Opel has launched the European component of GM’s biggest-ever test program for fuel cell vehicles. Nine companies will be the first to operate the GM/Opel HydroGen4 zero emission vehicles in the Berlin area: ADAC, Allianz, Coca-Cola, Hilton, Linde, Schindler, Axel Springer, Total and Veolia.
|Members of the HydroGen4 fleet in Berlin. Click to enlarge.|
This real-world road test will run under the umbrella of the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP), a German Federal Department for Transport, Building and Urban Development funded project focused on proving the day-to-day suitability of hydrogen as a fuel for road transport.
Our future lies in electric vehicles driven by batteries and fuel cell. This technology will allow us to reduce global CO2 emissions in the long term and also help decrease our dependence on oil. Thanks to research and innovation, marketable products are now being developed. I am happy to share and personally support this vision.—German Federal Minister of Transport Wolfgang Tiefensee
The HydroGen4—GM’s fourth-generation fuel cell vehicle—features improvements in performance and durability. HydroGen4’s fuel cell stack uses 440 single cells. The fuel cell stack provides the electric energy for the 73 kW-synchronous electric motor, delivering zero to 100 km/h acceleration in around 12 seconds and a top speed of 160 kph (99 mph).
The HydroGen4 is fitted with a 1.8 kWh buffer battery to store energy from the vehicle’s regenerative braking system and cover peak electrical loads. The three carbon-fiber composite tanks hold 4.2 kg of hydrogen at a pressure of 700 bars (10,000 psi), sufficient for an operating range of up to 320 kilometers (199 miles).
Globally, GM deploys more than 100 vehicles of this type in its Project Driveway testing program in the US, Japan, Korea, China, and Germany.
In the US, more than 100,000 people have applied as mainstream drivers for the market test. Up to date, 3,400 people have driven the vehicle and 30 families have used the vehicle on a daily base in a 2-3 month deployment. In total, the vehicles were driven almost 700,000 km (435,000 miles). Feedback from these demonstration activities not only gives GM engineers essential validation data, but also provides a valuable insight into the likely ownership and driving experience of future customers.
The vehicles are equipped with a wireless data transfer system that assists engineers by uploading vehicle performance data to a company server. Maintenance of the vehicles deployed in Berlin will be done at a regular Opel dealer equipped with the personnel and tools necessary for servicing fuel cell vehicles.