California Fuel Cell Partnership Rally Thru The Valley
5/14/03 to 5/16/03
Daily Web Log
Day 2 - 5/15/03 - Fresno to Bakersfield
The Honda FCX team went from California's "breadbasket" of Tulare County - with its 350 different crops - to the heart of the state's traditional energy industry in Bakersfield.
At the latter stop, energy history got an update. An old wooden oil pump provided the backdrop for a display of fuel cell vehicles at the day's main stop for the second day of the California Fuel Cell Partnership's "Rally Thru the Valley."
Kern County Supervisor Barbara Patrick, who also is a member of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), slid into the driver's seat of the FCX in Bakersfield. Part of her duties at CARB include helping decide the future of zero emission vehicles like the FCX, and this was the first opportunity she had to actually drive a fuel cell vehicle.
Lighter highlights of the day included a break for an informal juggling competition at a refueling stop in Tulare's International Agri-Center. Jugglers used the Partnership's squeeze globes as throw props. Later, with a California Highway Patrol escort leading the way, the FCX was able to legally exceed the speed limit on southbound Highway 99.
When the FCX team reached Bakersfield, it was warmly greeted by Mayor Harvey Hall and Barbara Patrick, along with dozens of school kids and adult fuel cell enthusiasts.
At the quaint Kern County Museum in Bakersfield, where the entire fuel cell entourage arrived at about noon, children exhausted their vocabulary of superlatives in exchange for rides in the FCX.
In early evening, the Honda FCX and other fuel cell vehicles were the center of attention for thousands at the bustling Street Faire in downtown Bakersfield.
Media continue to be drawn to the FCX. Steve Fujimoto, photographer with the Visalia Times-Delta, aimed his lens at the Honda as it left Tulare. Honda team member Shiro Matsuo answered questions from reporter Matt Weiser of the Bakersfield Californian prior to his driving the FCX.
Incidentally, two PZEV (Partial Zero Emission Vehicle) Accords from the local fleet of Chevron Texaco were on display.
The Accords are a showcase of Honda's ongoing commitment to reducing current vehicle emissions while at the same time demonstrating future alternative fuel technologies like the FCX.