The Hydrogen Road Tour ’08 that I’ve been talking about over the past few weeks finished with style in Los Angeles this past Saturday. The procession of mostly fuel cell cars (except for the Hydrogen Beamer with ICE) pulled up to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (host to two past Olympiads) around 12:30 pm to a throng of photographers and music playing “Eye of the Tiger” that one may remember from the Rocky III movie.
The Hydrogen Road Tour started in Portland, Maine on August 11, 2008 then made its way to 30 other cities in the next 13 days. There were some stretches of road where some of the fuel cell cars had no hydrogen refueling stations along the route, particularly, between Rolla, Missouri and Albuquerque, New Mexico where some cars were carried on flatbed trucks.
Of course, this does make the point that more hydrogen fueling stations need to be built to support the cars that are already on the roads and driving cross country trips. The California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) set up a ride and drive event before the road trip vehicles arrived. I drove two of the fuel cell vehicles and one Hydrogen ICE vehicle at the CaFCP event. The BMW Hydrogen 7 luxury car was the crowd favorite that most people were standing in line to drive.
The event actually kicked off at 10 am at the California Science Center at Exposition Park. Both hydrogen fuel cell and ICE vehicles were on display and booths were set up from Air Products, Linde, SunLine Transit and several others. In fact, the SunLine transit bus made it ahead of the pack circling the grounds 15 minutes before the rest of the vehicles arrived from Palm Springs, California. The fuel cell bus then proceeded to lead the procession at the appropriate time with visitors and photographers crowding around to get the optimal angles.
The last two vehicles in the Hydrogen Road Tour procession were arguably the most important. The Honda FCX Clarity that is now rolling out as a lease to select high profile customers was second to last and the Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell vehicle that is the centerpiece of GM’s Project Driveway was holding up the rear of the procession.
The photo that I took above shows the Clarity (behind the photographer) and the Equinox pulling into its parking slot amid the music and enthusiastic crowd.