A team of university students from Polyjule of Polytech Nantes in France won the Shell Eco-Marathon hosted in Lausitz, Germany. The winning hydrogen fuel cell car achieved an incredible 11,516 mpge (miles per gallon equivalent).
And while these numbers do seem incredible the 2005 Swiss ETH Zurich PAC-Car II still holds the record of 15,212 mpge using a hydrogen fuel cell at a Shell Eco-Marathon held in Ladoux, France. I’ve talked about the Swiss PAC Car II before a few years ago in this blog.
Now in March 2010, the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas took place. The winners from the hydrogen fuel cell division of the contest were from Cicero North Syracuse High School team from Cicero, New York.
The Cicero students achieved a rating of 1,837 mpge with their Clean Green Machine FCV. Not to take anything away from the New York students who were best in class (and the envy of any car company), but this begs the question of why the U. S. is consistently far behind the Europeans in the Shell Eco-Marathon when it comes to hydrogen fuel cell cars?
This also highlights the fact that the Europeans are far ahead of the Americans when it comes to building hydrogen fueling stations and their commitments to do so over the next 5 years. While the Honda Clarity and Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell have gotten a lot of media hype, Daimler for years has had the largest fleet of hydrogen vehicles with their cars, buses and vans mostly deployed in Europe.
In fact, Daimler is now in limited production of 200 of their Mercedes B-Class F-Cell vehicles (which I was fortunate to drive last week at the NHA conference) which they are now starting to lease out in Germany.
If the U. S. doesn’t get going on building more hydrogen cars and especially H2 infrastructure we will be left behind in the dust of other countries that have the forethought to do so. And, our dependence of foreign oil may shift to a dependence upon foreign made cars and foreign made infrastructure to support the vehicles of the future. Come on America, get going!