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Viewing cable 10REYKJAVIK19, ICELAND HAS LARGEST HYDROGEN VEHICLE FLEET IN EUROPE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
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