General Motors is announcing a new partnership today with Clean Energy to install a hydrogen filling station near Los Angeles International Airport. Clean Energy is a California-based company that currently operates 170 compressed natural gas filling stations around the country and the new LAX hydrogen station will be on the same site with a CNG station. The new LAX station to be operated by Clean Energy will be available to participants in GM's Project Driveway fuel cell field test program. According to Dan O'Connel, GM's Director of Fuel Cell Commercialization, the primary user of the facility will likely be Virgin Atlantic. The airline is taking six of the fuel cell Equinoxes (up from three) that are being used for Project Driveway to use for shuttling first class passengers to and from the airport. Beyond this first station, Clean Energy is looking at adding additional stations at other locations as well as examining the feasibility of on-site reforming of natural gas to produce hydrogen.

General Motors has now built 85 of the planned 100+ Equinoxes for the program and will have delivered 40 of them to customers within the next two weeks. Customers are apparently very pleased with the performance and are regularly topping the 160mile range estimate which was based on the EPA test cycle. According to O'Connell the only real complaint they've had so far besides people not wanting to give up the vehicles after three months is they want to be more visible. Many of the first batch of vehicles had little in the way of signage to distinguish them from standard Equinoxes and people want to show off the fact that they are driving bleeding edge technology.

[Sources: General Motors, HydrogenForecast]

General Motors and Clean Energy Working to Expand Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure

Hydrogen Station to Open Near LAX
Using Clean Energy's Expertise in Natural Gas Fueling to Expand Hydrogen Infrastructure and Support Chevrolet's Project Driveway


Detroit, Mich. and Seal Beach, Calif. - General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM) and Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (Nasdaq: CLNE) announced today Clean Energy will open a hydrogen fueling station in Los Angeles with support from GM. The two companies also announced that they are exploring further opportunities to expand the hydrogen infrastructure.

As the first step in this effort, a hydrogen fueling station will be developed and located at Clean Energy's compressed natural gas (CNG) facility near Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

The hydrogen station will be used by drivers taking part in Chevrolet's Project Driveway, the world's largest market test of fuel cell vehicles. It is expected to be operational by early fall.

GM and Clean Energy are discussing potential opportunities to expand this first station into a network of hydrogen fueling stations by leveraging Clean Energy's natural gas fueling expertise and the real-world customer experience gained by fueling more than 14,000 vehicles daily at over 170 CNG stations across North America.

"Developing and growing hydrogen infrastructure is vital to GM's efforts to bring larger volumes of fuel cell vehicles to the market," said Mary Beth Stanek, director of energy and environmental policy & commercialization at General Motors. "We're supporting this hydrogen station near LAX because we recognize a critical role for Clean Energy's existing CNG infrastructure in helping expand the hydrogen infrastructure. We expect to learn important lessons from Clean Energy's expertise in developing and operating a network of natural gas fueling stations."

The LAX station will help both companies better understand the synergies between hydrogen and natural gas fueling.

"Working with General Motors in this highly significant project makes great sense," said Andrew J. Littlefair, Clean Energy's president and CEO. "Developing a cost-effective hydrogen infrastructure is a challenge. By leveraging the growing network of natural gas stations, a variety of hydrogen station designs can be introduced to the public. Ultimately, reforming pipeline natural gas to produce hydrogen at our stations may be done inexpensively, thereby taking advantage of the ready infrastructure. This approach can help accelerate a larger-scale deployment of hydrogen vehicles."

Littlefair also noted that Clean Energy and GM can work to broaden the awareness of the societal and customer benefits of cleaner gaseous fuels as the world moves to diversify its sources of energy.

Chevrolet's Project Driveway is putting more than 100 Equinox fuel cell vehicles in the hands of real customers to help Chevy and GM understand what it will take to bring larger numbers of fuel cell vehicles to customers around the world. Currently, the program has launched in Los Angeles, New York City and Washington D.C. with further deployments later this year in Europe and Asia.

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