The city of Burbank, California, is partnering with the California South Coast Area Quality Management District (AQMD) to convert five Toyota Priuses to hydrogen-electric hybrids for testing and use in the Burbank fleet.
The converted cars will use hydrogen as a fuel in the existing internal combustion engine rather than gasoline. The Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive will be unmodified.
As part of the initiative, first proposed by AQMD in June 2003, the agency will spend $1.4 million to convert the Priuses and build the requisite hydrogen fueling station for the city. The Burbank city council voted yesterday to spend $349,375 to buy the basic cars, to pay for their fueling costs over five years and to provide utilities and related services for the fueling station.
The conversion of the Priuses and the construction of the station should be complete by October or November of this year. City managers will assign the hydrogen Priuses to operations which tend to accumulate higher-than-average mileage so as to provide the best testing ground possible. (City staff report.)
The new $1.8 million hydrogen-hybrid project comes as the city returns eight of its leased nine electric RAV4 SUVs to Toyota. (LA Daily News)
SCAQMD last year awarded Quantum Fuel Systems a $2.3 million contract for the engineering, design and development of the hydrogen fuel systems for a fleet of 30 Prius hybrids as part of the five-city proposal for the testing of hydrogen hybrid Priuses.
Besides Burbank, the other cities targeted were Santa Monica, Riverside, Santa Ana and Ontario. Burbank appears to be the first to have actually committed its share of the funds to the project.
Quantum is developing the complete OEM-level hydrogen internal combustion engine fuel system, including both the injection system and hydrogen storage system. Included in the fuel systems will be the company’s fuel injectors, fuel rails, electronic control system and software, hydrogen storage and a customized turbocharger.
Quantum will also integrate these hydrogen fuel systems into the vehicles and perform complete validation including crash testing, engine and vehicle durability, and emissions testing to ensure compliance.
Quantum will offer the vehicles with two hydrogen storage configurations: compressed gaseous hydrogen storage system or an optional metal hydride storage system.
AQMD initiated the project as a way to gain real-world experience with a hydrogen fleet, compare different fueling strategies and hydrogen production methods, as well as to help to educate the public on this relatively new alternative vehicle fuel.