Oh, and in case you think that the USDA (the A stands for agriculture) would be more interested in biofuels than hydrogen, remember that the USDA is part of the Department of Energy's (DOE) hydrogen and fuel cell research, development, and demonstration efforts, as GM notes in their release pasted after the jump.
[Source: General Motors]
U.S. Department of Agriculture to Put a Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Powered by Hydrogen to the Test
USDA joins GM and Chevrolet in the world's largest market test of hydrogen powered fuel cell electric vehicles
WASHINGTON , D.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today becomes the newest partner in Chevrolet's Project Driveway, the first and largest market test designed to speed hydrogen powered fuel cell electric vehicles to the consumer marketplace.
Over the next six months, the USDA will be using a Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell vehicle to transport top leadership and Congressional Relations Staff on official business on Capitol Hill – petroleum free – while providing valuable real-world performance feedback to GM. The vehicle is fueled with hydrogen and zero greenhouse gases are released. The only tailpipe emission is clean water vapor.
"With each partner that participates in Project Driveway we gain valuable insight on this important advanced automotive technology that may not have been identified in our internal test mechanisms," said Keith Cole, director, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs – Environment. "The USDA will build on our year of findings through this innovative market test and further demonstrate the need to develop a hydrogen infrastructure to support fueling these vehicles."
The partnership with the USDA is part of the Department of Energy's (DOE) hydrogen and fuel cell research, development, and demonstration efforts.
"Solutions to our nation's energy challenge will come from a variety of renewable sources," said USDA Secretary Ed Schafer. "Agriculture has always generated innovation that is harnessed and put through its paces."
GM will provide the maintenance, fuel and service of the vehicle. Fueling for the USDA is being provided at the Shell Benning Road station in the Northeast community of Washington, D.C. The station is certified for 700 bar fueling and is already being used by other Project Driveway participants.
Since Project Driveway's launch in November of 2007, it has put more than 100 Equinox fuel cell vehicles in the hands of business partners, government agencies, members of the media, celebrities and the general public who have volunteered through the Chevy.com web site. To date, more than 3,200 test drives of varying lengths have been conducted. Currently, the program has launched in Los Angeles, metropolitan New York and Washington, D.C., with further deployments in Europe and Asia later this year.
The first market test of its size and reach, Project Driveway is an important facet of Chevrolet's "Gas Friendly to Gas Free" strategy to offer advanced technologies that enable a variety of fuel solutions.
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About General Motors:
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 77 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 266,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 35 countries. In 2007, nearly 9.37 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.