DaimlerChrysler announced that the company has hit the one million mile mark with its fuel cell vehicles. The figure represents the combined mileage of more than 100 fuel cell vehicles operating worldwide including the Mercedes-Benz F-Cell passenger cars, Dodge Sprinter medium-duty fuel cell powered vans and Citaro fuel cell powered transportation buses.
More than 30 DaimlerChrysler hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will be in place in the US by the end of 2005, exceeding the test deployments of other automakers.
The company has sunk $1 Billion into R&D on the hydrogen platform.
Hydrogen has the potential to become an important energy source in the future. This marks another milestone in DaimlerChrysler’s journey to the long term goals of zero-emission transportation and to reducing our nation’s dependency on foreign oil.—Mark Chernoby, Vice President Advance Vehicle Engineering, Chrysler Group
Given the size of the investment (which is ongoing) and the significance of the milestone, Chernoby’s statement seems a bit qualified compared to earlier statements coming out of DaimlerChrysler such as:
Fuel cells are the key technology for emission-free driving in the future and are also the long-term goal of DaimlerChrysler’s “Energy for the Future” roadmap. (2004)
The fuel cell offers the best long-term opportunities for securing uncompromising environment-friendly mobility in an automobile (2004)
We see quite a few areas where significant work [on hydrogen fuel cells] is required, but the discussion is no longer “if” but rather “when” we will have these vehicles. It is the right technology. (2003)
Compared to those assertions, attributing “potential” to becoming “an” important energy source seems more in alignment with the recent assessment from the National Academies of Science that concluded work on hydrogen fuel cells for transportation is making “significant headway” but still required some significant breakthroughs, and that “success is uncertain.” (Earlier post.)
The press release on the 1-million-mile mark concludes by noting that fuel cell vehicles are part of DaimlerChrysler’s advanced propulsion technology umbrella, which also includes exceptionally efficient gasoline engines, advanced diesels, alternative fuels and hybrid powertrain systems.