General Motors Corp. has received the first-ever government approval to drive a liquid hydrogen-powered vehicle on public roads in Japan, the automaker announced. Beginning in June 2003, FedEx will operate a liquid hydrogen-powered GM HydroGen3 fuel cell vehicle (FCV) several days a week on its regular delivery routes in Tokyo. GM will collect data from FedEx, and will provide all vehicle engineering and maintenance. FedEx drivers will receive training from GM engineers. The HydroGen3 has a range of 250 miles, according to GM. The HydroGen3, based on the Zafira MPV minivan, is GM's first entry in the Japan Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Demonstration Project, which is being directed by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. In related news, GM and Shell Hydrogen Corp. announced a partnership with Shell Hydrogen designed to promote the commercial viability of hydrogen FCVs in the U.S. The partnership will center on a real-life demonstration of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and fueling infrastructure technology in the Washington, D.C. area by GM and Shell Hydrogen. The demonstration will feature the nation’s first hydrogen pump at a Shell retail gas station to support a GM fleet of FCVs, according to the companies. The companies expect Shell’s hydrogen station to be operational by October 2003, with GM’s commitment to use the station for support of its vehicle fleet, which will arrive in Washington in May 2003.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials