Postal service expands fuel cell testing

The U.S. Postal Service has extended a research partnership with General Motors for another year to continue testing a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle

The U.S. Postal Service has extended a research partnership with General Motors for another year to continue testing a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in Washington, DC, and to expand that program to the West Coast.

For the past two years, the postal service has been collecting and analyzing data from GM’s hydrogen fuel cell minivan—the GM HydroGen3—that’s been delivering mail three days a week. Though the technology is still being refined, Walter O’Tormey, vp—engineering for the postal service, said the minivan is holding up well to the rigors of stop-and-go driving and cold weather operation.

He noted that a vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells emits just pure water and is twice as energy efficient as an internal combustion engine—and represents one of the more than 37,000 alternative-fuel vehicles in postal service’s fleet.

O’Tormey added that the agency is also currently evaluating other kinds of alternative fuels, such as biodiesel, electric-powered vehicles, compressed natural gas (CNG), and ethanol. “As an organization that drives more than 1.2 billion miles a year, we’re in a unique position to lead the way to an alternative-fuel economy,” he said.

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