Pacific Gas and Electric Company Expands Its Leadership Role in the Research and Development of the Hydrogen Super Highway

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 15 / -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company, which has the fourth largest alternative-fuel truck fleet in the nation, today expanded its leadership role in the research, development and utilization of clean fuel technology as DaimlerChrysler handed over the keys to three hydrogen fuel cell (F-Cell) vehicles. Through daily use, the aptly named F-Cells will supply DaimlerChrysler and PG&E with operational experience and technical data that will help improve the next generation of fuel cell vehicles. The data collected will also contribute to the U.S. Department of Energy's Hydrogen Learning Demonstration Project and support the federal Freedom Car Program.

"DaimlerChrysler has invested over $1 billion in hydrogen fuel cell technology," said Mark Chernoby, vice president, Advance Vehicle Engineering -- Chrysler Group. "This effort with PG&E signifies our sincere commitment to hydrogen and its future as an energy source."

PG&E's three F-Cells are part of DaimlerChrysler's 100-plus fuel cell vehicle fleet; powered by Ballard stacks, it's the largest fuel cell vehicle fleet in the world.

"This partnership with DaimlerChrysler makes perfect sense given natural gas is the bridge to hydrogen production," said Bob Howard, PG&E vice president of gas transmission and distribution. "PG&E is involved in other demonstration projects to enhance gas-to-hydrogen reforming technology and to incorporate hydrogen-fueling capability into existing natural gas stations to accommodate fuel cell vehicles. PG&E's well-established natural gas distribution infrastructure is poised to become part of the hydrogen highway network."

PG&E's participation in the two-year project test is three-fold: Through daily operations, the F-Cell's will help determine if the technology will meet fleet operations needs in the future; evaluation of fueling technology and potential for gas and electric distribution system impacts; and as a member of the California Fuel Cell Partnership, this project will aid fellow members, DaimlerChrysler, Air Products and Chemicals, and British Petroleum in assessing their fuel cell and hydrogen technologies.

A variety of PG&E employees will be driving the DaimlerChrysler F-Cell vehicles including, fleet mechanics, inspectors, service planning representatives, project managers and officers. PG&E expects to average at least 35 miles per day on each of the three vehicles.

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Source: Pacific Gas and Electric Company

CONTACT: PG&E News Department, +1-415-973-5930

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