Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Gerry Frechette
Hydrogen Road Tour 2009
Vancouver, British Columbia – It’s not every day that a fleet of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles from several different manufacturers are seen in one place, but the Hydrogen Road Tour 2009 that just wrapped up in Vancouver was just such an event.
Having begun near San Diego nine days earlier, 12 of the high-tech marvels arrived at the new Vancouver Convention Centre on the waterfront on June 3rd, and were joined by a couple of the Ford Focus fuel cell cars already in service with the City of Vancouver. All were available for quick drives around the block – by media and the public.
Nissan X-Trail FCV. Click image to enlarge
Conceived of by the California Fuel Cell Partnership, an umbrella organization for numerous OEM manufacturers and government agencies, this event was but the latest in a number of hydrogen-oriented events seen in Vancouver over the last several years, all in promotion of the heavily-hyped Hydrogen Highway on the West Coast.
The sceptics among us ask the same questions every year about the commercial viability of both hydrogen fuel and fuel cell technology for personal vehicles, and this year was no exception. After some 20-plus years of development of fuel cell and battery technology, there is still only a small fleet of cars undergoing development and evaluation in North America, mostly in California. There are half-a-dozen publicly-accessible filling stations in that American home of eco-conscious motoring, and even fewer in the Canadian equivalent, British Columbia.