The drive towards a hydrogen future was given a real boost when President George Bush unveiled a development plan, worth $1.7bn, in his State of the Union address, to help the US lead the world in developing clean hydrogen-powered automobiles.

Now just weeks after that commitment comes a significant partnership between General Motors (GM) and Shell to provide a taste of the future.

GM says it will provide a fleet of six fuel-cell Zafira mini vans at $1m each for people to test drive while Shell will install hydrogen pumps at one of its Washington gas stations.

The companies say they expect about 10,000 people to ride in the vehicles over the next two years.
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