DaimlerChrysler Vehicles Demonstrate 4 Approaches to Fuel Cell Technology
On Dec. 13, 2001, DaimlerChrysler demonstrated fuel cell vehicles powered by four different fuels. The vehicles were gathered together for the first time at DaimlerChrysler’s facility at the California Fuel Cell Partnership, a collaboration of automotive and energy companies and government agencies that is demonstrating and testing fuel cell-vehicle technologies.
Fuel cells combine oxygen from the air and hydrogen from a fuel source to produce electricity, which can be used to power electric motors and drive automobiles. DaimlerChrysler and other automakers are exploring a variety of fuels that can produce hydrogen onboard vehicles.
The vehicles shown were:
-- Chrysler Town & Country Natrium, which is fueled with sodium boro-hydride, a compound related to borax. The Natrium was introduced Dec. 12 at the Electric Transportation Industry Conference in Sacramento.
-- NECAR 4, which operates on liquid hydrogen.
-- NECAR 4a, fueled by compressed gaseous hydrogen.
-- NECAR 5, which operates on methanol. NECAR 5 is being shown for the first time in North America.
The three NECAR vehicles are based on the Mercedes A-class passenger car.
In 1999, DaimlerChrysler also unveiled a luxury sport/utility concept vehicle called Jeep Com-mander, demonstrating gasoline-fueled fuel cell-engine technology.
DaimlerChrysler will market the first fuel cell city buses in 2002 and fuel cell-powered passenger cars in 2004. To meet those goals, DaimlerChrysler is investing more than $1.4 billion in fuel cell technology research and development during the period 2001-2004.