Here's something you can brag about to your family the next time you get back from Las Vegas.
The city has added two hydrogen fuel buses from Ford Motor to its downtown bus routes. Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman hosted an inaugural launch for the press on Monday.
The city of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Valley Water District's Springs Preserve have already been participating in municipal hydrogen pilot programs. The Springs Preserve hydrogen filling station makes its own hydrogen from water and electricity generated by the station's solar panels.
Now tourists and citizens interested in hydrogen as an alternative fuel source can test out what it's like to ride in such vehicles themselves. The buses will be part of the City Ride program and offer express rides between the city's downtown area and the Las Vegas Premium Outlets shopping district.
The Ford E-450 model, referred to as the Ford H2 Ice, is not a hybrid using hydrogen to power fuel cells, but a vehicle with a 6.8-liter V10 engine that has been converted to run on hydrogen fuel. Las Vegas already has some trucks in its city fleet that were combustion engine vehicles converted to run on hydrogen fuel, but these are the first that will be frequented by tourists and average citizens.
The two buses, which are being leased for two years from Ford for $500,000, are being paid for by a U.S. Department of Energy grant that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid helped Nevada to get.
"First, they will encourage people to use public transportation downtown. Second, they rely on clean energy that won't pollute our air. I am proud to see the city of Las Vegas taking even more steps to reduce Nevada's reliance on oil," Reid said in a statement.