai Motor Co, Nissan Motor Co, and Volkswagen AG) completed a US DOT backed cross-country trip from Portland, Maine, to Los Angeles. But, flatbed trucks carried the cars over stretches without hydrogen fueling stations including a long stretch from Missouri to New Mexico. There are about 60 hydrogen stations in the United States; only two are open to the public without prior arrangement.
Honda Motor Co has begun leasing about 200 FXC Clarity fuel-cell autos in Southern California and General Motors Corp is testing about 100 fuel-cell Chevy Equinox SUVs on the road. But those deployments, as well as the autos in the road tour, are experimental, since the technology is not ready for showrooms. Carmakers have spent billions on their development in hopes of capitalizing on a public desire to buy cleaner cars and a US push to reduce its dependence on foreign oil. However, the National Research Council indicates that, even in a best-case scenario, automakers will only sell about 2 million electric vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells by 2020.
The United States consumes about a quarter of the world's oil, and imports 70 percent of its crude. Cars and trucks consume 44 percent of oil used in the country and contribute about a fifth of the carbon dioxide emissions. CO2 makes up nearly 90 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions.