GM Hydrogen Fuel Cell Closer to Production

GM Fuel Cell Charlie Freese Stephanie White (c) GM

Charlie Freese hands the keys to GM's latest fuel cell vehicle to Stephanie White.

General Motos released details this week on its latest hydrogen fuel cell that is smaller, lighter and less expensive to produce than earlier versions. The fuel cell is 220 pounds lighter and uses about one third of the amount of platinum in the system currently being tested in Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell electric vehicles as part of GM’s Project Driveaway program.

According to GM, the new fuel cell system can be packaged in about the same space as a traditional 4-cylinder gasoline engine and can be ready for commercial production in 2015. Project Driveaway begin in late 2007 and 119 fuel cell vehicles have logged nearly 1.3 million miles in various markets around the world in everyday driving conditions.

“Our learning from Project Driveway has been tremendous and these vehicles have been very important to our program,” Charles Freese, executive director of GM’s Global Fuel Cell Activities told reporters Tuesday at a news briefing on GM’s fuel cell progress.

“The 30 months we committed to the demonstration are winding down, but we will keep upgrades of these vehicles running and will continue learning from them while we focus efforts on the production-intent program for 2015.

”Some of the 119 fuel cell electric vehicles in Project Driveway will receive hardware and software upgrades and will become part of a technology demonstration program with the U.S. Department of Energy. Others will be driven by businesses and a few will be used to continue showing that, with proper fueling infrastructure, hydrogen fuel cells are a viable alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles.

“We will continue to use the Project Driveway fleet strategically to advance fuel cell technology, hydrogen infrastructure, and GM’s vehicle electrification goals,” Freese said.

The first long-term loan of the new-look Chevy fuel cell vehicle will be to Stephanie White, a fuel cell advocate who was among the first Project Driveway participants and regularly blogs on her vision for a hydrogen economy in which zero-pollution fuel cells are a mainstream source of transportation. Freese presented White with the keys to the car on Tuesday.“

Driving the Chevy fuel cell around LA has been an amazing experience,” White said. “People are always stopping me to ask questions about the vehicle and I tell them how powerful and eco-friendly it is.”

One Comment

  1. aneram says:

    Hydrogen cars? I roll my eyes back in my head every time I hear about a new vehicle that requires an entire new infrastructure. We still do not know how to extract hydrogen without wasting more energy than the hydrogen saves. Why is this a good idea? Why isn’t someone working on the water powered car or the compressed air cars? They have more of a chance at being useful than a hydrogen car.