DaimlerChrysler has produced the first fuel-cell powered police vehicle, which will be used by the Wayne State University (WSU) Police Department in Detroit, Michigan. The Mercedes F-Cell will be driven on and nearby the school’s campus. WSU students in the College of Engineering Alternative Energy Technology will use the car as a learning laboratory. DaimlerChrysler hopes that operation of the fuel cell-powered police vehicle will provide valuable data for future fuel cell technology.

The fuel cell system is located in the floor of the vehicle, which is able to reach a top speed of 85 miles per hour (mph) and has a range of about 100 miles. The electric motor enables it to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 16 seconds.

The fuel-cell powered police car is outfitted with a police radio, decals, lights and sirens.

The fuel-cell powered police car is outfitted with a police radio, decals, lights and sirens. Credit: DaimlerChrysler

“This event exhibits how DaimlerChrysler is taking on the challenge for industries and governments to create viable alternative fuel solutions,” said DaimlerChrysler’s Vice President of Advance Vehicle Engineering Mark Chernoby. “We’re pleased to be a driving force in this team effort to develop zero-emissions transportation.”

According to its Web site, DaimlerChrysler has invested more than $1 billion in fuel cell vehicle research and development. Its fleet includes fuel cell-powered vans and buses, along with approximately twenty-five other fuel cell vehicles. Due to this experience with hydrogen fuel cells, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected DaimlerChrysler to be a member of the recently-formed DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee (HFTAC). The committee’s purpose is to provide technical and programmatic advice and updates to DOE on hydrogen research, development, and demonstration efforts.

Twenty-five committee members were selected from nominations submitted in response to a Federal Register notice. Represented are leaders involved with domestic industry, academia, professional societies, government agencies, financial organizations, environmental groups, and hydrogen safety. HFTAC will meet twice a year.

“Research, development, and deployment of hydrogen is central to President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative,” said DOE Secretary Samuel Bodman. “Receiving candid advice from this committee is one of the many ways we are working to meet the President’s goal of moving toward a hydrogen economy and reducing our dependence on foreign sources of oil.”

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