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Canadian Engineering Students Unveil Their Innovative Fuel Cell Vehicle

The University of Waterloo Alternative Fuels Team (UWAFT) competing in Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility was given an official send-off today as the team prepares for Year Three of the international challenge held at the General Motors Proving Grounds in Milford, Michigan. The UWAFT team is the only Canadian team participating in the competition.

Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility is an engineering competition that asks teams to re-engineer a Chevrolet Equinox crossover SUV to use advanced propulsion technologies for better fuel economy, emissions and performance.

"On behalf of Canada's New Government, I would like to congratulate the students of the University of Waterloo who are taking part in this competition. It is this kind of innovative thinking that will help Canada lead the way when it comes to our environment," said the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources. "This competition demonstrates that by working together we can achieve real, tangible and significant environmental progress through science and technology."

Natural Resources Canada sponsors the competition along with General Motors, the U.S. Department of Energy, and more than 30 other organizations.

General Motors is one of the headline sponsors of the Challenge X competition. GM donated new 2005 Chevy Equinox crossover vehicles to each of the university teams at the end of the first year of the competition, plus two control vehicles. GM also provided each university team with $10,000 in seed money and donated use of its engineering, testing and proving-ground facilities for student workshops and competitions. Finally, GM provided highly controlled access to its intellectual property and staff support - including a program manager, team mentors and event judges.

"At GM we know the importance of investing in the students of today since they are tomorrow's future," said Bryan Swift, Director, Environmental Activities, General Motors of Canada. "The University of Waterloo Alternative Fuels Team has worked hard throughout the last three years to explore innovative new approaches to vehicle propulsion that offer all the attributes of today's vehicle, but with even better fuel economy and lower emissions."

Hydrogenics Corporation, also a sponsor, supplied the university with the fuel cell and provided technical support.

"Hydrogenics' fuel cell power module technology has really been done proud by the University of Waterloo team," said Daryl Wilson, Hydrogenics President and Chief Executive Officer. "It has been such a privilege to mentor these young people, giving them a real experience to work with a clean energy technology that is important to the future of transportation. This is the first generation that, in many ways, will reap the greatest reward from this emerging technology."

Launched in 2004, Challenge X was originally scheduled for completion in 2007 but is being extended to a fourth year. The competition gives teams the opportunity to focus on customer acceptability, road reliability and the extended durability of their advanced propulsion systems.

"Natural Resources Canada, Hydrogenics Corporation and General Motors of Canada are to be thanked and commended for supporting this important project," said David Johnston, President of the University of Waterloo. "They are playing a key role in helping a group of very smart future leaders address the crucial challenge of developing alternative fuel technologies."

Canada is an emerging energy superpower. Innovation in energy technologies will provide significant benefits to our economy, our health and our environment.

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