Automakers Optimistic About Hydrogen-powered Future

Most major automakers are developing hydrogen fuel cells that could begin appearing commercially within about two decades.

Published: 31-Mar-2005

WASHINGTON (AP) -- For Ford Motor Co. engineer Vance Zanardelli, the hydrogen fuel-cell automobiles of tomorrow face several obstacles, but the challenge of winning over the public may be best summed up by the 1937 Hindenburg disaster.

Zanardelli, addressing the National Hydrogen Association's annual conference on Thursday, showed old black-and-white footage of the hydrogen-fueled zeppelin bursting into flames. The accident killed 35 people.

"Everybody, as soon as they think of hydrogen, they think of the Hindenburg," Zanardelli said. He added: "That's what we have to deal with."


The current prototype fuel cell-powered Tucson has a top speed of 150 kilometers per hour and a cruising range of some 300 kilometers.

The F-Cell vehicle employs a 72-kilowatt fuel cell system. The vehicle can travel up to 100 miles on a full tank of about five pounds of hydrogen.

The Fine-T's interior features a substantial amount of plant-sourced, 'carbon-neutral' materials.


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