GM Takes Lead with 110 Hydrogen Equinoxes

(by John Addison) GM revealed more details about Project Driveway. GM will place 110 Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell vehicles in the hands of five different types of drivers for three months to 30 months of daily driving.

Most drivers that GM will select will live in California within ten miles of one of the 25 hydrogen stations that stretch 800 miles from Chula Vista, near Mexico, to Arcata, near Oregon. Other drivers will be near stations in New York and Washington, D.C.

The Equinox Fuel Cell will typically deliver a range of 160 miles between hydrogen fueling, but only by using higher pressure 700 bar. To accelerate the presence of higher pressure stations with public access, GM is spending millions to establish nine temporary 700 bar stations from Burbank to San Diego.

The Equinox Fuel Cell uses 35 kW of NiMH batteries in a mild-hybrid configuration. In its next generation fuel cell vehicle, GM could achieve a range exceeding 300 miles by reducing vehicle weight, having a more battery-dominate full-hybrid design such as E-Flex, using its fifth generation fuel cell, and by switching to lithium batteries.

A number of existing California hydrogen stations use zero-emission hydrogen production by using electrolysis powered by renewable energy, such as solar. Next year, pipelined byproduct hydrogen will be available at a Torrance station for less than the cost of gasoline.

In California, the number of hydrogen vehicles from all makers on the road is likely to double from over 150 today to over 300 in 2008, with GM leading the way.

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