According to the Financial Times, the companies are to set up working groups to look at fuel technologies, traffic management systems and environmental policies. They plan to consult other organisations, including environmental NGOs. Their agreement should not affect a separate collaboration between Ford's and DaimlerChrysler and Ballard Power Systems, which aims to develop fuel cell vehicles including buses within 2 years.
Ford's and BP's tryst reflects a continuing rapprochement between major car and oil firms over environmental issues after a period of deep disagreement sparked in particular by the EU's major Auto/Oil I legislative passage. Earlier this year, the two sectors' European research arm launched a long-term collaborative programme (ENDS Daily 6 May). This followed a similar warming of the relationship between the main European representative associations of the two industries last year (ENDS Daily 25 January 1999).
The Ford/BP programme is not unprecedented, though. Earlier this month General Motors (GM) and Exxon announced that they had jointly developed a petrol fuel processor that produces hydrogen for powering fuel cells, and that GM hoped to have a demonstration vehicle "within 18 months".
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