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Maryland is taking a first step toward the hydrogen economy by leasing a fuel-cell powered 5-seat minivan from GM. The GM vehicle will be assigned to a state agency and will run a fixed route in Prince George’s County.

Earlier this summer, the US Postal Service leased a similar GM hydrogen fuel cell minivan for use in Washington DC. That marked the first commercial deployment of a GM fuel cell vehicle in the US.

The minivans are HydroGen3 prototypes which are based on the Opel Zafira minivan. The Hydrogen3 vans started fleet trials in 2003 in Berlin and Tokyo.

The HydroGen3 fuel cell stacks consist of a total of 200 interconnected individual cells that operate a 60 kW/82 hp asynchronous three-phase engine. The stack supplies a continuous rating of 94 kW, a peak of 129 kW and, depending on the load condition, generates an electrical DC voltage of between 125 and 200 V.

The prototype accelerates from zero to 60 in around 16 seconds and has a top speed of 96 mph. The 700 bar (10,000 psi) storage tanks hold enough compressed hydrogen gas to yield a range of about 162 miles.

More specs on the HydroGen3 here.


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