First I would like to thank Bill Arey and Ernie Haller for making my first experience showing the Toyota Highlander a good one. It was very insightful and a good learning experience for a first timer. The people at the Church car show were great and asked lots of questions. What the price of fuel would be? How far can you travel on a full tank? What is the miles per gallon. (Kg) Also some very technical questions which Bill and Ernie helped with. They wanted to know the horse power.
As for being able to take the car for a couple of days this week. Great experience. I could not believe how quiet it was. My husband drove it and loved the experience.
Attached are pictures I took during the time I had the pleasure of driving the Hydrogen Highlander.
It was my pleasure to drive the Hydrogen Toyota Highlander early this week. I wanted to take it out in the community so I took it to the Parkettes National Gymnastics Center. Two teams of boys athletes came out from their practice time to see the car. Although they were young, they did have good questions and were curious about the car. While waiting for the teams to come out to see the car, just sitting in the parking lot generated questions of those walking by. It was a great experience and I was honored that I could represent Air Products and talk about the car. The best picture is titled “Flip for Hydrogen”.
Drove the H2 FCV on an 80 mile round trip home and back for two days. Performance was as good as an internal combustion engine vehicle. Acceleration was lively, cruising speed was no problem, and it was nimble on back roads. It was a joy to drive, but I especially liked the absence of noise from all those moving parts in a conventional car. I imagine maintenance on an FCV is significantly lower too. Best of all, I like the fact it uses renewable energy. It reminded me of switching from power boating to sailing when I was a kid. Very quiet and peaceful – better for the environment.
Earth Day was the perfect time to promote a “zero emissions” vehicle. My journey began April 26th, at the Wildlands Conservancy in Emmaus, for their 1st Annual Earth Day Festival. I brought the Toyota Highlander and set up posters and brochures to help educate the 200+ in attendance. Folks of all ages were interested in the Hydrogen fueled car. One gentleman even commented that he never thought he would “see the day that a car would be fueled by Hydrogen”. Other questions were asked around safety, horsepower of the engine, where is it fueled and how far can it go on “one” tank. Some were very interested in seeing the engine and thanked me as I showed them the main components and explained how it is different than a “combustion engine”. I heard multiple times, “boy I couldn’t work on this car”. There was also an electric vehicle there, the Tesla, to promote another eco-friendly vehicle. I did point out, however, that another advantage of the Hydrogen fuel and fuel cell hybrid technology is that it creates electricity vs. consuming it.
I took it home to Fountain Hill, PA where neighbors and friends got to see it. My father-in-law wanted to see the fuel port and so I “popped the gas cover” and the vehicle immediately shut down. I quickly recognized that this was a safety inter-lock feature! My kids (Evan, 4 and Nova, 2) are too young to appreciate the significance of the Highlander but thought it was neat that I brought home “my work car”. The following day, I drove it to the March of Dimes walk event at Dorney Park where my family participated as part of Air Products team.
The following week, on 4/29 and 5/1, myself and co-worker, Marianne Goodhead, attended the 2014 Lehigh Co. High School EnviroThon hosted by the Lehigh Co. Conservation District at the Wildlands Conservancy. I spoke to environmental teams of students & advisors from 6 different Lehigh Co. High Schools and Middle Schools during their lunch break. I was impressed with their questions as well: how do we make Hydrogen and what are some of the “byproducts” (our plant schematic poster board came in handy), what will the cost of Hydrogen fuel be, what was the volume of water from tailpipe, will the vehicle be expensive to buy, do I think Hydrogen fuel will one day be used in airplanes. Wildlands President, Chris Kocher, appreciated us bringing the car over and being a guest speaker for the event.
To have an opportunity to drive a Hydrogen fueled vehicle was exciting. It was fun educating myself and others on APCI’s Smartfuel retail Hydrogen dispenser and Toyota’s fuel cell hybrid vehicle and our Sustainability roles.
Concert goers and band members had a chance to inspect the hydrogen Toyota Highlander last weekend and hear it not make a sound while running. Most people were interested in how the car is fueled, the location of local stations, and what it costs to fuel. They also asked if this was my personal vehicle. The drive and feel of the car is such a close match to my Gen 2 Prius that it actually FELT like it was my car. The concert was at Jordan Church in Orefield, PA – thus the tombstones in the background. However, even the dead woke up though during the final concert piece – the 1812 Overture Finale. The Macungie Band is a community band of extremely high quality with many concerts free to the public in the summer months near our offices and throughout the Valley. For their schedule visit http://www.macungieband.com/schedule.html .
I had the car for two weeknights. The first was a washout – too much rain. But I was able to put it thru its paces for a couple of hours Tuesday evening. I was only able to get out about 65 MW even when I floored the gas – but this was more than adequate. The car drove with a pep and was fun to drive. I was able to get it to go fully green (max recharging mode) by decelerating with the shift lever in the “B” position. My wife was also impressed with how smooth it rode and drove – and compared it favorably with our Pilot.
My family had a super time this past weekend driving the H2 Highlander around town. In addition to the usual weekend running around, the H2 Highlander was the chariot that transported my seven and five year old to the Emmaus One Mile fun run just before the Emmaus Four Miler. Even the big kid in the family (husband) enjoyed the car! Thanks for the opportunity.
I was impressed by the quietness of the ride and the smoothness of acceleration. The braking felt a bit unusual at first, but I attribute that to the realization that application of the braking system helps to recharge the batteries. I’m excited to use it again this evening. I’ll be putting about 50 miles on it tonight and will be visiting with some friends. It will interesting to hear the questions they may have in regards to the vehicle and planning for infrastructure to make Fuel cell vehicles a viable alternative to gasoline powered vehicles.
_____________________ Greg Ulrich
Air Products & Chemicals, Inc.
GBSS – Liquid Bulk Logistics
West Region Supervisor
I recently had the hydrogen car for a couple of nights and took it out for some photo opportunities. The first night we met some colleagues from the UK for dinner at the Bone Fish. My supervisor drove the car from our Trexlertown facility to the restaurant. He was impressed by the responsiveness, and had lots of questions about how things worked. Some of questions were easier than others, how did you get to drive the car (took the required training), does it make a lot of noise (not too much), what does it engine look like (let’s have a look), what is that dripping out of the back of the car (water!). When we got to the restaurant we were lucky enough to get a spot right outside the door. What good advertising. The next night I was on my own, so I thought I’d take the car out for a spin and make some stops along the way. First stop, Wegmans, had a quick bite to eat and then on to Emmaus and back to Kohl’s in Trexlertown. Proud to be able to represent Air Products and this new technology!