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Ford Motor Company has delivered five Focus Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs) to the Vancouver Fuel Cell Vehicle Programme (VFCVP) for ‘real-use testing’ in selected fleets.

The five FCVs are the first ‘customer-ready’ vehicles to be delivered by Ford, which plans to place 25 more in fleets in the United States and Germany by the end of this year.

The demonstration programme is the first of its kind, and encompasses three years of a five-year initiative.

“Using hydrogen and fuel cell technologies is a key part of bringing down greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change,” said Canada’s minister of natural resources John Efford. The government of Canada has invested $C4.5 million in the project.

The programme partners – the Canadian government, Ford, Fuel Cells Canada and the government of British Columbia – will collaborate on the five-year, $9 million project.

BC Hydro, BC Transit, Ballard Power Systems, the city of Vancouver, Fuel Cells Canada, the National Research Council (NRC), Natural Resources Canada and the government of British Columbia will use the FCVs in ‘real’ daily driving conditions as part of a three-year hydrogen fuel technology demonstration programme.

The government of British Columbia is supporting the VFCVP as part of its commitment to promote clean and renewable alternative energy sources and help the growth of BC’s technology industries. This is one of a number of hydrogen-related programmes targeted for implementation before the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler.

“BC’s 2002 Energy Plan lays out a path for future energy use and production, with a key focus on alternative energy, including hydrogen fuel cells, which will ensure environmental sustainability – one of our key goals for the next decade,” a spokesman said.

The VFCVP is managed by Fuel Cells Canada (FCC), which is headquartered at the NRC Institute for Fuel Cell Innovation, where the VFCVP vehicles will be maintained and refuelled.

The Focus FCV is a third-generation hybrid-electric vehicle that uses the Canadian-made Ballard Mark 902 series fuel cell engine and Dynetek 5,000-psi (pounds per square inch) compressed-hydrogen storage tanks. The performance of each car will be monitored over the next three years.