The California Fuel Cell Partnership, a public-private venture to demonstrate fuel cell vehicles in California and explore the path to commercialization, today announced that automobile manufacturers General Motors and Toyota will accept an invitation to join the effort. The Partnership's executive Steering Team is expected to formalize GM and Toyota's participation in the next few weeks.
The Partnership -- which formally began in April 1999 -- includes auto manufacturers (DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Volkswagen, and now GM and Toyota), energy providers (BP, Shell, Texaco), fuel cell companies (Ballard Power Systems and International Fuel Cells), and government agencies (the California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Transportation, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District).

"We are pleased to welcome GM and Toyota to our effort," said John Wallace, Chairman of the Partnership's Steering Team, while in Montreal, Canada for the 17th International Electric Vehicle Symposium. "Their combined expertise and commitment to environmentally-friendly transportation will contribute significantly to the success of our project."

Harry Pearce, GM Vice Chairman, said, "GM supports vehicle research initiatives in many countries. By joining the CFCP, we look forward to a complete exploration of transition fuels for fuel cells, addressing safety issues, component standardization and development of a future hydrogen infrastructure."

On these fuel cell vehicle issues and Toyota's decision to participate in the partnership, Toyota Managing Director Hiroyuki Watanabe said, "To form a consensus on these issues, it has become very important to promote global and open discussion not only among automobile manufacturers under the spirit of 'competition and cooperation', but also among industries and administrative organs."
Together, the eight auto companies will demonstrate more than 60 fuel cell electric vehicles in California over the next three years. Initially, vehicles will be housed at the Partnership's state-of-the-art headquarters facility in West Sacramento, California - the largest concentration of fuel cell vehicles in the world. The grand opening ceremonies for the facility are scheduled for November 1, 2000.

For more information about the California Fuel Cell Partnership, visit their website at: www.fuelcellpartnership.org.