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GM Announces Drivable Version of Sequel Fuel-Cell Concept; Says Ramping Up Major Hybrid Assault

11 August 2006

Sequel1
GM’s Sequel fuel-cell concept is now drivable.

In his remarks at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan, GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner announced that the company has developed a drivable version of its Sequel fuel-cell concept car.

GM introduced the Sequel concept at the North American International Auto Show in 2005. The Sequel combines a new fuel cell system, higher-pressure hydrogen storage, enhanced by-wire controls substituting for mechanical systems and new rear-wheel hub motors that accelerate the vehicle—slightly larger and heavier than the Cadillac SRX crossover—from 0-60 in less than 10 seconds and with a range of 300 miles. (Earlier post.)

GM will introduce the car to the media next month with a ride-and-drive event in Southern California.

Sequel_chassis
The Sequel skateboard chassis. Click to enlarge.

The Sequel uses three traction motors—a single transverse-mounted motor in the front and two rear wheel hub motors—that deliver a total of 110 kW of power. The GM 73 kW fuel-cell power module delivers 25% more power than it predecessor in the Hy-Wire and is supplemented by a 65kW Li-Ion battery system.

Advances in high-pressure hydrogen storage support Sequel’s 300-mile range. Three lightweight, carbon composite tanks store hydrogen at 10,000 psi (700 bars) and carry 8 kg of hydrogen, more than double that of GM’s HydroGen3 fuel cell vehicle.

Wagoner also noted that the Saturn VUE Green Line hybrid (earlier post) has just entered production, and that there are more than 500 GM-equipped hybrid buses in operation, all precursors to a push on hybrid technology.

On the hybrid front, we’re standing right on the threshold of the ramp-up of our major assault...late next year, we’ll introduce, in our full-size SUVs, our technologically advanced two-mode hybrid system—co-developed with BMW and DaimlerChrysler, and based on a scaled-down version of the two-mode system already on the road in our hybrid transit buses.

—Rick Wagoner

In separate remarks at the Traverse City event, Andreas Truckenbrodt, executive director of DaimlerChrysler’s hybrid program, said that the three companies will spend more than US$1 billion combined to develop the two-mode system. The cost of the jointly developed system includes at least $300 million for a transmission.

Wagoner also touched on GM’s use of cylinder deactivation and six-speed transmissions to deliver improvements in fuel economy, and on the importance to the company of its flex-fuel initiatives, both in terms of product and in terms of developing the infrastructure.

Wagoner also announced that GM will build a new version of the Camaro, introduced as a muscle concept at the North American International Auto Show in 2006.

Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported today that GM says it will slow production of its big SUVs, reflecting declining sales. According to Wagoner, GM holds 65% of the large and large-luxury SUV market.

August 11, 2006 in Fuel Cells, Hybrids, Hydrogen, Vehicle Manufacturers | Permalink | Comments (41) | TrackBack (0)

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Ugh. Just strip out the H2 tanks and replace them with more Lithium ion batteries. Then you have a genuine electric car. It could be 2 or 4 wheel drive. Rearranging the motor, battery, and other components will help too. Wheel hub motors may not currently be mature/robust enough fo use, thus axle mounted motors (like Tesla's sports car design) optimal, for now.

65kW of Li-ion batteries? Is that the actual peak power output of the battery pack? I wonder how many Watt hours of energy is stored in the pack.

Another possiblility would to put in a supercapacitor or hydraulic regeneratve drive system. Even some of the fastest recharging lith-ion batteries can not cope with the surge of energy from regenerative braking under heavy loads/conditions. This is where capacitors and hydraulic hybrids come in. They can absorb some/most of the rapid energy generated from the regen braking.
_
___Capacitors are electric, and thus require fewer parts to integrate into an electric system. Hydraulic may be cheaper, but require a whole set of parts that, in essence, replicate the electric drive.

Rick Wagoner on August 10, 2006:
On the hybrid front, we’re standing right on the threshold of the ramp-up of our major assault...

Rick Wagoner on May 12, 2006:
GM CEO Rick Wagoner has said that the company will continue to pursue the hybrid market although it was for “image reasons,” and he would prefer to see more work done with ethanol.
http://www.brandweek.com/bw/news/recent_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002574678

Bob Lutz on March 24, 2005:
"When you hit a rough spot, you have to decide where the real
priorities are," said Robert A. Lutz, GM's vice chairman, adding that
the SUVs were "where the company makes, frankly, high margins."

Lutz dismissed concerns that volatile gas prices would mean that
large SUVs might not be the savior they have been in the past.

"Everybody thinks high gas prices hurt sport utility sales. In fact
they don't," he said, adding that buyers of big SUVs like the
Suburban, GMC Denali and Cadillac Escalade were well-off enough to be
insulated from rising gas prices.

"Rich people don't care," he said.
http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050324/news_1b24gm.html

Question: What are the weight and volume energy ratios between the hydrogen tanks and the batteries?

I'm aware that the wells to wheels of hydrogen aren't as good as electricity. The hydrogen componant is probably there for the refueling capacity.

I suspect that the relative sizes of both are just a matter of optimizing cost/weight and energy. If these do ever come to market then I suspect the hydrogen tank/ fuel cell stack would get smaller as battery tech
improves.

If the battery is of any size, it really should be a plug-in. (plug-out would be nice too)

GM engineers talk up Lithium Ion battery safety problems when interviewed about the Tesla electric car. Why no mention of this for Sequel? Which not only uses LIon batteries but mounts them next to 10,000 psi hydrogen tanks?

Despite all the heat GM take for killing the EV1, and for pursuing hydrogen fuel cells with all their perceived problems. . . . Their "skateboard" chassis looks pretty cool. I predict GM will eventually give up on hydrogen cars -- with any luck, before they squander a fortune trying to sell those turkeys -- and convert the "skateboard" to a battery-electric design. All its theoretical advantages in flexibility and cost-effectiveness will still be just as valid, and it could give GM a significant advantage in the electric car business.

I would imagine if you put the weight of batteries in their skateboard platform it would be quite a bit resistant to rollover even in a tall SUV format.

GM? Pursuing hybrid and fuel-cell technology? And cutting down on SUV production? Is this true? If they want to stay in the game, GM will have to prove that they can build a better mousetrap than Toyota or Honda.

And the Camaro coming back? Does this mean we'll see its cousin, the Pontiac Firebird come back?

Can someone explain the difference between this vehicle and the GM Sequel that was unveiled at the NAIS in January 2005? All the stats I have read indicate that they are the same.

Why ha sit taken so long to produce a "driveable" version of this car? Was the vehicle at the NAIS all show (and no function)?

OK here is where I am totally confused..

WHY Hyrdrogen when the current MDI cat takes only 300bars of air pressure?
Help me here everyone cause compressed air seems easier to handle, cheaper to make and far easier to distribute and make.
With 700bars of pressure the MDI cat would go 300 miles as well. GM why hydorgen? Anyone??
Bob

Zobeid, Patrick,
Exactly!
_
Bob,
The issue is sunk cost and egos/carrers.

First on energy density:
Today's Li-ion batteries have energy density of about 150-200 Wh/L; hydrogen at 700 barg is about 2-3 kWh/L (albeit lower efficiency of fuel cell relative to a simple eletric motor would cut that advantage by a factor of 2)
Second, the Li batteries in a hybrid never get fully charged/discharged. That's where the safety issue with BEVs comes in: these guys have to be charged from 0% to 100% and in the process they produce lots of heat (usual battery efficiency is about 70-80%, you can estimate how much heat is produced). The other issue is battery life when is gets fully discharged/charged on a regular basis. I wish Tesla all the luck but let's give it 2-3 years on the road before proclaiming it a success.
I will leave the comment about 300 bar air unanswered but advise the author to check basic thermodynamics: compressed air has very little energy (I would guess 1 - 2 kWh / kg) and converting that potential energy into kinetic energy has very low efficiency. So ...

Why Hydrogen? Because it is red herring of the status quo club. The administration neo cons, oil companies, automakers, ice parts suppliers, ice repair facilities, all continue to make a killing on conventional cars. Continuing to dangle the false hope of miraculous advances of hydrogen fuel cell cars diverts attention away from very viable alternatives to ice cars in the near term, namely EVs and PHEVs. If the EV/PHEV is successful it would kill the gravy train of the status quo club. The club wants to keep consumers stupid and sucked in to the current paradigm. The Oil industry has evolved over the past 50 years into basically controlling this country along with the financial services industry. If you don't believe it, you check the earnings statistics for these industries. They have more than enough liquid billions to buy off our elected politicians. Until Joe Average, over 200 million of us, decide to boycott the status quo, we won't see any significant change in the cash cows known as gas guzzlers.

Why Hydrogen? Because it is the red herring of the status quo club. The administration neo cons, oil companies, automakers, ice parts suppliers, ice repair facilities, etc. all continue to make a killing on selling, maintaining, and fueling conventional internal cumbustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Continuing to dangle the false hope of miraculous advances of hydrogen fuel cell cars diverts attention away from very viable alternatives to ice cars in the near term, namely EVs and PHEVs. We would have better batteries, capacitors, and power management systems for EVs by now if funding for Federal research into EVs had not been diverted to the Hydrogen fantasy land of farce. If the EV/PHEV becomes successful it would kill the gravy train of the status quo club. The club wants to keep consumers stupid and sucked in to the current paradigm. The Oil industry has evolved over the past 50 years and is basically controlling this country along with the financial services industry. If you don't believe it, just check the earnings statistics for these industries. They have more than enough liquid billions to buy off our elected politicians. Until Joe Average, over 200 million of us, decide to boycott the status quo, we won't see any significant change in the cash cows known as gas guzzlers.

careers

I will leave the comment about 300 bar air unanswered but advise the author to check basic thermodynamics: compressed air has very little energy (I would guess 1 - 2 kWh / kg) and converting that potential energy into kinetic energy has very low efficiency. So ...

Instead of doing this why not check out the MDI
theaircar web site and watch the thing drive via the video they have online. Seems like he has some degree's as well and made a car work. Or check out the ZevCat web site their video is much better.

Then there is someone who has combine compressed air with EV to make a hybrid that looked very impressive. It seems that if its a simple design easy to maintain there are a bunch of people who want to say it doesnt work.
But if its complex takes a big plant to make it seems that there are lots of people pointing out how cool it is.

Lets take a look at Bio. According to current estimates
we cant make enough of it to replace the OIL we use today. So why are we making Bio Disel cars?

Lets look at Hydrogen. How are you getting that into a car? Liquid? Compressed? So the cost of hydrogen is creating compressing delivery etc. Seems like a awful lot of in between people that need to spend money and energy to make Hydrogen.

EV simple design and seems like you can substitute them as the tech advances. Seems like it gets beat up a lot but I see cars moving on battereies. I like it but cant seem to get over the cost of a battery. Maybe when the organic LiIon batteries can be made?

Then there are Ultra capcitors which with Nano tube tech seem very capable of replacing the batery but I have not seem much information on this since the break through in Feb 06. They even stated manufacuring costs to be very high. Can manufacturing millions of them refuce the cost? Sure would help laptop sales.

I love people who tell folks check out your science books. Well its obvious lots of people do and they have made things acutally work.

So far my current short term solution is on some type of electric air hybrid.

Using Air to reduce create the electricity or
assist in the initial take off or something like that.

Dont forget they still have 9 years before thier goal. They have made very good progress and should make the goal with room to spare. And once the goal is reached a fuell cell car will in fact be cheap enough for you and me.

Its realy that simple.

"drivable version"? What kind of automobile is a non-drivable version?

"drivable version"? What kind of automobile is a non-drivable version?

I read that CNG has 3.5 times more energy than hydrogen at the same pressure and LNG has 2.5 times more energy than CNG. If we put onboard cryos on hybrids and fuel cell cars we can get good range. I like the idea of combining air for the take off torque.

Bob,

The MDI cat car has 450 liters volume, or ~120 gallons of air. It is a two-seaters with projected weight of ~700kg, or ~1500 lbs. With that kind of feather weight, and no room for luggage due to the humongous volume for air tanks, it can travel~112 miles at 30mph, or ~400 miles at 12.5mph. The GM Sequel weighs 3x as much at ~4500 lbs, and you don't drive at 12.5 mph in America, either. Air has a weight of 1.46 kg/ M3(cubic meter) or 1000 liters. Multiply that by 300 bars will get you 438 kg, or 936 lbs /1000 liter. So, the MDI cat has to haul a weight of compressed air of ~450 lbs just to be able to go ~100-mile distance at 30 mph, for a 1500-lb vehicle. At 700 bars, assuming Boyles' law still works the same at such high pressure, your air weight will be 450lbs x 700/300= 1050lbs of air, plus several hundreds pounds for the empty of the thick, thick tank. So, for a total weight of ~1300 lbs of air and tank weight, the Sequel would be lucky if it can even go as far as 60-70 miles at 30 mph. By contrast, the Sequel carries but 8kg of hydrogen, or ~17 lbs weight, at a volume of ~50 gallons the most, and can go 300 miles at 70mph.

Does that answer your question, Bob?

MDI (www.theaircar.com) has made a lot of wonderful projections, but has delivered none of it two years after their promised public launch date.

>By contrast, the Sequel carries but 8kg of hydrogen. Which has to be compressed at 700 bars? Why?

>~17 lbs weight, at a volume of ~50 gallons the most,
>and can go 300 miles at 70mph.

I think hydrogen is interesting but has a huge creation and distribution problem. It costs a fortune to make and is not easily distributable. GM has got a huge problem there. I have more hope for hydrogen to be used in power plants or as an energy storage device for solar than I ever see it being used in cars ever. Its one of the least practical alternatives. No distribution and high production costs.
But you can let me know when will the Sequel ship ?
GM has made a lot of great pictures in the last couple of years and you can not drive any of them. Sad, sad story for a company with such great engineers or did they outsource that as well?

>Does that answer your question, Bob?
For the MDI cat maybe time will tell.

The technology still seems feasable as a possible
way to reduce EV hybrid car costs or as an assist for small ICE cars. Its cheap, predictable and a known product.
Maybe it can be used to overcome the initial torque energy required during acceleration?
If it could you could reduce the battery wieght and cost of an EV.
A company in Korea or China has done this I already but I dont know where that car is. The converted car looked like a small Chevy.

Me, I dont believe in hydrogen because its way way to far in the future. So far that the LiIon virus battery might be complete and the weight and cost of LiIon would be a thing of the past.
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/312/5775/885

Who knows what can be invented in 5 or 10 years.
Me I want to know what can be in the showroom in 1 to 2 years? EV's like the Tessla seem to be poping up.
Maybe an Air Car, maybe not. But something needs to ASAP with the worlds oil on a teeter toter.

Bob

Batteries: It's true the low energy density is a problem, plus they are too expensive, plus they degrade and have to be replaced. But the batteries we have now are skirting on the edge of practicality for small passenger cars, and are still being researched heavily. I'm guardedly optimistic.

Supercapacitors: I've read that supercaps could soon match the energy density of today's Li-ion batteries while being cheaper, way faster to recharge, and never wearing out. I've *also* read that supercaps with that kind of energy density are a pipe dream comparable to perpetual motion. So I don't know who to believe on that score.

Talk of supercapacitors reminds me of the great predictions about flywheel storage a few years back, but nothing came of that. I noticed one of the major flywheel companies has switched to researching battery-electric vehicles.

Hydrogen: Those huge 10,000 PSI tanks in the GM Sequel look scary to me. Plus there's the whole question of producing, storing, transporting, handling the stuff. It will undoubtedly require a gigantic infrastructure build-up. It doesn't look practical.

Bio-fuels: Our current methods of making bio-fuels require too much farm land, fuel, pesticides and insecticides to ever replace all our oil consumption. They could fill a smaller role as fuel for farm machinery and delivery trucks, while passenger cars go another route. Or, bio-fuels could be used in conjunction with plug-in hybrids maybe. The true potential of bio-fuels could be realized with cellulosic ethanol or perhaps biodiesel made from algae. You have to get away from food crops.

As I see things, battery-electric vehicles (and their relatives, plug-in hybrids) are the best alternative we have right now, today. That doesn't mean they're the only technology worthy of research.

Ah. I see. Seems really like nonsense to me for someone to build an automobile that can't be driven. I guess it's like making a rifle with a solid barrel. You can look at it, but what's the point really? Oh well.

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