There’s all this talk about hydrogen fuel cell cars, but maybe nobody thought it would go that far: now the US military has them! It’s the first army in the world to include a fleet of 16 such vehicles and test them in a Hawaiian environment of real-life conditions.
These tests will make the vehicles even more adapted to military needs, but they’re not that bad in their current shape either: they recharge in 5 minutes and then drive up to 200 miles on what they refueled. What they have going for them is, of course, the fact that they’re non-polluting.
That is a question of protecting the environment, but as Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, commanding general of U.S. Army, Pacific put it, it’s more a question of having the upper-hand in energy (petroleum) dependence. And U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye totally agrees: “The development of fuel cell vehicles (…) will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and help move our state and country forward.”
On the other side we have George Ka’iliwai, director of Resources and Assessment for U.S. Pacific Command, who has a more diplomatic approach, but who basically says the same thing: “Defense relationships and military approaches alone can’t solve all of our energy challenges, but they underpin the initiatives we’re taking (…) to reduce the dependence on foreign sources of energy.”
The hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have received funds from the Army Tank Automotive Research Development Engineering Center and the Office of Naval Research and Air Force Research Laboratories.
Also, they were officially introduced during a February 22 ceremony at historic Palm Circle at Fort Shafter, Hawaii and they are just a step in a partnership among 13 agencies, companies and universities. As expected, if everything goes well, then other states can start using the technology, too.