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Manufacturers unveil fuel cell plans at Frankfurt Show

  • BMW has revealed hydrogen fuel cell powered 728hL and 750hL models which are in the development stages but currently are too expensive for mass production. The German manufacturer says that it should have cost effective fuel cell cars available for mass production by 2004.
  • DaimlerChrysler was the first manufacturer to announce it would be capable of producing up to 100,000 cost effective fuel cell cars by the year 2004. It has already unveiled the Necar 4, based on the Mercedes-Benz A-class, which stores the fuel cell technology under its raised flooring system.
  • Honda claims it is in line to win the fuel cell race by having a vehicle commercially available by 2003. The manufacturer has unveiled two prototype fuel cell vehicles the FCX-V1 and FCX-V2, designed to run on hydrogen fuel and methanol respectively.
  • Nissan says it will have a mass production fuel cell car launched before Honda's 2003 target. The Japanese manufacturer is road testing a fuel cell vehicle which reacts water and methanol together to produce hydrogen which is converted to electric power.
  • PSA Group - both Peugeot and Citroen say developments are under way to create its first fuel cell powered vehicle, but the manufacturers have no details of what form the fuel cell may take and when a mass production model could be on sale.
  • Renault says tests are being carried out in France for the development of a fuel cell powered car, but can reveal no further details of models or a timescale.
  • Toyota/Lexus have developed a fuel cell which uses methanol to produce electricity through an electro-chemical reaction involving hydrogen and oxygen. The energy conversion efficiency of Toyota's fuel cell is more than 60%, or two to three times that of gasoline engines.
  • Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and SEAT) is in the development stages of a fuel cell, but has not announced a date when a mass production vehicle could be launched.

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