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Automotive Fuel Cells Advance Toward Commercialization

Fuel Cell technology, especially for vehicles, inched ever closer to commercialization in 2002. Most of the major automotive manufacturers are now in some way involved in research, with a host of developments announced almost weekly. We should see fuel cell vehicles – fueled by fossil fuels until hydrogen infrastructure issues are handled – early next year. It’s certainly a story we will continue to follow.

Key related stories from 2002: UTC Fuel Cells to Develop Devices for Nissan – 2/22/2002 UTC Fuel Cells, a unit of United Technologies Corp. has signed development agreements with Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. to develop fuel cells and fuel cell components for vehicles. Renault, Nissan’s alliance partner, is also participating in the development projects. Fuel Cell Focus Coming from Ford – 4/4/2002 Ford Motor Company expects a fuel-cell-powered version of its Ford Focus sedan to be commercially available for use in company fleets by 2004. GM Tests Fuel Cell Truck – 5/7/2002 General Motors Corp. has demonstrated the world’s first drivable fuel cell vehicle that extracts hydrogen from gasoline to produce electricity. Toyota Advances Marketing of Fuel Cell-Electric Hybrid – 7/3/2002 Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., will start limited marketing of a fuel cell hybrid (FCHV) sport utility vehicle (SUV) in Japan and the U.S. around the end of this year, much earlier than originally planned. The earlier launch reflects the successful results of a year of testing in the two countries of the FCHV-4 prototype, and Toyota’s response to society’s expectations for cleaner mobility solutions.