DaimlerChrysler announced its first fuel-cell vehicle customer in California on August 13 — the Air Quality Management District (AQMD). The government agency will use a DaimlerChrysler F-Cell in daily use, based at its new hydrogen refueling station, the first station to be open to the public. Part of a 100-vehicle fuel-cell fleet that DaimlerChrysler will put into service in the near future, this is the first fuel-cell vehicle the company has announced with a customer in California. The use of the F-Cell by AQMD will enable DaimlerChrysler and AQMD to gain additional experience with a fuel-cell vehicle and a public hydrogen refueling station. By operating in California, DaimlerChrysler will receive valuable feedback on variables that may affect future vehicle design. The station itself bears AQMD's commitment toward building California's Hydrogen Highway. The F-Cell is based on a Mercedes A-Class. The entire fuel-cell system is housed in the floor of the vehicle, leaving full use of the passenger and cargo spaces. It has a range of approximately 100 miles and a top speed of 85 mph. The electric motor develops 88 hp (65 kW), enabling acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in 16 seconds. The stack has been developed by the DaimlerChrysler cooperation partner, Ballard. The F-Cell will be used by AQMD in everyday driving conditions in Southern California. Freeway and stop-and-go driving in this climate will provide data to both DaimlerChrysler and AQMD on the operation and refueling of fuel-cell vehicles.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials