Following in the footsteps of Honda, GM wants to put fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) on the road to learn more about them from real world experience. They plan to have a hundred Chevrolet Equinox FCVs in customers' hand (probably leased) in California, the New York metropolitan area and Washington D.C. in the fall 2007. The vehicle will be made in GM's Oshawa plant (Canada) and it will be marketed under the Chevrolet brand. It's not yet clear how successfully GM will address problems such as cost, availability of fuel, how to make the fuel in the first place (fossil fuels?), and competition from other very promising technologies such as plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles (both can use the current liquid fuel and electrical infrastructures, unlike hydrogen cars).
The Equinox Fuel Cell is powered by a fourth-generation, 93kW fuel-cell stack. The stack will operate in temperatures ranging from 13° F to +113° F (-25° C to +45° C).
Three carbon fiber fuel tanks store 4.2 kg (9.24 lb) of hydrogen at 700 bar (10,000 psi). A 35 kW NiMH battery pack supplements the fuel cell and captures energy from regenerative braking. The 3-phase asynchronous electric motor generates 73 kW of continuous power (94 kW maximum) and torque of 320 Nm (236 lb-ft).
The Equinox Fuel Cell accelerates from 0-60 mph in 12 seconds; has a top speed of 100 mph (160 kph); and has an operating range of 200 miles (320 km).
Of course it's interesting to see automakers do R&D; in various green transportation areas, but we can wonder if GM really believes that FCVs are on the close horizon (shouldn't they start with decent high-mileage hybrids and plug-in hybrids and then move on to hydrogen?) or if they are just looking for a halo effect in the mainstream media by talking about H2 and help the company improve its image without changing its modus operandi. You can share your thoughts about this and the Equinox FCV in the comments below.
::GM to Put 100 Hydrogen-Run Vehicles on the Road in 2007, ::GM Chevrolet Announces Equinox Fuel Cell Vehicle; Commits to Launch 100-Vehicle Fleet in 2007, ::GM to build fuel-cell vehicles in Oshawa. See also ::2007 GM Saturn Aura to be Available as Hybrid