Viewing cable 10REYKJAVIK19, ICELAND HAS LARGEST HYDROGEN VEHICLE FLEET IN EUROPE
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|10REYKJAVIK19||2010-02-01 16:04||2011-01-13 05:05||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Reykjavik|
VZCZCXRO3206 PP RUEHIK DE RUEHRK #0019 0321601 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 011601Z FEB 10 FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4276 INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS REYKJAVIK 000019 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ECON ETRD EFIN CVIS SENV IC SUBJECT: ICELAND HAS LARGEST HYDROGEN VEHICLE FLEET IN EUROPE ¶1. (U) Minister of Industry Katrin Juliusdottir handed out keys to ten Ford Focus Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs) to customers at a January 25 ceremony in Reykjavik hosted by Icelandic New Energy and Brimborg, a local Ford retailer. In her remarks, the Minister commented on the progress in Iceland towards using environmentally friendly vehicles. She expressed hope that use of such vehicles in the public sector and in some of Iceland's municipalities would set a positive example. She noted that she had already test driven both gas electric hybrid and methane powered vehicles. As the Minister and CDA Sam Watson then test drove one of the vehicles, she commented that the car's quiet whir reminded her of a space ship. ¶2. (U) The ceremony marked another step towards the government's goal of increased use of renewable energy vehicles. Iceland's near complete reliance on geothermal and hydro power as well as geothermal heating means that land transportation is the last area in which to reduce carbon emissions. In 1998, the GOI set a policy to increase the use of domestic renewable (geothermal) energy in transportation by using local electricity to substitute for hydrocarbon based imported fuel. Since 1999, Icelandic New Energy has been working to facilitate the integration of hydrogen as a fuel into Icelandic society. In addition, the Minister sees this as a possible way to develop new sectors. ¶3. (U) According to dealership officials, Ford views Iceland as a suitable and convenient location to conduct field research in this new technology. Ford's recognition of Iceland's experience, research and skills in handling hydrogen is the key reason for testing its products and seeking customer feedback. These additional ten cars will make the total hydrogen vehicle fleet the largest one in Europe with 22 hydrogen vehicles operating in Reykjavik. ¶4. (U) In his remarks, the Iceland New Energy official offered to lease a hydrogen vehicle to the Embassy. Charge agreed to investigate the possibility. (Comment: We would be happy to add a hydrogen vehicle to our fleet, but our understanding is that it would need to be four wheel drive in Iceland. Having one non-four wheel drive vehicle for use in Reykjavik only strikes us an excellent way to encourage both renewable energy vehicles and U.S. manufacturers. We will look into this possibility through appropriate channels. End Comment). WATSON