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--Ford announces availability of “next generation” technology, Florida buys eight--

DETROIT — Surrounded by shiny chrome and the auto industry’s latest creations at the Detroit Auto Show, Florida today became the first customer of Ford Motor Company’s new hydrogen-powered shuttle buses that will hit the road next year. Already an established leader in hydrogen technology, the State of Florida is ordering eight of the V-10, Ford E-450 buses -- the world’s first commercially available hydrogen vehicles.

“Hydrogen is the most abundant element on earth, existing in our air, drinking water and fuel,” said Governor Jeb Bush. “Using hydrogen as a renewable power source decreases America’s dependence on foreign oil, protects air quality and diversifies our economy.”

Scheduled to hit the road in 2006, the eight buses will be based in Central Florida at the heart of Florida’s “hydrogen highway.” Propelled by an internal combustion engine that is supercharged and inter-cooled for maximum efficiency, the 12-passenger bus is designed to run on hydrogen fuel instead of gasoline. The vehicle is equipped with a 26-gallon equivalent, 5,000 pounds-per-square-inch hydrogen fuel tank with an expected range of about 150 miles. With near-zero emissions, including carbon dioxide, the engine is up to 25 percent more fuel-efficient than a typical gasoline engine.

“My great-grandfather's vision was to provide affordable transportation for the world. I want to expand that vision for the 21st century and provide transportation that is affordable in every sense of the word – socially and environmentally, as well as economically,” said Ford Motor Company Chairman and CEO Bill Ford. “That means vehicles that are safe, clean, and energy efficient.”

Just eighteen months ago, Governor Bush launched “H2 Florida,” a statewide initiative to accelerate the commercialization of hydrogen technologies, spur investment and economic opportunity and safeguard the nation’s natural resources. H2 Florida partners the State of Florida with industry, governments and academia to showcase hydrogen technologies and stimulate a consumer market for the newest hi-tech approach to cleaner, sustainable sources of energy.

“These state-of-the-art hydrogen vehicles use existing, proven technologies to deliver environmental benefits simply and cost-effectively,” said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs and Energy Allan Bedwell. “Public and private investment is taking pollution-free transportation from a laboratory concept to an every day reality -- and it is happening first in Florida.”

Florida is on the cutting-edge of hydrogen energy transportation. Last spring, Ford Motor Company and BP America selected the Sunshine State as one of only three sites nationwide to demonstrate hydrogen fuel cell cars and fueling stations. The hydrogen-powered vehicles, which emit only steam, will be used by DEP park rangers at Wekiwa Springs State Park and customer service representatives at Progress Energy Florida.


For more information, visit www.FloridaEnergy.org.

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