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news release

Contact: John Dourgarian
RELEASE: October 22, 1999

NJDOT receives federal grant to build fuel cell vehicle

Transportation Commissioner James Weinstein today announced that the New Jersey Department of Transportation has received a U.S. Department of Energy grant for $150,000 to develop and test a hydrogen generating system to power a fuel cell electric vehicle.

"Based on the success of the New Jersey Venturer, last year’s fuel cell car entry in the Tour de Sol road rally, we have decided to raise the bar and take on the challenge of building a full-size car that provides superior performance with zero emissions" said Weinstein. "This project will benefit education, technology advancement and the environment, as well as having energy and transportation applications."

The system will be installed in a lightweight all aluminum Mercury Sable donated by Ford Motor Company. A coalition of educational institutions, technology firms and government agencies will be formed to design and retrofit the car, which will compete in the May 2000 Tour de Sol. The Tour will make three stops in New Jersey and features the latest in advanced vehicle technologies.

NOTE: NJDOT will make both the Sable and the existing New Jersey Venturer vehicle available for a photo opportunity with Commissioner Weinstein at NJDOT Headquarters, 1035 Parkway Avenue, Ewing Township, NJ, at 12 Noon on Monday, October 25, 1999. The vehicles will be in the parking lot for the Main Office Building at the corner of Parkway Avenue and Lower Ferry Road.

Last May, NJ Venturer became the first fuel cell vehicle to compete in any event and placed second in the Tour's Hybrid Category, a class dominated by nine gasoline powered cars. The hydrogen generating technology for this year’s competition will be developed by Millennium Cell of Eatontown, NJ.

"Unlike technologies which generate heat and utilize fossil fuels, our generating system produces no emissions and utilizes an environmentally safe fuel," said Steven Amendola, Vice President of Research and Development for Millenium Cell. "The fuel is more than 50 percent water and renewable."

"The Sable body is 47 percent lighter than the production model and is just one of 20 cars specially built and tested by Ford," said Anne Fellows, Governmental Affairs Representative for Ford Motor Company. "Keeping the car light makes it possible to achieve excellent range with an electric vehicle drive train."

The Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation at Rutgers University will administer the project. Fuel cell maker H Power Corporation of Belleville, NJ has been selected to supply two six kilowatt fuel cells. Private donations will be sought to support student involvement with the Tour de Sol.

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