Two days ago I talked about how newbie New York Congressman Eric Massa had decided to drive from upstate New York (Corning) to be sworn-in at Washington DC. The 280-mile drive was accomplished in a Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell which has a range of around 200 miles.
So, today the New York Times is reporting a public relations snafu with this journey citing that Mr. Massa couldn’t complete the trip using one fuel cell Equinox and had to use two. In fact, the NYT has stated that as there were no hydrogen fueling stations along the journey, two Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid SUVs were used to tow the two Equinox FCVs, along different parts of the route, burning more fossil fuels than the congressman would have done in just driving the Tahoe without a tow.
Here is my comment in the NYT thread, “The point is that Mr. Massa tried to do too many things with his statement such as promote both hydrogen cars and American made vehicles. Had he chosen to promote hydrogen cars only, he could have driven a Toyota FCHV that has over a 500 mile range, refueled at the Shell Hydrogen station in Washington DC and driven back with hydrogen fuel to spare.”
The problem with politicians promoting alternative fuels such as hydrogen is they still sometimes act like politicians and underestimate the rest of the public. The message of the advancements in hydrogen technology has now been clouded by the method the Congressman employed to get this message across.
To be fair Congressman Massa said one of the points of the journey was to point out the lack of hydrogen fueling infrastructure in this country. But, for his journey, employing the services of a portable hydrogen fueling station would have made the same point with less embarrassment.
Perhaps an appearance on the David Letterman Show is now in order where Congressman Massa can say, “I screwed up.”