Regular unleaded gasoline may soon power fuel-cell vehicles. Arthur D. Little (ADL, Cambridge, MA), a technology-based consulting firm, completed a five-year program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Out of the study, rose a reformer technology that converts gasoline and other carbon sources to hydrogen on-board an automobile. Fuel cells then convert the hydrogen to electricity which powers the vehicle. Chrysler Corporation is working on a model of a fuel cell car and hopes to demonstrate a working vehicle with this technology in the next two years. "Using the current fueling infrastructure will shrink the time frame needed to achieve fuel cell-powered family sedans," states Jeffrey Bentley, a director in Technology and Product Development business. "Fuel cells require hydrogen to operate and hydrogen is something not sold at your neighborhood service station. This breakthrough technology represents the first time that gasoline can successfully operate fuel cells." The reformer incorporates a fuel flexible design, enabling a vehicle running on this technology to use a variety of fuels.
As manufacturers add new technologies to their products, designing for compliance becomes more difficult. Prepare for the certification testing process. Otherwise, you increase the risk of discovering a safety issue after a product leaves the assembly line. That will cause significant time-to-market delays, be much costlier to fix, and damage your brand in the eyes of customers.
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