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June 10, 2003

CANADA: GM plans more fuel cell tests with hydrogen producers – report

General Motors expects to sign new agreements for testing stationary fuel cells similar to a pact unveiled recently with Dow Chemical Company, a company official told Reuters on Monday. GM, which is testing the units in its broader effort to build fuel cells for cars, is in talks with other hydrogen producers, a director of market development in GM's fuel cell development operation, Timothy Vail, told the news agency.

By bcusack

General Motors expects to sign new agreements for testing stationary fuel cells similar to a pact unveiled recently with Dow Chemical Company, a company official told Reuters on Monday.

GM, which is testing the units in its broader effort to build fuel cells for cars, is in talks with other hydrogen producers, a director of market development in GM’s fuel cell development operation, Timothy Vail, told the news agency.

Vail did not name the potential partners but reportedly said he expected an announcement to be made “soon.”

“It difficult for me to say (exactly when). It took a little bit longer than I thought to get the Dow agreement closed,” Vail told Reuters in Vancouver where he was speaking at a fuel cell industry conference.

Reuters noted that GM and Dow Chemical announced in May that the automaker would supply and test a fuel cell system to help power a Dow plant in Freeport, Texas. The plant will supply fuel for the cells, which produce electricity via a chemical reaction rather than through combustion.

Vail told Reuters that GM still views its testing of stationary fuel cells as part of a broader effort to develop cells for cars that will be cost competitive with petrol-powered engines.

Reuters said that Vail and other speakers warned the conference Monday that while fuel cells may be promoted as green power they will not win the hearts of consumers unless they can also be bought and used economically.

“The consumers is not going to take anything less than than they have today,” Vail said, according to Reuters, which added that Canadian officials used the conference on Sunday to announce plans for Ford to begin testing its fuel cell-powered cars in Vancouver next year.

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