Later this year, UPS will begin making some of its deliveries with a hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle. The road test is a partnership between the federal government and private industry. It’s expected to help make fuel cells widely available in passenger cars one day. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Michael Leland has more:
Later this year, UPS will begin making some of its deliveries with a hydrogen fuel cell-powered
vehicle. The road test is a partnership between the federal government and private industry. It’s
expected to help make fuel cells widely available in passenger cars one day. The Great Lakes
Radio Consortium’s Michael Leland has more:
To hear fuel-cell backers talk, this is what the future of the automotive industry sounds like:
(sound of engine)
It’s a fuel-cell powered engine, in this case, a Mercedes A-Class. UPS will use the station
wagon-sized vehicle to deliver express letters and small packages in southeast Michigan.
Outgoing EPA Administrator Christie Whitman calls this a big step for fuel cell technology.
“Those vehicles are going to be carrying more than just a package for an individual. They are
going to be carrying the future. The future of a new technology that holds enormous promise for
cleaner, healthier air for this nation.”
UPS hopes to expand the test next year, when it puts fuel cell-powered Dodge vans on the road.
Tom Weidemeyer is the Chief Operating Officer of UPS. He says the vehicles will be rolling
laboratories as the company looks for ways to be both competitive and environmentally-friendly.
“In our viewpoint, this is not a test. This is just part of our ongoing commitment to working with our
communities and improving the environment in which we operate.”
Hydrogen fuel cells use hydrogen gas and oxygen to create electricity to power a vehicle. The
only emission from these engines is water vapor. But, right now, a fuel-cell engine costs about
ten times more to build than a conventional engine. Daimler-Chrysler head Dieter Zetsche says
this and other tests of fuel-cell vehicles will help researchers find cheaper ways to make the
“And you can only solve those by starting to do it, by really putting the technology in the field and by
starting to get some manufacturing experience and driving the cost out of the system. You can’t do that in the lab or at a desk.”
The fuel-cell vehicles will be limited to southeast Michigan because they will have to refuel at a
hydrogen station to be built at the EPA in Ann Arbor. The test will also help researchers find
ways to safely and efficiently run the network of refueling stations that will be needed before
hydrogen fuel cells are widely available.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Michael Leland.