General Motors has touted its plans to have a fuel-cell vehicle available for public consumption by 2010 for years. But according to Larry Burns, head of research and planning at GM, the automaker needs to push such a vehicle to full development in as early as eighteen months (2008). This, despite the company’s current precarious financial situation.

The reason? Competition. Virtually every major automaker is accelerating their fuel-cell development programs. DaimlerChrysler and Toyota plan to debut their vehicles by 2012 and 2015. Honda is presently testing its FCV in California. States Burns, "We are not the only company driving hard to be first to market with fuel-cell vehicles. You can safely conclude that if we are going to be on market [in time] then a decision needs to be made in the next year to 18 months."

Burns believes there is sufficient funding in GM’s development budget for a new vehicle, but the automaker has yet to make a decision in which direction to go with its fuel-cell development.

[Source: FuelCellWorks.com]

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