SOURCE: Los Angeles World Airports

February 10, 2006 16:15 ET

DaimlerChrysler Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicles Enter Service at Los Angeles Airport

Five Prototype Zero-Emission Cars Will Be Tested in Everyday Use at LAX for Two Years

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 10, 2006 -- DaimlerChrysler presented officials at Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) today the keys to five hydrogen fuel-cell powered Mercedes-Benz F-Cell cars to use in its vehicle fleet at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to further the development and experience with this zero-emission vehicle technology.

"Today's event exhibits how DaimlerChrysler, BP, Praxair and LAX are taking on the challenge for industries and governments to create viable alternative-fuel solutions," said Mark Chernoby, vice-president of Advance Vehicle Engineering -- Chrysler Group. "We're pleased to be a driving force in this team effort to develop fuel-cell technology."

While receiving the keys to the demonstration vehicles, LAWA alternative fuels fleet manager Dave Waldner, said, "Los Angeles World Airports has been committed to alternative-fuel technology since 1993, when we introduced such technology into our airport operations. Hydrogen fuel-cell power is the next clean-fuel technology, and we are pleased to be in the forefront of its development. The addition of hydrogen-fuel cars into our fleet today and the establishment of a retail-designed fueling station at LAX in 2004 are concrete examples of our commitment to improving air quality."

Based on a Mercedes-Benz, the F-Cell vehicle is designed with the entire fuel-cell system housed in the floor, leaving full use of the passenger and cargo spaces. The car has a range of approximately 100 miles and a top speed of about 85 mph.

The addition of five hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles makes LAX one of the largest test sites in the United States for fuel-cell vehicles, and the only airport site. After undergoing basic training in the operation and fueling of the cars, LAWA employees will use the cars for general transportation in the course of their duties in and around LAX and Southern California during the two-year term of the agreement with DaimlerChrysler.

LAX has one of the largest airport-based alternative-fuel vehicle fleets in the nation, where 53 percent of its airport vehicles are powered by alternative fuels. Currently, over 450 vehicles use compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, propane and hybrid-electric, and solar power at LAX, Ontario International and Van Nuys Airports.

LAWA's agreement with DaimlerChrysler calls for receiving the cars in exchange for providing operational and test data that could affect future designs of F-Cell vehicles and fueling stations. This effort will contribute to the establishment of a hydrogen infrastructure to fuel a growing number of zero-emission, hydrogen-powered cars.

DaimlerChrysler has one of the world's largest fleet of fuel-cell vehicles with over 25 fuel-cell vehicles in customer hands in California and more than 100 around the world. The automaker's total fuel-cell fleet is comprised of 60 Mercedes-Benz F-Cell passenger cars, several research vehicles, medium-duty Dodge Sprinter vans, and more than 30 Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses that operate in Europe, the United States, Japan, Australia and Singapore.

DaimlerChrysler and Los Angeles World Airports support Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's efforts and goals to establish a California Hydrogen Highway Network. DaimlerChrysler is also involved with the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in other programs that enable DaimlerChrysler and its partners to gain extensive operational familiarity with fuel-cell vehicles and hydrogen fueling stations.

LAX's new F-Cell vehicles will refuel at a retail-designed hydrogen fueling station that opened at the airport in October 2004. The station is a joint project funded by BP, Praxair, LAWA, South Coast Air Quality Management District, California Energy Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy, all of which helped fund the nearly $2 million construction cost.

Fuel cells release energy from the reaction of hydrogen with a catalyst and oxygen. This clean technology operates at a high level of efficiency and is true zero-emission. Hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles emit only pure water vapor as exhaust.

LAWA is a City of Los Angeles department that owns and operates four airports in Southern California: LAX, Ontario International, Palmdale Regional and Van Nuys.

Contact Information

    Nicholas Cappa
    (248) 512-4266
    or Cole Quinnell
    (248) 807-0590

    Thomas Winfrey
    (310) 646-5260