Dassault And IBM Announce V5R14 Of PLM Portfolio

Today, Ballard powers the largest number of fuel cell vehicles demonstrated to date and is currently integrating real world data gained from these demonstrations to support the development of next generation fuel cells and fuel cell engines. In nine major European cities and in Iceland and Australia, 33 Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses powered with Ballard heavy-duty fuel cell engines are operating on city streets. These buses are carrying passengers in daily service in each city as part of a two-year field trial program. Since 1993, ten of the top 15 automakers have demonstrated over 125 vehicles (including 49 fuel cell buses) powered with Ballard fuel cells. During 2003, Ballard supplied fuel cells to six of the top 10 automakers, including DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Honda and Mitsubishi, to support their existing automotive fleet introductions in the U.S., Japan, Singapore and Europe.

Ballard Power Systems is recognized as the world leader in developing, manufacturing and marketing zero-emission proton exchange membrane fuel cells. Ballard is commercializing fuel cells for transportation applications and fuel cell systems for portable and stationary products. Ballard is also commercializing electric drives for fuel cell and other electric vehicles and power conversion products, and is a Tier 1 automotive supplier of friction materials for power train components. Ballard's proprietary technology is enabling automobile, bus, electrical equipment, portable power and stationary product manufacturers to develop environmentally clean products for sale. Ballard is partnering with strong, world-leading companies, including DaimlerChrysler, Ford and EBARA to commercialize Ballard fuel cells. Ballard has supplied fuel cells to Honda, MGE UPS SYSTEMS, Mitsubishi and Nissan, among others.

Ballard Power Systems develops, manufactures, and markets power electronics products for fuel cells, photovoltaic (PV), and other distributed generation products. It produces proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells and systems that are virtually emission-free, designed as clean, quiet, and efficient alternatives to internal combustion engines. In its world, Ballard Power Systems envisions gas-guzzling internal combustion engines going the way of the horse and buggy. Today's Ballard Power Systems is the result of acquiring Textron's carbon products division (materials for automotive transmissions and fuel cell applications) and Ecostar Electric Drive Systems from Ford and DaimlerChrysler. Ford and DaimlerChrysler currently own approximately 19% and 17% of Ballard, respectively. Today, Ballard powers the largest number of fuel cell cars and buses in the world, and is expected to power more than 50% of announced demonstration vehicles under the U.S. Hydrogen Economy Initiative. That said, don't expect to see a slew of fuel cell cars in your neighborhood or on the roads during this decade. Although advances have been and continue to be made, and GM has said it wants to develop a commercially viable fuel cell vehicle by 2010, don't count on it. An expert panel at the recent Electric Drive Transportation Association conference concurred that the technology and infrastructure to support it would not be ready commercially for at least 15 years. For fuel cells to really establish themselves as alternatives to internal combustion, several high hurdles must be cleared - standards must be established, safety must be proven, a fuel infrastructure must be established, costs must be reduced, and performance has to be at least roughly equivalent to that of internal combustion engines. The list could go on and on, and resolving any of the issues is a major feat. Until all, or at least most of that happens, electric/internal combustion hybrids are the nearest thing we'll have to so-called alternatively powered vehicles. This announcement with Ford, though, is a big step in the right direction.

Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached here or 408.850.9230.

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