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April 28, 2004
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DaimlerChrysler, BP to Partner with U.S. Department of Energy to Bring Hydrogen-Powered Cars to US Highways

Project to Provide Real-World Experience for Emerging Fuel Cell Technology

DaimlerChrysler and BP plc will collaborate with the U.S. Department of Energy and other organizations to field-test fuel cell vehicles in the United States beginning this year, the next step in bringing the clean, efficient technology to broad market distribution.

The vehicle test program is part of a five-year "Controlled Hydrogen Fleet and Infrastructure Demonstration and Validation Project," funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy. The project is designed to gain real-world experience with fuel cell vehicles, to address related issues such as fuels and fueling infrastructure, and to educate the public about this developing technology.

 

DaimlerChrysler has proposed to supply their fuel cell vehicles to fleets in certain US markets. BP proposes to provide the refueling infrastructure to support the fueling needs of those fleets.

"Fuel cell vehicles have great promise as a highly fuel efficient, virtually emission-free transportation in the years to come. But there is much to learn and a lot of work to be done before that promise becomes reality," said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, President and CEO of the Chrysler Group of DaimlerChrysler.

"This collaboration with government, energy providers and educators brings together the right partners to address these challenges," Zetsche said.

According to Ross Pillari, president BP America, "We are convinced that programs such as this supported by the US DoE will provide the impetus for future development of hydrogen production and fueling technologies."

Fuel cell cars are electric vehicles that make their own electric power on board by combining hydrogen from a fuel source and oxygen from the air along a special membrane called a PEM (proton exchange membrane). Fuel cells are significantly more efficient than combustion engines, and the only exhaust produced is water.

"We have demonstrated technical feasibility with our concept vehicles over the past decade," said Dr. Andreas Truckenbrodt, head of fuel cell and advanced powertrain development for DaimlerChrysler.

"The next step is to demonstrate that fuel cell powered vehicles are 'Fit for Daily Use.' We need to get field experience on the road in daily use to determine how our customers use the vehicles and what their needs are. This partnership with the U.S. government is an important part of that process," Dr. Truckenbrodt said.

"BP has a wealth of experience in producing, distributing and selling a range of fuels and we are applying this experience to hydrogen," said Carol Battershell, BP director of alternative fuels. "This program will give us the opportunity to grow the number of hydrogen fuelling facilities we have in operation, which will expand our understanding of the technical, social and economic challenges we face in bringing hydrogen to our customers."

In addition to DaimlerChrysler, BP, and the Department of Energy, other participants include:

* DTE Energy Ventures, the Detroit-based energy technology company, will supply hydrogen fuel.

* The California Fuel Cell Partnership, a fuel cell consortium based near Sacramento, and NextEnergy, the Detroit-based alternative energy education and research organization.

* Academic institutions, including the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan; Lansing Community College; three branches of the University of California (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Riverside); and SRI International.

(April 27, 2004)


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