GM and Shanghai Automotive are jointly to develop and to commercialize hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles—and the infrastructure required to support them—in China. The broad-based agreement, presaged by the announcement two weeks ago of joint development of diesel hybrid buses (earlier post), is the first of its kind between a global and Chinese automaker.
In addition to co-developing a demonstration vehicle building on GM’s HydroGen3 fuel-cell vehicle, the partners intend to:
- Develop local engineering capability for clean-energy vehicles
Promote the development of a Chinese hydrogen infrastructure
Contribute to the formulation of relevant regulations and policies by the Chinese government
Promote general awareness of the future of advanced vehicle technology in China
The realization of a cleaner future will not be accomplished in a single step. That is why GM is adopting a three-pronged approach to our overall advanced propulsion strategy, which we believe offers the greatest overall benefits to society. Hybrids will play an important role, but over the long term, we believe fuel cells powered by hydrogen offer the ultimate environmental answer. Because it has a developing automotive industry without a massive gasoline infrastructure, China is in a unique position to take the lead in moving toward a hydrogen-based economy.—Rick Wagoner, GM CEO
GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center will be responsible for maintaining the daily operation of the demonstration fuel-cell vehicle. This will enable PATAC to become familiar with the latest alternative propulsion technology in order to enhance its own product development capability. It will further serve as an important point of reference for government decision-makers in creating regulations and standards and developing infrastructure required for the next generation of vehicles.
In addition, GM will leverage its industry-leading fuel-cell technology to fully support SAIC’s bid in the fourth quarter of 2005 to take part in the Global Environment Facility/United Nations Development Program Demonstration for Fuel Cell Bus Commercialization program in China.
GM and SAIC have worked together on fuel cells before, unveiling a fuel-cell Buick GL8 minivan, called the Phoenix, in November 2001. The Phoenix was powered by a 35-kilowatt, first-generation, fuel cell stack from GM. The newer HydroGen3 is about twice as powerful.