Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) added three DaimlerChrysler hydrogen fuel-cell (F-Cell) vehicles to its fleet—the fourth-largest alternative-fuel truck fleet in the US.
PG&E’s three F-Cells are part of DaimlerChrysler’s 100-plus fuel cell vehicle fleet; powered by Ballard stacks, it’s the largest fuel cell vehicle fleet in the world. The operational experience and technical data collected through daily use will help improve the next generation of fuel cell vehicles. The data collected will also contribute to the US Department of Energy’s Hydrogen Learning Demonstration Project and support the federal FreedomCAR Program.
This partnership with DaimlerChrysler makes perfect sense given natural gas is the bridge to hydrogen production. PG&E is involved in other demonstration projects to enhance gas-to-hydrogen reforming technology and to incorporate hydrogen-fueling capability into existing natural gas stations to accommodate fuel cell vehicles. PG&E’s well-established natural gas distribution infrastructure is poised to become part of the hydrogen highway network.—Bob Howard, PG&E vice president of gas transmission and distribution
PG&E’s participation in the two-year project test is three-fold:
Through daily operations, the F-Cells will help determine if hydrogen fuel-cell technology will meet fleet operations needs in the future;
Evaluating fueling technology and the potential impacts on gas and electric distribution systems;
Assisting fellow California Fuel Cell Partnership members DaimlerChrysler, Air Products and Chemicals, and British Petroleum in assessing their fuel cell and hydrogen technologies.
A variety of PG&E employees will be driving the DaimlerChrysler F-Cell vehicles including fleet mechanics, inspectors, service planning representatives, project managers and officers. PG&E expects to average at least 35 miles per day on each of the three vehicles.