WASHINGTON -- Metaldyne Corp. CEO Tim Leuliette is expanding his efforts to get government and industry to view the need for hydrogen-powered vehicles with the same urgency he does.
Leuliette said current funding levels and research timetables are too little and too late. Continued dependence on petroleum "not only threatens to further weaken profits and cost jobs among the U.S. automakers, (but) it is a national security risk to the United States and is wreaking havoc on the global environment," he said.
The statements were part of Leuliette's testimony prepared for delivery Monday at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
His appearance comes 18 months after he first called for an all-out national program to develop hydrogen fuel and hydrogen-powered vehicles. He made that appeal at the 2005 Automotive News World Congress.
In his Senate testimony, Leuliette said government and industry are taking worthwhile steps toward the so-called hydrogen economy. But spending is far too little and the pace far too slow, he said.
As the number of vehicles rises globally, he said, demand for oil will rise to 119 million barrels a day by 2025 from 80 million barrels daily today.
"The world cannot meet the demand," Leuliette said.
He called hybrid vehicles and ethanol fuel good and necessary intermediate steps, but not long-term solutions. He said programs to develop hydrogen technology need to involve more suppliers because they are the true innovators in the auto industry.
"There is money to be made here, and I intend to be sure Metaldyne is at the forefront," he said.
Metaldyne, of suburban Detroit, ranks No. 69 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers. Last year it reported $2.16 billion in total worldwide original-equipment automotive parts sales.
The company designs and makes components, assemblies and modules, mainly for powertrain and chassis applications.
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