Hydrogen Labs Shows the Hydrogen Patrol Car at the National Hydrogen Association Conference
While fuel cell cars are still years away from mass production, a company at the National Hydrogen Association annual conference in Long Beach, California this week demonstrated a police cruiser that can run on either gasoline or hydrogen, at the flip of a switch.
By Bob Willis
March 17, 2006
An article by UPI quoted Gunnar Lindstrom, senior manager of alternative fuel vehicles at American Honda Motor Company as saying, "It (hydrogen fuel cells) needs a major breakthrough in technology." The article further stated, "Japanese automakers believe 15 to 20 years into the future, hydrogen fuel cells will become a viable alternative to the traditional gasoline engine, but industry experts say significant obstacles remain before mass consumption is possible."
|Hydrogen Labs Chief Sustainable Officer Gene Johnson with Bob Willis and the Hydrogen Patrol car.
While current prototype fuel cell vehicles cost over $1 million to produce, Hydrogen Labs expects to sell its HICE (Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine) squad cars to police departments across the country for less than $50,000. Realizing the popularity of the Crown Victoria as a taxi cab, the company also intends to make the vehicle available to taxi fleet owners that want to improve the quality of their emissions.
Police cars idle frequently, for long periods of time, during a police officer's daily shift, leading to an excess amount of fumes that the officers have to breathe in on a daily basis. Hydrogen Labs has developed a way for the cars to idle on hydrogen, and produce no pollution while the engine is still running, helping to protect both the environment and the health of our public servants. When the vehicle computer is in "police mode" it idles while running on hydrogen. When a police officer steps on the pedal, the engine automatically switches over to gasoline to get extra acceleration from a dead stop.
The company also has the ability to convert automobiles to run only on hydrogen. However, for most applications, it expects to offer the dual fuel capability in order to offer vehicle owners the range and fuel availability provided by gasoline. When hydrogen fueling stations become widely available, the need for a gasoline tank in the automobiles will no longer be desired.
Larry Park, CEO of Hydrogen Labs, claims the police cruiser gets over 30 miles per kilogram of hydrogen fuel; and he expects the company to improve the efficiency of the vehicle and produce even better fuel economy. That type of efficiency is unheard of in any other V-8 automobile. Using a combination of a new transmission and a proprietary fuel injection computer, the modifications by Hydrogen Labs also improve the power and efficiency of the car while it is running on gasoline, boosting its highway mileage above 30 miles per gallon.
The HICE vehicle is seen by many people in the hydrogen industry as a bridge to the fuel cell car, or the "car of tomorrow". Hydrogen Labs sees the HICE vehicle as the car of today.
See the Hydrogen Now! related article about the debut of Hydrogen Labs at the New Mexico Hydrogen Business Council.
National Hydrogen Association Conference