A cross-country road tour of 10 hydrogen-powered vehicles intended to promote the use of such vehicles will feature Volkswagen’s hydrogen fuel cell concept vehicle, the HyMotion Tiguan, and stop in Chattanooga.
The National Hydrogen Road Tour will run for two weeks and make 31 stops in 18 states from Maine to California, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the California Fuel Cell Partnership, the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Hydrogen Association.
The UTC Center for Energy, Transportation and the Environment helped organize the tour, which will make a stop at the First Tennessee Pavilion Aug. 18 from 10 a.m. to noon, officials said.
IF YOU GO
* What: National Hydrogen Road Tour
* When: Aug. 18, 10 a.m. until noon
* Where: First Tennessee Pavilion
“The effort to heighten the public’s awareness of the significant progress made in hydrogen-fueled vehicles is significant as we work to address our dependency on petroleum,” said Will Sutton, dean of the College of Engineering at UTC. “The decision to include Chattanooga in this campaign showcases the research achievements of our faculty and students and helps focus attention on the outstanding educational program we offer.”
Nine automakers will showcase hydrogen-powered vehicles in the tour, and John Tillman, program manager for the U.S. Advanced Powertrain Research Program, said Volkswagen wants to raise awareness of the research and engineering behind the VW HyMotion Tiguan.
“With water as the only byproduct, this incredible vehicle has zero emissions and has a top speed of 93 miles per hour,” he said.
Officials at Volkswagen are glad to see the tour stop in Chattanooga, home to the newly announced U.S. production facility, said Jill Bratina, a company spokeswoman. The tour event on Aug. 18 will allow the public to ride and drive in the hydrogen vehicles, she said.
Promoters of the two-week trek hope local events will highlight the advancements and technology that have push hydrogen-powered vehicles closer to commercial viability.
“The technology necessary to put these cars on the road, and keep them moving, exists today,” said Paul Brubaker, administrator of the U.S. DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration. “The question is not if hydrogen-powered vehicles will be available commercially, but when.”
Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...