Monday, July 26, 2010

Hydrogen...will it come?

The March, 2010 issue of Motor Trend looked into the current and future developments of GM's hydrogen program. If you have been following the news, GM is winding down their Project Driveway, a campaign that involved the deployment of 119 hydrogen powered Chevy Equinox vehicles. These vehicles were then tested by various people over a span of three years (the program began in 2007). Over those three years, drivers had logged over 1.3 million miles. With the slow down of this project, GM is looking to their next generation, or Gen 2, hydrogen fuel cell.

The Gen 2 fuel cell is lighter, smaller, and uses overall less material than the Gen 1 fuel cell that was featured in Project Driveway. The Gen 2 fuel cell works toward integrating fuel cells into many different vehicles, not just vehicles larger than the Equinox. GM is also focusing their efforts on shrinking their hydrogen storage tanks from three tanks to two to tanks, which will allow for a greater ability to fit hydrogen technology into a wide arrange of vehicles.

The obvious question that comes up is "If GM is developing all this technology when will consumers see it?" According to the article, this technology will hopefully appear around the 2015 model year. Of course, there is a lot that depends on this as well. GM plans to start in urban areas where hydrogen fueling infrastructure can be built. It looks like LA will be one of the first deployment areas, as it presently has some hydrogen infrastructure. However, the key to making hydrogen widespread is having a plan to develop a hydrogen infrastructure across the country, yet the US government has no set agenda or idea on how best to do this as of yet.

The one positive thing is that GM is still focusing on developing this technology and they are focusing bringing the car industry and their vehicles into the future with the most cutting edge technology.

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