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Schwarzenegger Unveils Hydrogen-Fueled Hummer, But Not How He Planned

Arnold Schwarzenegger, left, and GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz fill up first Hydrogen Hummer made as first retail-designed hydrogen fueling station is dedicated
Schwarzenegger unveils hydrogen Hummer, but not how he planned

By Tim Molloy / Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger introduced an environmentally friendly Hummer on Friday -- but not exactly the hydrogen-powered car he promised voters he would build when he campaigned for office.

Criticized by environmentalists for owning a gas-guzzler, Schwarzenegger said during last year's recall campaign that he would convert one of his Hummers to run on hydrogen. Though he hasn't done that, the governor did introduce an alternative at an event that mixed environmentalism and stagecraft: a hydrogen-powered Hummer custom-built by General Motors at his request.

The governor drove the shiny blue SUV to a hydrogen fueling spot at Los Angeles International Airport to tout his $100 million plan for a "hydrogen highway" of such stations. But the event betrayed the current limitations of hydrogen power even as it celebrated the technology's progress.

Though Schwarzenegger arrived in the low-pollution vehicle, he left in a gasoline-powered SUV that typically gets about 15 miles per gallon. It was a pragmatic decision, given that the hydrogen Hummer needs to refuel every 50 miles and there are only about a dozen fueling stations across the state.

Schwarzenegger said the LAX station would be the first designed for use by the general public rather than government vehicles. But a builder conceded the station wouldn't be open to the average driver for at least 5 to 10 years.

The fact that the hydrogen Hummer was new -- and not a retrofit from Schwarzenegger's personal fleet -- was almost lost amid the razzle-dazzle of the new technology.

"I promised I would turn one of my Hummers into a hydrogen Hummer. Today I drove one of those," the governor said.

However, under questioning by reporters, Schwarzenegger clarified that the Hummer wasn't his.

"I wanted to turn one of my Hummers into a hydrogen-fueled car," he said. "But then, General Motors was so inspired that they said, 'Wait a minute -- why don't you let us build one? Let us build a prototype."'

GM said it began developing the hydrogen Hummer in late spring. The company wanted to develop a new vehicle instead of retrofitting an old one because it wanted its work to have long-term, practical applications, spokesman David Caldwell said.

The company said it owns the Hummer unveiled Friday but is lending it to California to help raise awareness about hydrogen technology. Caldwell said he was uncertain of the details but didn't think the state was paying for the use of the vehicle.

Schwarzenegger was the first person to buy a Hummer, a civilian version of the military vehicle that caught the public's attention during the Gulf War. GM estimates the latest version of the vehicle, the 6,400-pound H2, gets 10 to 13 miles per gallon. Dealers put the figure at 8 to 10 mpg.

Since the election, Schwarzenegger has reduced his fleet from seven Hummers to three, and he rarely drives any of them, spokeswoman Terri Carbaugh said.

"My Hummers are now in the garage, because I get driven by the CHP all the time," the governor said.

Schwarzenegger signed an executive order in April calling for the construction of a network of stations offering hydrogen fuel up and down the state within six years. The program is expected to cost $100 million.

That would have the stations ready by 2010, the year when automakers say they hope to have hydrogen vehicles available to consumers.

But the target date may be optimistic, said Susan Szita Gore, a spokeswoman for Praxair, which worked with BP to build the fueling station where Friday's event was held. She said it may be 5 to 10 years before drivers can pull up to the station and fill their cars with hydrogen.

Several other government agencies are also experimenting with hydrogen-powered vehicles, including the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which plans to retrofit 35 Toyota Prius hybrid cars to use hydrogen instead of gasoline.

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Map of hydrogen fueling stations:  http://www.fuelcellpartnership.org/fuel-vehl -- map.html


homepage: homepage: http://www.detnews.com/2004/autosinsider/0410/23/autos-312839.htm

Build me a Hydrogen-Powered Hummer!! 24.Oct.2004 19:26

GM terrified into building hydrogen station

"Build me a hydrogen powered Hummer or I'll crush your skulls!"

An American car company finally builds a car that runs on something besides gasoline. All it took was an actor playing a governor to tell them to do it, mainly to get him out of a campaign promise.

hydrogen extraction 24.Oct.2004 20:28

requires energy and water

Not sure what the Chinese government has against pedaling bicycles (outlawed in Bejing?) but they seem interested in hydrogen fuel cells for public transit. The author of article below points out that the extraction of hydrogen requires water, an important point in CA. The bone dry rivers diverted for agribusiness would now need to supply additional water for hydrogen fuel cell Humvee (military vehicle, not recreational)? Where will the water come from?

Water is not something we will lose to hydrogen extraction for someone driving around in a Humvee. Arnold, what do you have against pedaling bicycles?

Moving the mass of a Humvee including Arnold's ego requires a great deal of energy. Since hydrogen extraction from water is itself a energy consuming process, we hope that solar cells will be available by then, unless BP wants to keep all the photovoltaics for their "greener" gas stations..

Jeremy Rifkin's book "The Hydrogen Economy" points out that the petroleum/energy corporations are already investing billions in the interest to control the future hydrogen economy after the peak oil petroleum collapse. He believes that hydrogen fuel cells can be peer controlled instead, less centralized than the current petrochemical corporate complex..

Not waiting on another magic techno-fix. Really, i just want to ride my human pedal powered bicycle..


Following article from Ecoworld;


Will Fuel Cells Ever Be Clean, Cheap, Efficient?

by Gordon Feller

Shanghai's Ultra-Modern Skyline
Rising to Meet the 21st Century

Editor's Note: Public and private investment in fuel cell development in China over the next few years is projected to be over (US)$500 million. The initial priority is to develop fuel cells for transportation applications, beginning with busses and electric powered bicycles. Fuel cells convert hydrogen into electricity, creating almost no pollution in the process. The most advanced lithium ion batteries can only store about 300 watt hours per kilogram, meaning the range of battery-powered electric vehicles is fairly limited. A fuel cell and hydrogen tank, by contrast, can store about 900 watt hours per kilogram, creating a viable range for bicycles and busses that don't pollute.

But hydrogen fuel cell power has daunting technological hurdles that must be overcome before they can help solve pollution or energy challenges. Fuel cells are still extremely expensive, over $4,000 per kilowatt, and in transportation applications fuel cells are still very fragile. Storing and distributing hydrogen is still very difficult, because hydrogen as a gas contains very little energy by volume, and therefore must be either liquified or stored under extreme pressure in order to deliver meaningful amounts of energy. Finally, hydrogen itself must be extracted from other fossil fuel, or manufactured using electricity and water. So even if hydrogen becomes the clean energy of choice, hydrogen will have to be manufactured using other fuels.

The Chinese, with their rapidly industrializing nation of over a billion people, certainly are aware of the technological and economic hurdles that stand between today's nascent hydrogen economy and the potential of the hydrogen economy as envisioned by environmentalists. But their energy and pollution challenges are matched by equally impressive financial and technological resources. It may indeed be in China where hydrogen finds its first commercial niche.

The demand for alternative fuels in China

is driven by the Chinese government's desire to reduce air pollution, particularly in urban centres, and reduce the country's dependence on imported oil. Preparing to host the 2008 Olympics is also putting pressure on the Government of China to make the necessary investments. The annual alternative fuels market in China is projected to grow from $75 million in 2002 to $1.8 billion by 2008.

The main opportunities for fuel cell technologies are in the development of prototypes of fuel cell engines and for fuel cell fuelling stations. The main opportunities for compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquified petroleum gas (LPG) technologies are for retrofitting old diesel engines, building new engines, providing engine and related parts that improve the efficiency of CNG/LPG engines and building refuelling stations.

The Chinese fuel cell market has strong local players including the Fuyuan Century Fuel Cell Power Co. Ltd., the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, and Shanghai Shen-Li High Tech Co Ltd. U.S. firms have been successful at penetrating the CNG/LPG bus market in China. Some examples firms include Cummins-Westport, Impco Technologies and Witco Systems.

Transport authorities are looking for well-designed buses that suit their individual local environments, maintenance staff training and a high level of service.

CNG engine testing must be done in China and there are adequate test facilities. Once a vehicle is on the road there is no formal testing nor any requirement for regular in-service emissions testing. However, strict maintenance and training is essential to maintain strong customer satisfaction.

China 2008 Olympics

The Chinese government's goals to improve the quality of air in major Chinese cities and to reduce its dependence on imported oil are the main long-term drivers of market growth in the alternative fuel bus market in China. With the world's eyes on China for the 2008 summer Olympics, the Chinese government is actively investing in alternative fuel buses to demonstrate the progressiveness of their country to the world.

China has six of the world's 10 most-polluted cities. The Chinese government has set a time line to improve emission standards for vehicles in China. Vehicles were to meet Euro II standards by January 1, 2003 in Beijing and by January 1, 2005 in the rest of China. Chinese emission standards are to increase to meet Euro III by January 1, 2005 in Beijing and by January 1, 2010 in the rest of the country.

Arnold and UC Davis greenwashing hydrogen highway 24.Oct.2004 22:04


The Ecoworld website in above article is a greenwashing pro biotech website that calls activists like Vandana Shiva "strident" in her vocal opposition to the biotech corporations. The "Ecoworld" website advocates transgenic biopesticides to get rid of those pesky moths that consume monoculture wheat fields (was crop diversity EVER an option?)..

The same with hydrogen fuel cells, they link to a West Sacramento fuel cell corporation that is no doubt part of Arnold's hydrogen highway. By showing pix of China's shiny new hydrogen fuel cell bus, they spin this as the environmentally friendly alternative while ignoring the fact that non-polluting bicycles were used for decades and were recently banned (2003) in favor of petroleum combusting auto culture..

The link to UC Davis (recieves biotech corp funding) is apparent, remembering Arnold's UCD visit a few months ago where he promised budding scientist/engineers a well paid future career on the hydrogen highway..

Misleading people by greenwashing a new technology without pointing out the very real flaws and concerns of environmental/health issues is just a continuation of the old corporate manipulation..

Why did Shanghai, Beijing and other Chinese cities ban bicycles (2003) from many roadways? Is it possible that automakers, WTO "free trade", GW Bush and petroleum corporations have something to do with this ban on free energy bicycles?

Buy more cars, work harder to pay for fuel, and don't question your government (China or America)..

No riding free energy bicycles allowed!! Only hydrogen fuel cell Humvees drive on the highway of the future!! Don't even THINK about meditating!!

Bicycles outlawed in Beijing??? 25.Oct.2004 12:42


Anybody have a link on bicycles being outlawed in Beijing? Is this true?

Fifty miles between fill-ups? How about 50 miles on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?