DaimlerChrysler has revealed 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.
DaimlerChrysler works closely with government agencies including the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in programs to demonstrate and develop fuel cell vehicle technology and a hydrogen infrastructure. The company is an accepted participant in the DOE fuel cell validation program that will promote hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and infrastructure.
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 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 more range, top speed, and cargo capacity.
The entire Ballard fuel cell system is housed in the floor, leaving full use of the cargo space. The fuel cell Sprinter has a range of about 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 data to both DaimlerChrysler and UPS on the operation of commercial fuel cell vehicles.