A US$15 million joint venture, destined to become, this year, the first volume producer of alkaline fuel cells in the world, was announced by Astris Energi Inc. a developer of alkaline fuel cell technology, and CareAction Inc., a diversified concern based near Montreal, Quebec.Mississauga Ontario, Canada – February 12, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] A new CAN$15 million (US$9.8 million) joint venture between Astris Energi Inc, and CareAction Inc. plans to create the first volume level production of alkaline fuel cells in the world. A new company, named Astris Transportation Systems Inc. (ATSI) has been formed and will shortly begin installing a production facility in the Montreal area. Astris is licensing its alkaline fuel cell technology generated over the past l5 years to the joint venture, while CareAction will provide skilled engineering and production management as well as financing. Generous Quebec government support is also anticipated. Astris owns 40 percent of the equity in the new venture with CareAction holding the remaining 60 percent. CareAction is also investing in Astris. The Astris technical staff, headed by Jiri K. Nor, a pioneer in alkaline fuel cell development and now president of Astris, will continue its research and consumer product development activities under contract to ATSI. It will pursue both advancement of the three electric energy sources the company now has and the addition of more powerful systems to the ATSI product line. Their first project will be to adapt the Astris E7-MC250 fuel cell generator to power the Zenn electric vehicle designed for use by the disabled and seniors, as well as the general public. The Zenn is a product of Feel Good Cars Inc., an affiliate of CareAction, which is a leading innovator in the conversion of minivans for this market. The first fuel cell-powered Zenn will be rolled out before the end of this year, followed by volume production of fuel cell power units for both stationary and mobile applications, including use in golf cars, neighborhood electric vehicles and other people and material movers. Astris already has developed a 2 kW unit which has been powering a golf car for more than two years, as well as a 4 kW system to provide electricity, heat and hot water for a home, boat or small business. Its new POWERSTACK MC250 fuel cell, nearly twice as powerful as its predecessors, is now undergoing tests and will be used in the Zenn vehicle and brought into full production by ATSI over the next two years.