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U.S. Army Unveils World’s First Military Fleet of Fuel Cell Vehicles

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The U.S. Army today unveiled a fleet of 16 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that the military services in Hawaii are testing in an effort to research efficient, clean and renewable energy sources and reduce the U.S. military’s dependence on petroleum.

“The Army continues to investigate technologies and partnerships that give the United States a decisive advantage,” said Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, commanding general of U.S. Army, Pacific. “These fuel cell vehicles will move the U.S. Army in the Pacific toward a sustainable path that reduces energy security challenges and strengthens our energy independence.”

During a Feb. 22 ceremony at historic Palm Circle at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, officials from the services comprising U.S. Army, Pacific, U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Pacific Air Forces and U.S. Marine Corps. forces, Pacific – government leaders including U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz and Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle, and industry partners demonstrated the use of the 16 General Motors hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The zero-emission vehicles, funded by the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), Office of Naval Research and Air Force Research Laboratories, are being tested in Hawaii’s ideal climate for real-world conditions reflecting each service’s needs.

The military fleet of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles serves as the test platform powered by renewable hydrogen. Each vehicle travels up to 200 miles on a single tank, refuels in five minutes and produces only water as emissions.

“The development of fuel cell vehicles and an associated transportation infrastructure on which new military and civilian fleets can be tested and employed will reduce dependence on foreign oil and help move our state and country forward,” said Sen. Daniel Inouye. “Hawaii is uniquely situated to benefit from the shift toward electric and fuel cell vehicles.”

The Army actively seeks and supports industry partnerships to increase compatible renewable energy development. Fielding of military fuel cell vehicles with the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines is the latest effort of the Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative, a partnership among 13 agencies, companies and universities. More information on the initiative can be found at http://www.Hydrogen2hawaii.com.

“This large scale experiment will last more than two years and, during it, we will mature and accelerate these technologies in support of our Nation’s energy efficiency goals,” said Dr. Grace M. Bochenek, TARDEC director. “The combined efforts of these defense laboratories are delivering the transportation and energy capabilities for the future.”

“Once the key hydrogen infrastructure elements are proven in Hawaii, other states can adopt a similar approach,” said Charles Freese, executive director of global fuel cell activities for GM. “The military is paving the way, demonstrating the practicality and applicability of this technology.”

Headquartered at the U.S. Army Detroit Arsenal in Warren, MI, TARDEC is the Nation’s laboratory for advanced military automotive technology and serves as the Ground Systems Integrator for all Department of Defense (DOD) manned and unmanned ground vehicle systems. With roots dating back to the World War II era, TARDEC is a full life-cycle, systems engineering support provider-of-first-choice for all DOD ground combat and combat support weapons, equipment and vehicle systems. TARDEC develops and integrates the right technology solutions to improve Current Force effectiveness and provides superior capabilities for Future Force integration. TARDEC’s technical, scientific and engineering staff lead cutting-edge research and development in Ground Systems Survivability; Power and Mobility; Ground Vehicle Robotics; Force Projection; and Vehicle Electronics and Architecture. TARDEC is a major research, development and engineering center for Research, Development and Engineering Command and an enterprise partner in the TACOM Life Cycle Management Command. http://tardec.army.mil/

February 23, 2012 - 1:00 PM