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Iceland Back on Track for Hydrogen Economy

In September 2008 and a year later in September 2009, two chilling reports came out that Iceland was thinking of ditching its future hydrogen economy in favor of battery electric vehicles.

The first report asked the question, “Could the hydrogen dream be dying? At a Reykjavik conference this week, Driving Sustainability ’08, Iceland announced plans to team up with Mitsubishi Motors to supply the country with a fleet of tiny i-MiEV electric cars (which have a range per charge of about 100 miles with lithium-ion batteries).

The second and most recent report proclaimed, “Iceland Switching Gears from Hydrogen Fuel Cells to Electric Cars”. Iceland’s President Olafur Grimsson stated, “There seems to be a slowdown in the development of hydrogen cars from the big players. We believe that electric cars may be better suited to transform our transportation fleet in a short time than hydrogen.” Oh, really.

According to an article published today coming out of Reykjavík, Iceland, there are 10 more Ford Focus FCV cars coming to Iceland in December 2009. Iceland is part of the European Union Hydrogen Highway and when those fuel cell vehicles are delivered, Iceland will have a total of 22 hydrogen vehicles in that country, making it second only to Germany in the EU.

It’s true that Iceland has had a less than desirable economy starting with last year’s global banking meltdown. It’s also true that the automakers have had to temporarily pull resources. Even Mitsubishi had to delay sending their i-MiEV electric cars for testing because of economic problems with that automaker.

But, just as the naysayers try to keep killing off hydrogen cars from the future landscape, the automakers, fuel companies and government advocates fight back and put hydrogen cars right back on track. Is hydrogen dead? Far from it. This is only the beginning of a clean and green hydrogen future to come.

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