WASHINGTON -- The federal government has cracked open the door for import-brand car companies to participate in U.S. taxpayer-funded research on future vehicle technology, especially hydrogen fuel cells.
Fuel cell vehicles from Toyota, Honda and Nissan were on display alongside those from the Big 3 at a Thursday, Feb. 6, rally organized by the White House to boost President Bush's plan for hydrogen and fuel cell research called FreedomCar.
"Foreign automakers have and will have an opportunity to participate" in FreedomCar, said U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham in Detroit. "We are looking at how that will be done. The goal we have is that we want to be sure there is reciprocity. We want to make sure that American companies, whether it is in the automotive sector or the energy sector, would be given similar opportunities in other countries if their governments are involved in these kinds of research efforts."
Jim Press, COO of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., said the Department of Energy has invited Toyota to join a dialogue on the subject. The company doesn't have details on the offer.