I'm all for hydrogen—or any alternative fuel source for that matter (Shai Agassi, my man, let's get cooking already!)—but if you're going to heavily promote your cross-country trek as the "first ever" for hydrogen-powered vehicles, at least make sure large, 1,000-mile stretches of it did not involve having the vehicles carried along on flatbed trucks. This was the case today as the "Hydrogen Road Tour '08" wrapped up in Los Angeles after its 60-strong vehicle fleet entered the Los Angeles Coliseum. From Rolla, Missouri, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, the caravan was carried on the back of carbon-belching flat bed tractor trailer trucks. Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of an alternative fuel road trip right then and there?
Part of the gaff was, of course, due to that fact that there are just 60 hydrogen stations in the U.S., and only two of those are open to the public "without prior arrangement," says Reuters. Nevertheless, event promoter Catherine Dunwoody, executive director of the California Fuel Cell Partnership (a major tour supporter), was optimistic about hydrogen's chances.
"There's a hunger out there for clean, safe vehicles," Brubaker said. "The common refrain everywhere we went was 'Where do we get these cars.'" As a personal aside, I, too, would be interested in such a venture, especially if it meant large swaths of my morning commute meant hopping on the back of a truck, and having someone else do the driving for me.
More seriously, hydrogen as a major fuel source is pretty much nowhere near becoming mainstream. As the article notes, big wig auto makers like Honda and General Motors only have plans to test a handful of hydrogen vehicles this year and next in select markets.
A best case scenario out of the car industry has only 2 million hydrogen-powered electric vehicles on the roads by 2020.
At least there was some diversity on this cross-country trip: Cars were provided by Honda, GM, Toyota Motor Corp, Ford Motor Co, BMW AG, Daimler AG, Hyundai Motor Co, Nissan Motor Co, and Volkswagen AG. No word on those flat beds. [Reuters]