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Border to Border: Fuel Cell Vehicles Demonstrate the Future of Transportation from California to Canada

Beginning today, Americans and Canadians will have a unique opportunity to see what the transportation future holds with the launch of a nine-day caravan of clean, efficient hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The California Air Resources Board, California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP), Powertech Labs (on behalf of British Columbia), the National Hydrogen Association and the U.S. Fuel Cell Council are organizing the second annual Hydrogen Road Tour 09. Vehicles from seven major automakers will turn heads as they make the trek from border to border. The Tour will stop in 28 cities along the route, with special focus on the communities where hydrogen-powered technology—passenger vehicles, transit buses and hydrogen stations—will likely enter the market first.

“The Hydrogen Road Tour showcases the progress of hydrogen programs in the U.S. and Canada,” said CaFCP executive director Catherine Dunwoody. “These vehicles are comfortable, perform great, refuel in minutes and will travel the distance with zero tailpipe emissions, zero petroleum and greatly reduced greenhouse gases. Thousands of people will get a chance to try these vehicles for themselves.”

H2RT will depart early in the morning today, Tuesday, May 26 from the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista and arrive at the Hydrogen + Fuel Cells Conference in downtown Vancouver in the morning of Wednesday, June 3. The caravan will stop at 28 locations to provide people with a first-hand experience with the vehicles and fuel. High-tech fuel cell vehicles from Daimler, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen—including several new models—will make the journey, and will be joined by fuel cell transit buses at several stops. In addition to using many of the existing stations along the route, Air Products and Powertech Labs are providing mobile refueling stations and hydrogen fuel.

“Fuel cell technology is on the verge of becoming a practical alternative to burning gasoline,” said Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols. “This year’s road tour demonstrates how far the industry has come and how near we are to putting these cars in the public’s hands.”

Currently, 250 zero-emission fuel cell vehicles have been placed on California’s roads, building anticipation for plans released by automakers, energy companies and government agencies to collectively roll out 4,300 passenger vehicles to customers in California by 2014. In addition, transit agencies operate fuel cell buses, including BC Transit in Vancouver which will operate a fleet of 20 fuel cell buses for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Cities, businesses and military bases in California, Oregon and Washington are implementing other projects that use fuel cells, including forklifts and stationary power.

About the California Fuel Cell Partnership
CaFCP is a public-private collaboration of organizations including auto manufacturers, energy providers, fuel cell technology companies and government agencies working together to promote the commercialization of fuel cell vehicles. Hydrogen and fuel cell vehicle technology are a central part of a long-term strategy for air quality, climate protection and energy diversity.

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May 26, 2009 - 4:14 PM No Comments

Advanced Fuel Cell Systems Provider Protonex Issues Strategic Update

SOUTHBOROUGH, MA; Protonex Technology Corporation, (”Protonex” or the “Company”), (LSE AIM: PTX and PTXU), a leading provider of advanced fuel cell systems, today announces a strategic shift to position the Company more effectively relative to current opportunities in its targeted consumer, OEM and military markets. In summary, the Company has decided to defer the 2009 launch of its M250-B product into the U.S. recreational vehicle (RV) market to focus more of its near-term technical and business development resources onto the military version of this product, the M250-CX. This move will also provide time for a set of cost reduction efforts on the M250-B product which should make it more economically attractive when it does enter the market. The Company will continue with planned OEM and “beta” site evaluations of the M250-B product in the coming months but has decided not to make this product generally available to the consumer RV market in 2009 as previously planned.

The following factors contributed to this strategic decision:

  • The Company is seeing a substantial increase in funding opportunities with the U.S. Military for the development, testing and acquisition of high performance portable power sources. A good portion of this multi-year funding is associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and could result in: 1) significant incremental demand for the Company’s M250-CX system and its other military products, 2) additional funding for existing Protonex programs, or 3) new funding opportunities for the Company.
  • The poor global economy has severely impacted the RV market in the United States; sales of new RVs, used RVs, and RV accessories are significantly down and are expected to remain weak for the balance of 2009. Selling a new, high-value power system like the M250-B into the current RV market is expected to be challenging and offers less near term potential than alternative opportunities.
  • The current development, testing and certification schedules would result in a mid-summer M250-B availability date for general consumers. This date falls in the middle of the RV season – a relatively slow period for sales of RVs and accessories.
  • While the global economy and the RV market are down this year, both have the potential to improve considerably over time and make a 2010 launch of the M250-B product more attractive for the Company.
  • The Company is planning significant cost reductions for the current M250-B platform, including several opportunities enabled by recently developed technologies. Pursuing these cost reductions in 2009, rather than at a later date, would allow the Company to launch and market the M250-B product in 2010 with lower sale prices, stronger margins, and a higher probability of success.

In the coming months, Protonex will be supporting a set of beta test sites and several OEM evaluations of the M250-B product. One of the Company’s beta partners is a large, multinational generator company that is planning to engage its internal personnel as well as two of its external lead users in M250-B product testing. Planned OEM evaluations for the M250-B currently include one or more DC backup power companies, a security systems company, and several other auxiliary power system providers. The Company recognizes the value of external product data and will be incorporating findings from beta sites and OEM evaluations into its 2010 versions of the M250-B and related products.

The Directors believe that this strategic shift is the optimal path for the Company when all factors are considered. Protonex is fortunate to have several attractive dimensions to its business model and the ability to shift resources between them as conditions require. The Directors expect that, relative to the Board’s prior financial projections, this change will not have a material impact on 2009 net financial performance and cash flow results.

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May 5, 2009 - 12:06 PM No Comments

“F-Cell” 2009: Fuel cells in the market – Japan shows the way

The ninth forum for producers and users of fuel cells, “f-cell”, on September 28 and 29, 2009, in Stuttgart will be presenting the entire bandwidth of stationary, mobile, and portable fuel cell applications. Focal points in 2009: “Fuel cells in vehicles.” Also: “How Japan is driving forward the market entry of fuel cells.”

Stuttgart (eos) –  On September 28 and 29, 2009, Stuttgart will once again become the hub of the international “fuel cell community”: The ninth specialist forum “f-cell” –  congress and trade fair – will show the status of development and marketing of stationary, mobile, and portable fuel cell applications. “The focus this year will be on fuel cells in vehicles, and another main aspect will be activities in Japan,” explains Peter Sauber, managing director of the “Peter Sauber Agentur Messen und Kongresse GmbH”, which is organizing this industry-specific event jointly with the “Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart GmbH (WRS – regional economic promotion).

Main topic: Japan
The event organizer has intensified his good contacts to Japan, enabling him to acquire interesting speakers for the f-cell, including Nissan and Daihatsu, even at this early stage. “Japan is one of the countries that are setting the pace in the deployment of fuel cells,” says Sauber. He recently organized a joint booth for German companies at the FC Expo in Tokyo. “The trade fair with a total of 450 exhibitors made clear that fuel cell technology has already found a place in the everyday life of a great many companies in Japan. That creates the critical mass that enables market entry for the technology, placing Japan far ahead of us.” In order to provide f-cell visitors with comprehensive insight into Japanese activities, one or two speakers from Japan will make presentations in each of the specific f-cell forums. “We will schedule the presentations in such a way that those who are interested can switch between the forums and hear all the Japanese lectures,” explains the event organizer, who is also organizing a one-week delegation trip to Baden-Württemberg for representative from Japanese companies and research facilities, which will include not only the “f-cell”.

Information on “f-cell”
Those who are interested can find more information on the “f-cell” on the internet at: www.f-cell.de The Peter Sauber Agency can be reached by telephone at 0711-656960-50. The current program for the “f-cell” 2009 will be available on the event homepage from around the end of May onwards.

Stuttgart, March 2009


“f-cell” event organizer Peter Sauber (left), managing director of the Peter Sauber Agentur Messen und Kongresse GmbH, maintains personal contact to speakers and visitors. In Japan, he recently acquired exciting lecture topics for the “f-cell” 2009 on September 28 and 29 in Stuttgart.
Photo: Peter Sauber Agency / Hindley

The development and marketing of fuel cell applications in Japan will be one of the focal issues of this year’s specialist forum f-cell on September 28 and 29 in Stuttgart. Last year, Takehiko Kato (photo), President of the Interlink Corporation in Tokyo, Japan, clearly illustrated the pioneering role of his country with regard to stationary applications.
Photo: Peter Sauber Agency / Fabry

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May 2, 2009 - 4:14 PM Comment (1)