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Transportation & Fuel Source Technology

U.S. Postal Service Receives Hydrogen Powered Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle from GM

General Motors and the US Postal Service are joining forces again to deliver mail using hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles.

The two organizations announced today that the U.S. Postal Service becomes the latest entry into Chevrolet's Project Driveway, the world's first and largest market test of fuel cell vehicles to date.

Two postal stations - one in Irvine, Calif., and another to be announced - will be using hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell electric vehicles to deliver the mail on regular routes six days a week. The U.S. Postal Service immediately will begin using the Equinox in Irvine.

"The Postal Service has been an invaluable partner, and they put our fuel cell vehicles through some tough, daily workouts," said Mary Beth Stanek, director of energy and environmental policy & commercialization at General Motors. "We are gaining valuable insight on how these vehicles perform in demanding, real-world situations. By participating in Project Driveway, the Postal Service also is demonstrating the need to develop a hydrogen infrastructure to support fueling these vehicles."

The U.S. Postal Service began driving a GM HydroGen3 fuel cell vehicle in 2004 in the Northern Virginia area and in 2006, a HydroGen3 spent a year delivering mail in Irvine. Both test drive programs ended in 2007. Those programs helped GM learn a lot about how fuel cell vehicles operate under some demanding conditions - learnings that helped in developing the fleet of Equinoxes.

"We are very encouraged by GM's fuel cell technology," said Walter O'Tormey, vice president, Engineering, U.S. Postal Service. "We are looking for a vehicle that operates from a fuel source that reduces-or eliminates-our dependence on petroleum products, that is good for the environment, good for our customers and good for the Postal Service."

Chevrolet's Project Driveway is putting more than 100 Equinox fuel cell vehicles in the hands of real customers to help Chevy and GM understand what it will take to bring larger numbers of fuel cell vehicles to customers around the world. Currently, the program has launched in Los Angeles, metropolitan New York City area and Washington, D.C., with further deployments later this year in Europe and Asia.

GM will provide the maintenance, fuel and service of the vehicle. The U.S. Postal Service letter carriers will fuel the vehicle themselves at the University of California at Irvine hydrogen fueling station operated by the National Fuel Cell Research Center. The station is certified for 700 bar fueling and is already being used by other Project Driveway participants.

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