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Secretary Ray LaHood and Representative Mike Thompson Visit California Fuel Cell Partnership

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sacramento, Calif. — On a tour of transportation projects in California’s 1st Congressional District, Sec. LaHood and Rep. Thompson stopped first at the California Fuel Cell Partnership. The gentlemen toured the CaFCP facility, saw the old hydrogen station and learned about new stations, and took a ride on AC Transit’s fuel cell bus.

The Department of Transportation, a CaFCP member, has long been interested in zero-emission vehicles. The AC Transit HyRoad program is partially funded by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). CaFCP’s automaker members held a briefing and “show and tell” with the fuel cell passenger vehicles at DOT headquarters in February. That visit with Sec. LaHood piqued his interest in fuel cell technology.

During the tour, LaHood commented about how impressed he was with the variety of vehicles that can drive on domestically produced fuel. He reiterated how important it is to continue supporting hydrogen and fuel cells for the commercial market.

Representative Thompson, who was on hand when the CaFCP facility opened in 2000 and has visited several times since then, is one of 14 members of Congress to sign a letter that calls for the Department of Energy to continue support and invest in fuel cell and hydrogen energy programs.

During short remarks to the audience after the tour, Thompson introduced LaHood by saying, “Sec. LaHood gets it. He knows the things you are doing at the California Fuel Cell Partnership are making a difference.”

LaHood called the investment in hydrogen for transportation “money well spent.” He told the audience that the new transportation bill will call for more investment in alternative transportation than ever before. He promised to continue to work with Congress to invest in projects like AC Transit’s fuel cell bus program. “We will continue to invest in the projects that provide the people of California with the types of transportation they want,” he concluded.

Fuel cell vehicles are real and ready for the early commercial market. Hundreds are on the road now, and new hydrogen stations are preparing for the thousands of passenger vehicles and dozens of buses coming as soon as 2015. FCVs combine the performance and emissions-free driving of an electric vehicle with the range and convenience of a traditional vehicle. FCVs powered by hydrogen reduce pollution, greenhouse gases, energy use and dependence on imported oil.

DOT has been active in heavy-duty vehicles, such as transit buses and trucks, fuel cell powered watercraft and aircraft, as well as safety with pipelines and on-road delivery.

Catherine Dunwoody, CaFCP’s executive director said, “Today’s visit demonstrates Federal government commitment to a full spectrum of electric vehicles that will meet customer’s needs for range, durability, refill time and comfort. Fuel cell vehicles powered by hydrogen are a crucial part of the electric drive portfolio that will reduce our country’s dependence on oil and provide a cleaner, healthier future for our children.”

Please see www.cafcp.org for more information about fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen stations in California, and for high-resolutions photos and video from today’s visit.

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