Fuel cells added to California zero emission vehicle program

"Battery technology has been moving forward and batteries are still zero-emission technology, but the car companies have made it very clear that fuel cells are the technology of the future," said Jerry Martin, an Air Resource Board spokesman. This statement comes after the EPA approved regulation amendments to the California Zero Emissions Vehicle program. "This waiver simply reflects the prominence of fuel cells, fuel cells have really taken off," added John Millet, a spokesman for the EPA.

Amendments are common for the rules of the California program. Since created in 1990, as new technology is developed, the laws are changed to reflect what the manufacturers are pushing forward with.

Automakers differ on their viewpoint of fuel cell powered vehicles. General Motors expects to have 100 fuel cell powered vehicles on the road by next year for testing purposes, Ford, on the other hand, does not forecast popularity of the technology until 2015. Jennifer Moore, a spokeswoman for Ford Motor Co., said that "there are a lot of challenges that remain ahead for fuel-cell vehicles, everything from infrastructure to cost to range. In terms of when they're going to be commercially viable, it's pretty difficult to say at this point." Dave Barthmuss of General Motors says "a lot of milestones are being met and a lot of progress is really being made" on the fuel cell front.

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington have adopted the California rules for zero emissions vehicles. The future seems to hold out hope for hydrogen, according to some auto manufacturers. With Toyota and Ford leading the way with hybrids, GM championing fuel cells and smaller companies pushing for plug in electrics and plug in hybrids, the landscape of green vehicles seems poised for growth. Legislation is doing its best to keep up.

[Source: biz.yahoo.com]

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