Public Release: 

First fuel-cell cars in Canada hit B.C. streets

Natural Resources Canada

VANCOUVER - Five fuel-cell cars powered by hydrogen instead of gasoline were delivered by Dr. Gerhard Schmidt, Vice-President, Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Company, and Joe Hinrichs, President and CEO of Ford of Canada, to the Vancouver Fuel Cell Vehicle Program (VFCVP) today, moving Canada closer to a cleaner-energy future.

Ford of Canada handed five sets of keys to the Government of Canada, launching this first-of-its-kind demonstration program, which encompasses three years of a five-year initiative.

"Using hydrogen and fuel-cell technologies is a key part of bringing down greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change. I'm proud that the Government of Canada is part of projects such as this and that we've supported these innovative technologies for nearly two decades," said the Honourable R. John Efford, Minister of Natural Resources Canada. "By working together, we can make sure Canada continues to be known as a world leader in putting these technologies on the road." The Government of Canada has invested $4.5 million in this project. The partners in this program - the Government of Canada, Ford Motor Company/Ford of Canada, Fuel Cells Canada and the Government of British Columbia - will collaborate on this five-year, $9-million program.

BC Hydro, B.C. Transit, Ballard Power Systems, the City of Vancouver, Fuel Cells Canada, the National Research Council (NRC), Natural Resources Canada and the Government of British Columbia will use the state-of-the-art Ford Focus Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs) in real daily driving conditions as part of a three-year hydrogen fuel technology demonstration program.

The Government of British Columbia strongly supports the VFCVP program as part of its commitment to promoting clean and renewable alternative energy sources and assisting in the growth of B.C.'s technology industries. This is one of a number of hydrogen-related programs targeted for implementation before the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler.

"This project highlights British Columbia's leadership in the development of hydrogen and fuel-cell technologies, and builds on our commitment to have the world's first hydrogen highway developed in time for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games," said the Honourable Richard Neufeld, British Columbia's Minister of Energy and Mines. "B.C.'s 2002 Energy Plan lays out a path for future energy use and production, with a key focus on alternative energy, including hydrogen fuel cells, which will ensure environmental sustainability - one of our key goals for the next decade."

The VFCVP is managed by Fuel Cells Canada (FCC), which is headquartered at the NRC Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation, where the VFCVP vehicles will be maintained and refuelled.

"We applaud the Canadian and international stakeholders supporting the Vancouver Fuel Cell Vehicle Program. Together, they are accelerating the development of hydrogen and fuel-cell technologies for transportation applications," said Chris Curtis, Interim President of Fuel Cells Canada. "Ford's decision to evaluate its latest fuel-cell vehicles in Vancouver recognizes Canada's and British Columbia's global leadership in this arena."

"This groundbreaking project brings us one step closer to making fuel-cell technology viable as a global energy and transportation alternative," said Dr. Schmidt. "While there's still much work and collaboration needed to realize a broad-based hydrogen economy, Ford is pleased to be an enabling partner in this pioneering initiative. Demonstration vehicles like these help to expand our future energy and transportation horizons, and support Ford Motor Company's mission to help create a better world."

"This is what we like to call the 'green' behind the Ford blue oval. Given the proven leadership of the Canadian fuel-cell and hydrogen industries, it's fitting that the innovative Focus Fuel Cell Vehicle be put to the test right here in Vancouver," Hinrichs said. The Ford Focus FCV is a third-generation hybrid-electric vehicle that uses the Canadian-made Ballard Mark 902 series fuel-cell engine and Dynetek 5,000-psi (pounds per square inch) compressed-hydrogen storage tanks. The performance of each car will be carefully monitored over the next three years, providing critical data for the continued development of fuel-cell technology.

The Government of Canada's approach to climate change is focused on making the right choices for Canada. This will ensure that the actions taken today produce long-term and enduring results while maintaining a strong and growing economy. Programs such as the VFCVP showcase Canada's leadership in environmental transportation options and sustainable transportation such as fuel-cell technology.


Five Ford Focus fuel-cell vehicles will hit the streets of Vancouver today in a three-year demonstration project to prove the viability of hydrogen fuel-cell technology. Only water comes out of the tailpipes of these cars that are powered by hydrogen. The Government of Canada, Ford Motor Company and their partners in the program have invested more than $9 million in the project. The Vancouver Fuel Cell Vehicle Program is managed by Fuel Cells Canada, a national non-profit industry association.

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