Sunday, April 3, 2011

I Have Seen The Future - But Our Politicians Haven't!

How’s this for political arrogance? This month Mercedes-Benz brought it’s Fuel Cell program to Australia, as part of a 30,000km drive around the world with three F-Cell Mercedes Benz ‘B’ series cars. So far the cars have travelled 11,000km and they were in Australia to drive from Sydney to Melbourne, and across to Perth.

The F-Cell Drive - Round Trip from Stuttgart

The program travelled to Melbourne via Canberra, and for weeks the Australian division of Mercedes-Benz has been sending invitations to all our senior politicians, Government, Opposition, Greens and Independents. None responded to the invitation to come along and see what Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) were, and the potential the technology held for reducing emissions, and dependence on fossil fuels.

That’s right, none responded! How serious are these jokers about cutting carbon emissions? Not at all. What you’re hearing from the benches today is all political hot-air. Paul Keating was right, the government doesn’t have a policy on carbon. In fact it has precious few policies on anything.

The opposition is no better. It has shifted its major spokesman on carbon reduction, Malcolm Turnbull, out of the limelight so he isn’t a threat to ‘Gorilla-Man’ (just take note of the way the Opposition leader walks?). We all know the Greens don’t have any rational policies for reducing carbon emissions, or anything else for that matter, so why should I be surprised?

This demonstration by Mercedes-Benz is powerfully persuasive, and engages on human, social, technological, economic and rational levels, and is worth looking at. The interesting thing about the planned outcomes is that certainly M-B will use the technology for its own cars, but it is happy to share the knowledge and its real-world testing experience with anyone!

The leader of the company (Automotive Fuel Cell Corporation - a joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and Ford) is Andreas Truckenbrodt, who possesses excellent credentials to work in this field. He is an engineer par excellence. He is also an aerodynamicist, automotive engineer, fuel cell technologist and is a very humble, but dedicated guy.

Ing. Dr. Andreas Truckenbrodt

Mercedes-Benz began its experiments in fuel cell vehicles as far back as 1991, producing its first driveable car in 1994. Since then it has created fuel cell powerplants for buses and trucks, as well as cars, and has amassed a staggering amount of knowledge, experience and real-world results.

What does a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle emit? Water vapour! Wouldn’t you think our politicians, whose current schemes threaten to wipe out Australia’s prosperity, would want to at least take a look at this technology - even if it didn’t accord with their own thinking?

Mercedes-Benz is the first to admit there are logistical and economic hurdles to having big fleets of fuel cell cars driving around anytime soon, but believe me the challenge of jumping these hurdles is NOT rocket science. Any political party dedicated to cleaning up carbon emissions from cars could pull together a plan to make FCEVs part of our motoring future.

Not even a return phone call! Makes you wonder how bright the boys and girls we elected really are, doesn’t it?

I’ll write more on the Mercedes-Benz F-Cell program in another posting.

Andreas, me and the B Series F-Cell

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