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Dodge Fuel Cell Sprinter Marks Multiple Milestones in the Development of a Hydrogen Economy in the United States

-- First Commercial Use of a Medium-Duty Fuel Cell Vehicle in the United States -- First Fuel Cell Vehicle in a Commercial Customer's Fleet in California -- First Dodge Fuel Cell Vehicle Ever

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- DaimlerChrysler revealed today the first medium-duty fuel cell vehicle for commercial use in the United States. The vehicle was shown during an announcement made by DaimlerChrysler and UPS. Dodge's new Fuel Cell Sprinter will go into daily package delivery in California, also making it the first fuel cell vehicle to be used in the state for commercial business.

"This vehicle is one of 100 fuel cell vehicles DaimlerChrysler is currently building, and this Sprinter is the first fuel cell powered Dodge the company has produced," said Eric Ridenour, Executive Vice President Product Development for the Chrysler Group. "Putting vehicles like this into real commercial use is vital to developing technology that has true societal and business value."

DaimlerChrysler works closely with government agencies including the United States Department of Energy and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in programs to demonstrate and develop fuel cell vehicle technology and a hydrogen infrastructure.

"When the public and private sectors -- the auto industry and government agencies work together -- we all have the opportunity to mature and prove out the technologies," said Ridenour. "Additionally, these collaborations and partnerships are required to ultimately prove real-world benefits and to gain customer familiarity, in order to move closer to a hydrogen economy."

DaimlerChrysler is an accepted participant in the Department of Energy fuel cell validation program which will promote and further hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and infrastructure.

The daily use of this Dodge Fuel Cell Sprinter in the UPS fleet builds on the success that DaimlerChrysler and UPS have had through a collaboration with the EPA. In this innovative program, UPS has operated an F-Cell, a fuel cell powered Mercedes-Benz A-Class, for six months in daily package delivery in Southeastern Michigan. The vehicle is refueled at an EPA hydrogen fueling station in Ann Arbor. This collaboration was the first commercial use of a fuel cell vehicle in the United States.

Based on the production Dodge Sprinter, the new Dodge Fuel Cell Sprinter has the latest advancements in DaimlerChrysler fuel cell technology -- a reflection of 10 years of research and development in fuel cell vehicles. The Dodge Fuel Cell Sprinter represents the newest technology from DaimlerChrysler and its Fuel Cell Alliance partner, Ballard Power Systems, including additional range, top speed and cargo capacity.

The entire Ballard fuel cell system is housed in the floor, leaving full use of the immense cargo space. The fuel cell Sprinter has a range of approximately 155 miles and a top speed of 80 mph. The Dodge Fuel Cell Sprinter will be used by UPS in a daily delivery route and it will be operated by a UPS driver. The rigors of stop-and-go driving and heavy loads associated with package delivery will be a useful test environment, providing valuable data to both DaimlerChrysler and UPS on the operation of commercial fuel cell vehicles.

DaimlerChrysler has produced fuel cell powered passenger cars, medium-duty vans and city buses for testing and demonstrations around the world. Fuel cell vehicles are part of the company's advanced propulsion technology umbrella which also includes advanced gasoline engines, modern diesels and hybrid powertrain systems.

 Attention Educators

How do your students envision the future of the Hydrogen Highway?

We welcome essays and pictures from all ages elementary school to graduate school. Our favorites will be posted.

 Our Mission:

• Excite the imagination of the American and world-wide public to envision a future in which the majority of our energy needs are provided by a clean, renewable resource.

• To encourage the support and development of hydrogen fuel cell technology and the infrastructure needed to create a hydrogen-based economy.

•To hasten consumer acceptance of these new technologies because they will result in a better future for us all.

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