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GM Chevrolet Announces Equinox Fuel Cell Vehicle; Commits to Launch 100-Vehicle Fleet in 2007

Equinox_fcv
Equinox Fuel Cell Vehicle

General Motors announced its next-generation fuel-cell vehicle—the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell—and said it will begin building the world’s largest fuel cell vehicle fleet.

The company will build more than 100 Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell vehicles and begin placing them with customers in the fall of 2007, as part of a comprehensive deployment plan dubbed “Project Driveway.” Project Driveway will place fuel cell vehicles with a variety of drivers in three geographic areas: California, the New York metropolitan area and Washington D.C. The project is designed to gain comprehensive data on all aspects of the customer experience.

uGeneral Motors is demonstrating its commitment to hydrogen fuel cells as the answer for taking the automobile out of the environmental debate and reducing our dependence on petroleum. The Equinox Fuel Cell is powered by GM’s most advanced fuel cell propulsion system to date, and demonstrates an important milestone on our pathway to automotive-competitive fuel cell propulsion technology development.

—Larry Burns, GM vice president, research & development and strategic planning

The Equinox Fuel Cell is powered by a fourth-generation, 93kW fuel-cell stack. The stack will operate in temperatures ranging from 13° F to +113° F (-25° C to +45° C).

Three carbon fiber fuel tanks store 4.2 kg (9.24 lb) of hydrogen at 700 bar (10,000 psi). A 35 kW NiMH battery pack supplements the fuel cell and captures energy from regenerative braking. The 3-phase asynchronous electric motor generates 73 kW of continuous power (94 kW maximum) and torque of 320 Nm (236 lb-ft).

The Equinox Fuel Cell accelerates from 0-60 mph in 12 seconds; has a top speed of 100 mph (160 kph); and has an operating range of 200 miles (320 km).

The Equinox is engineered for 50,000 miles of life, and is expected to meet all applicable 2007 US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. It also offers a number of standard safety features including driver and passenger frontal air bags and roof rail side-impact air bags; anti-lock braking system (ABS); StabiliTrak stability enhancement technology and OnStar.

The Equinox Fuel Cell is a real-world vehicle with real-world performance. The fuel cell technology is seamlessly integrated into a uniquely styled crossover vehicle that is distinctively Chevrolet. The Equinox Fuel Cell joins Chevrolet’s family of advanced gas-saving and alternative fuel vehicles.

These learnings [from Project Driveway] will directly influence future fuel cell vehicle generations and ultimate market acceptance. With Chevrolet being GM’s global volume brand, it makes sense that Chevy will lead GM’s fuel cell vehicle commercialization charge.

—Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager

Last week, GM announced it had developed a driveable version of its Sequel concept fuel-cell vehicle, which is now part of the Chevrolet brand.

Comments

Patrick

4-5kW home PV systems are enough to power the home and provide juice for the battery system to give power at night but how is that rated? 4-5kW max output? What is the average energy over the course of a day (total for all hours of sunlight)...25-30kw-hrs? The average single family dwelling sucks down around 700 to 1000kW-hrs a month. I'm sure the most frugal people with home PV systems use less but we are talking about a transportation system for everyone not just the most frugal portion of society and I doubt there will be enough excess capacity in such a setup to really provide the amount of hydrogen needed to fuel a vehicle for day to day needs.

SJC

No one said they have to power the house too. At 10 watts per square foot, many houses have 1000 feet of roof to use. That is 10k watts for 4-5 hours per day. Either put that into EVs or make hydrogen, whatever works.

Bike Commuter Dude

What about small wind? What about BIG wind? What about this...?

Patrick

Why would you have a solar power system and not power your house? You could power your house and an electrical vehicle much easier than powering a house and producing hydrogen. Especially since you still have to compress the hydrogen and safely store it. There will probably be alot of excess power generation that is unused during the day for a residential PV installation anyways.

Unless you live out in the middle of nowhere you can't put a wind turbine up. If you do live in the middle of nowhere then you waste energy on your commute. If you have a tall enough tower that you really get good wind power don't forget to add in the costs of FAA certification and the possible fines you face if you do not make sure you follow regulations to keep aircarft safe. [some say "regulations be damned" for the sake of power but I prefer to keep lives saved and use a bit more power rather than the other way around].

Paul

From what I have read typical real world average output figures for solar PV is around a 1/3 of the rated output. The other thing is that it is actually pretty hard to find a house suitable for using them. I have been looking for a new house with the possibility of fitting PV in the future. It's hard to find one with a large enough south facing roof with unobstructed sunlight. I would say 50% of houses are unsuitable for PV. This is a real shame because with a bit of planning most houses could have been designed/situated to accept PV.

Alan McDermott-Roe

What is needed is another Amstrad - Alan Sugar's "build em cheap and get the price done" is what is needed. Petrols £4 per gal and we are still just dipping our toe into the Hydrogen pool.... jump in

Patrick

I bet a very large financial backer of electric vehicles will soon appear. Berkshire Hathaway is starting to buy up Electric Utilities here and there.

SJC

This guy charges his car with PV. Maybe not for everyone, but he does it. Just got to think outside the box sometimes...

http://www.renewables.com/Permaculture/Charging.htm

http://www.renewables.com/SolarCharging.htm

After all...this IS a GreenCar site :-))

aa2

I can't believe gm and the euro auto companies are still researching and developing hydrogen fuel cells. Even Nissan with its western ceo is still pushing hydrogen.

Meanwhile Honda, Toyota and now Hyundai(which was at one point going heavily for fuel cells) are going all out for hybrids.

john galt

Another GM red herring. No mention of price, not to mention, no mention of lease... They are, "...placing them with customers in the fall of 2007." I read this to mean that the massive Federal funding pumped into the hydrogen fuel cell fairly tale is paying for "placing" the 100 vehicles. Too bad, the funding wasted on hydrogen research could have extended tax incentives for purchasing hybrid vehicles ala prius, and perhaps reduced the time to market for a OEM PHEV. The GM announcement is purely a diversionary tactic to prolong the sales of a current product line that has much to be desired. They did the same thing with the EV1. There is no intention by GM to ever bring a viable fuel cell vehicle to market. Vote with your election votes, wallets, and letters to elected represenatives and auto manufacturers. We need PHEVs and EVs. Not gimmicky flex fuel and belt driven hybrids that only exploit loop holes rather than offer improved sustainable personal transportation.

Roger Pham

To all H2 doubters,
H2 can be reformed from crude oil at same efficiency and cost as gasoline...but, H2-FCV is a lot cleaner and more efficient. Even H2-ICE-electric hybrid is also a lot cleaner and more efficient, and can be cost-competitive with current HEV. Local pipeline can be built from a local H2 production facility to a gas station.

Let's say a city of 1 million H2-capable cars require 1 thousand gas stations at $1 million USD a piece, then the cost is 1$ billion, plus adding $500 millions for a H2 reforming plant, and we have $1.5 billions for local H2 infrastructure investment.
To power 1 millions electric cars with battery packs costing $10,000 a piece will cost 10 billions USD, and how long will the battery last? May be 7-10 years, while the H2 infrastructure will last for 20-30 years at least, if not more!

H2 produced room-temp electrolysis by solar and wind electricity is inefficient and should NOT be done. Instead, Solar and wind electricity should best be used to charge BEV's and PHEV's.

H2 can be produced from waste biomass (and coal and natural gas) at higher efficiency than electricity from biomass (or coal or natural gas), and this would be a great source of RENEWABLE H2 for FCV's and H2-ICE-electric hybrids (H2-HEV).

fred@dzlsabe.com

Can we all agree solar works when the sun shines, wind works when its blowin...they cannot be counted on during a peak situation. New nuclear and hybrid/battery tech is beyond promising. Ethanol and esp biodiesel look better and better esp with co or trigen...clean diesel could be given a huge push in NA.
Unfortunately H2 just seems like it can be useful virtually everywhere but not as a main vehicle propellant(space shuttles excluded)

Patrick

SJC, that is what I was saying. Use the electricity for charging a BEV not trying to create hydrogen.

Roger, hydrogen can be pulled off of fossil fuels at the same cost as refining gasoline...but then you have to put in energy to compress or liquidize it. Furthermore, distribution is inefficient and you end up having to either set up many refineries all over the place (gotta love that smell in the middle of your city) or suffer the losses & cost from trying to transport hydrogen. Lets see battery electric vehicles last 7-10 years as you say but above we see that the fuel cell vehicle only lasts 50,000 miles (less than 4 years). Producing H2 from waste material is the only good option I see but then I'd rather not mess with H2 at all and just turn it into a fuel for a hybrid vehicle. Besides, if you just get hydrogen from fossil fuels you did nothing to facilitate energy independance or remove the problem of CO2 (centralized processes for production of H2 would ease sequestration but distributed processes make sequestration more difficult and expensive).

An Engineer

Hey Roger,
Why produce H2 from biomass if you can produce liquid fuels from biomass? Hint: Liquid fuels are easier (read: cheaper) to transport, store and use than gaseous fuel. As the lightest of all gases, hydrogen is the worst (read: most expensive) to store, transport and use. As the smallest molecule, it is also the hardest (read: most expensive) to store without leakage.

Also relevant: producing renewable gasoline and diesel means we can use it in the same ICE we are all accostumed to. No need to build up a costly fleet of FCV's. Heck, we don't even need flex-fuel cars, with appologies to GM, who is once again missing the boat, thanks to visonary leadership...

Roger Pham

"Why produce H2 instead of liquid fuels?"

H2 gives higher thermal efficiency in vehicles than gasoline, and is infinitely cleaner, no matter how the car is tuned or how the catalytic converter, if there is any, the car will not pollute. 200-mile range on the equivalent of 4 US gallons of gas is very good, and no SUV can achieve this type of efficiency on gasoline. The 5th gen of fuelcell may be can deliver 60% efficiency as someone has suggested before. H2 can be produced locally for local use to overcome the difficult in transportation. The energy to compress H2 is but 5% of total heating value, and can be recovered by an expander motor in the vehicle to perhaps power all the accessories or add power to the motor.

Remember that the most advance nations and states in the world are preparing for the future of H2 as transportation fuel, and GM and Honda and BMW and maybe Toyota etc... are producing or will soon be releasing H2-capable vehicles. It would be difficult to believe that all these industrial giants can be wrong. The potential problems of H2 have been researched extensively, and were found to be solvable.

wintermane

What the car makers themsevles have said is exactly THE reason h2 is doing what it is already.

It takes the car out of the envirnmental issue. The car makers and the fuel providera are willing to spend 100s of billions to PERMINENTLY take that issue and shove it.

Bateeries.... they will use them to make the fuel cell car easyer to make and cheaper to run but its gona be a long time before a car realy has the range needed for a battery car to be general purpose and take more then a few percent of the market place.

An Engineer

Roger,
That is the nice half of the hydrogen story: if we had hydrogen, it would be great. We don't. Hydrogen has to be made. Care to look up the efficiency of making hydrogen? The associated pollution? Factor that in, and the whole picture changes.

As for the auto makers pursuing hydrogen: We know GM management can't make a good call to save their lives - if you see them going one way, it is a good idea to go the opposite way. BMW is toying with hydrogen as with many other technologies. Hey, it's nice to have money to burn. Ditto Honda and more to the point.

Max Reid

Its price tag will be atleast 100K. If people cry so much for a BEV which costs 40 K, do you think they will buy / lease a 100K vehicle.

In Fall-2007, Toyota is expected to come with Plugin Prius, since the current model is running 4th year with 2007 model. Or probably they will extend current model by 1 or 2 years max.

Really sad as why GM is going for such expensive technology like Fuel Cell.

Dursun

"H2 gives higher thermal efficiency in vehicles than gasoline, and is infinitely cleaner"
Get REAL !!!
Well-to-wheel, a CNG hybrid will match H2 for clean, NOx.
A diesel hybrid will match H2 for CO2. I haven't seen the figures for a bio-diesel hybrid,
but I'd bet it matchs H2 for both NOx & CO2.
And that's with TODAY'S technology.
The 50% efficiency that's always said of Fool-Cells is a theoretical
that MAY come true in a decade or two.

Cheryl Ho

Since DME has an advantage of decomposition at lower temperature than methane and LPG, R&D for hydrogen source for fuel cell has been carried out.

If you would like to know more on the latest DME developments, join us at upcoming North Asia DME / Methanol conference in Beijing, 27-28 June 2007, St Regis Hotel. The conference covers key areas which include:


DME productivity can be much higher especially if
country energy policies makes an effort comparable to
that invested in increasing supply.
By:
National Development Reform Commission NDRC
Ministry of Energy for Mongolia

Production of DME/ Methanol through biomass
gasification could potentially be commercialized
By:
Shandong University completed Pilot plant in Jinan and
will be sharing their experience.

Advances in conversion technologies are readily
available and offer exciting potential of DME as a
chemical feedstock
By: Kogas, Lurgi and Haldor Topsoe

Available project finance supports the investments
that DME/ Methanol can play a large energy supply role
By: International Finance Corporation

For more information: www.iceorganiser.com

yellabelly

I hate to burst anyones bubble, but hydrogen is the future, the potential of this element is going to make it the desirable fuel for everything when our time catches up and we continue to explore and refine its research and development.

"Im not going to settle for a Prius"

mike

Ignorance really is bliss. GM is working on any number of vehicle propulsion systems. Granted, not all of them will be of the "save the world" variety, but - duh, the fact of the matter is: GM - - as well as all the other vehicle manufacturers - is in business to make money. The way they do that is to develop and sell a product that delivers a profit and allows them to stay in business. Hence the far-flung R&D efforts.

The FCV Equinoxes are not going to be sold or leased. They are going to be placed in the hands of users in order to gain some real world use and feedback. These are going to be a limited run of 100 vehicles, they will be cycled through different users . . . and yes, they are coming back to GM; the users do not get to keep them.

And . . . as an FYI, GM had the very first FCV; the Electrovan in 1966. It weighed in at a whopping 7100 pounds, did 0 -60 in 30 seconds and had a top speed of 100 mph. So, GM has learned a little bit about FCV in the past 40 plus years.

John

Ya have to wonder now if GM will be moving up their timeline to try and outflank Honda with their Clarity? I'm thinking that the Hydrogen Highway will be created a lot sooner than most people assume because GM, Ford and Honda all have production ready fuel cell vehicles which means that if any of them sit on their hands, the other will roll out the infrastructure with stipulations of needing to have their car to use it.

Here is my prediction: By 2009, the west coast from San Diego to Whistler Canada will have a fully ready hydrogen highway, and that Honda, GM and Ford will all be leasing their fuel cell cars for all those living on the west coast. The East Coast will follow by 2010 and by 2012, they'll have at least one route from the east coast to the west coast.

james

what a sorry storry Gm could have made a car better 15 yaers ago you can make hydregen on demad you dont even naed tanks. sad the the company desent caer about the poulutoin.

tom

this is sad we coul have stoped so much smog so long ago Gm and outhder companies dont realy what this to happen it could have happend a long time ago and it could bee even better that it is if they wanted that but i dont think thats what there after http://www.hydrogencarsnow.com/hydrogencars1807-1986.htm

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