click on the image for a high-res gallery of the fuel cell E-Flex platform

In Shanghai this month, as you probably know, GM unveiled the fuel cell version of the E-Flex platform. It's also not recent news that GM wants to have 100-plus hydrogen fuel cell Equinox vehicles out for real world testing soon. And, of course, GM said in February they want to have a production version of the hydrogen-powered Sequel for sale by 2010 (in limited quantaties).

Where does all this lead us? Some would say it's likely to lead us down the road to the questionable benefits of a hydrogen economy. But from a GM-centric perspective, it's likely to lead us to a mass-produced GM hydrogen car in 2012. At least, that's what Motor Trend heard when they spoke with GM's Larry Burns (AutoblogGreen spoke with Burns in March, and you can hear the interview in our second podcast).

Burns told Motor Trend's Todd Lassa about the hydrogen future for GM, and pointed out this bit of information on how GM is looking at the hydrogen future for the rest of us:

"We did that same calculation [how many hydrogen stations would they need] for the 100 largest cities in the U.S. ... and we connected all the cities with stations on the freeway with stations every 25 miles, and that added up to 12,000 stations. Out of 170,000 total in the United States. Even if every station cost $1 million for hydrogen, that's $12 billion. The Alaskan Pipeline today would cost $25 billion. So for half the cost of the Alaskan Pipeline, you could have stations for 70 percent of the population." (See the DOE's hydrogen predictions here)

With fuel station problems partially solved for $12 billion, Burns said GM sees production engineering for high-tech, low- or no-emissions vehicles being the same as for any conventional car or truck in three to four years.

You can read the whole thing here.

[Source: Todd Lassa / Motor Trend]

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