It's been just over a year since General Motors launched its Project Driveway fuel cell field test program. In the 14 months the program has been putting fuel cell powered Chevy Equinoxes in the hands of regular customers, those drivers have accumulated 500,000 miles on the vehicles. Over 3,400 people have gotten behind the wheel, either as part of the project's two month loans or during drives that are held as part of events around the country. Some of the vehicles are also being used by Disney and Virgin Atlantic. Virgin is using them to chauffeur first class customers to and from Los Angeles International Airport. Most of the Equinoxes are in operation in the Los Angeles, Washington and New York areas where there are concentrations of hydrogen stations. Some have also been sent to Germany and Asia as well. GM will be continuing to the program through the end of 2010.
[Source: General Motors]
Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cells Reach Big Milestones
500,000 Miles Road Experience for Project Driveway
Detroit, MI - Chevrolet's Project Driveway program - the largest endeavor to put fuel cell vehicles on real roads - has reached several important milestones. According to Chevrolet Vice President and General Manager Ed Peper, GM now has more than 100 vehicles out on the road, and will have logged 500,000 miles of fuel cell driving by Christmas.
"Project Driveway is a terrific way for us to bring fuel cell vehicles to people, and the program is incredible," Peper says. "We have done what no other competitor has done... driven a half-million miles with zero petroleum and leaving a carbon footprint of zero."
The Project Driveway program began in Oct, 2007 and will run through the end of 2010. Project Driveway puts Equinox electric vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells into the hands of drivers to gain real world experience and learning. More than 3,400 individuals have driven the fuel cell Equinox; either in short drives at media programs or special events, or as part of longer loan.
"The vehicles are performing very well and we are learning a great deal about fuel cell robustness and how to make this program work for real customers," says Marybeth Stanek, GM's director of fuel cell commercialization. "The amount of data we've collected over the past year is very valuable to us, and gives us insight into this important automotive technology."
Prior to Project Driveway, no one has ever put 100+ fuel cell vehicles on the road. The program is mainly in the U.S., although some vehicles were sent to Europe and Asia. In the U.S., the vehicles are being placed with media, public policy leaders, business partners, celebrities and "regular" customers who have raised their hands via the internet.
Drivers generally have the vehicles for two months, although some placements, such as those with business partners Disney and Virgin Atlantic, run for the entire program. Jay Leno has been driving a fuel cell Equinox since April.
The vehicles are production Chevrolet Equinoxes, outfitted with GM's fourth-generation fuel cell propulsion system. They meet all applicable U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and are equipped with a long list of safety and convenience features.
Chevrolet is one of America's most well-known and successful automotive brands. With the largest dealer network in the United States, Chevy is a leader in fuel efficient products ranging from "Gas-Friendly to Gas-Free" vehicles. The Chevrolet brand offers more vehicles that get more than 30 mpg any other manufacturer, and has nearly 3 million flexible fuel vehicles on the road. This year, Chevrolet introduced the Malibu and Tahoe hybrids, and the world's first full-sized hybrid pick up truck.