Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles Kick Off 400-Mile Road Rally from Sacramento to Los Angeles

The California Fuel Cell Partnership today launched its 2003 'Rally Thru The Valley,'a caravan that will take advanced fuel cell vehicles through the State's Central Valley, a region plagued by poor air quality, to validate the potential for this near- to zero-emission transportation technology.

The California Fuel Cell Partnership today launched its 2003 'Rally Thru The Valley,'a caravan that will take advanced fuel cell vehicles through the State's Central Valley, a region plagued by poor air quality, to validate the potential for this near- to zero-emission transportation technology. Zero-emission fuel cell vehicles from six of the partnership's eight automakers -- DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and Toyota -- will demonstrate the road-worthiness of fuel cell technology. Other partners participating in the three-day, 400-mile Road Rally include BP, ChevronTexaco, Shell Hydrogen, Ballard Power Systems, Stuart Energy, Air Products, Praxair, the California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

'The Road Rally is an opportunity to showcase innovative fuel cell technology that if commercialized, can create an environment of energy diversity and efficiency,'said California Fuel Cell Partnership Chairman Alan Lloyd. 'Californians throughout the 10 counties can become more familiar with the potential of fuel cell technology by seeing these vehicles up close. And it's significant that this year's event takes place during Clean Air Month, reinforcing the positive impact zero-emission fuel cell vehicles can make on areas struggling to improve air quality.'

Fuel cell vehicles run on hydrogen and do not emit pollutants or greenhouse gases associated with combustion engines, a point important to the region where the Road Rally will travel through. In addition to remediating air quality issues, fuel cell technology can lead to greater diversity of the nation's energy supply, with little environmental impact. Fuel cell vehicles run on hydrogen -- the most abundant element found in the universe -- that combines with oxygen to power a vehicle. Hydrogen can be made from renewable energy sources, providing a viable option for a sustainable energy supply in the future.

After a checkered flag start at the California Fuel Cell Partnership's West Sacramento headquarters, the Road Rally will travel from the State's Capitol to Southern California, making stops in air quality hot spots including Fresno, Bakersfield and Los Angeles. In addition to public test drives, the fuel cell vehicles will refuel and be available for public display in the cities of Stockton, Ripon, Merced, Tulare and Valencia. The schedule for this year's caravan is as follows:

Day 1 - May 14, 2003 - Checkered flag start at California Fuel Cell Partnership's Headquarters in West Sacramento. The Road Rally will travel to the State Capitol for a display at the State Scientist's Day Fair. The fuel cell vehicles will proceed along Highways 5 and 99 to the Cities of Stockton, Ripon and Merced where local elected officials will greet the Road Rally. Day 1 will culminate with a public test drive and festivities in Fresno.

Day 2 - May 15, 2003 - After meeting with local elected officials in the morning, the Road Rally will depart Fresno en route to the International Agriculture Center in Tulare. The Road Rally will then hold public test drives at Bakersfield's Kern County Museum at an event sponsored by ChevronTexaco before partnering with the Blue Sky Partners for a static display of the vehicles at the Bakersfield Downtown Street Faire.

Day 3 - May 16, 2003 - The fuel cell vehicles will head down California's Grapevine (Highway 5) en route to an event near the Los Angeles Zoo at Griffith Park. Local elected officials will greet the Road Rally for public test drives in the Zoo's parking lot before the caravan travels to the Petersen Automotive Museum to prepare for a public display on Saturday, May 17.

Specific information about the local events is available at www.fuelcellpartnership.org. An audio news release (ANR) is available for download at http://www.newstream.com/cgi-bin/display_reg_story.cgi?9386 or http://www.newstream.com/public_story.html?9386. To schedule an interview or to receive B-roll footage contact Katrina Straub at 310/584-8329.

About the California Fuel Cell Partnership

The California Fuel Cell Partnership is a voluntary effort by industry and government organizations to advance a new vehicle technology that could move the world toward practical and affordable environmental solutions. The Partnership will demonstrate fuel cell-powered electric vehicles under real day-to-day driving conditions; demonstrate the viability of an alternative fuel infrastructure technology; explore the path to commercialization; and increase public awareness of fuel cell electric vehicles. The Partnership expects to place up to 60 fuel cell passenger cars and fuel cell buses on the road by 2003. For more information, visit www.fuelcellpartnership.org.

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