Last summer we first saw one of General Motors new fifth-generation fuel cell stacks on display at a powertrain technology event. It was being shown next to the comparable hardware from one of the Project Driveway fuel cell Chevy Equinoxes and the difference in size was startling. The stack is part of what GM refers to as the second-generation system which includes all the elements necessary to implement it in a vehicle. The system consists of the stack, the fuel storage, electronics and all the ancillary components.
The new system is less than half the size of the Equinox system and uses only one-third as much platinum while producing more power. The new stacks are now being tested in GM's fuel cell labs in Honeoye Falls, NY with the goal of selling production vehicles by 2015. Manufacturing engineers like Lucy Wilke are focused on developing the processes necessary to produce fuel cells in volume at an affordable price. Check out the video after the jump.
Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.
GM's Fuel Cell System Shrinks in Size, Weight, Cost
Testing Under Way on Production-Intent System for 2015 Commercialization
Burbank, Calif. – General Motors Co. is testing a production-intent hydrogen fuel cell system that can be packaged in the space of a traditional four-cylinder engine and be ready for commercial production in 2015.
The system is half the size, 220 pounds lighter and uses about a third of the platinum of the system in the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell electric vehicles used in Project Driveway, the world's largest market test and demonstration fleet of fuel cell electric vehicles that began in late 2007 and has amassed nearly 1.3 million miles of everyday driving in cities around the world.
"Our learning from Project Driveway has been tremendous and these vehicles have been very important to our program," Charles Freese, executive director of GM's Global Fuel Cell Activities told reporters Tuesday at a news briefing on GM's fuel cell progress.
"The 30 months we committed to the demonstration are winding down, but we will keep upgrades of these vehicles running and will continue learning from them while we focus efforts on the production-intent program for 2015.
"Some of the 119 fuel cell electric vehicles in Project Driveway will receive hardware and software upgrades and will become part of a technology demonstration program with the U.S. Department of Energy. Others will be driven by businesses and a few will be used to continue showing that, with proper fueling infrastructure, hydrogen fuel cells are a viable alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles.
"We will continue to use the Project Driveway fleet strategically to advance fuel cell technology, hydrogen infrastructure, and GM's vehicle electrification goals," Freese said.
The first long-term loan of the new-look Chevy fuel cell vehicle will be to Stephanie White, a fuel cell advocate who was among the first Project Driveway participants and regularly blogs on her vision for a hydrogen economy in which zero-pollution fuel cells are a mainstream source of transportation. Freese presented White with the keys to the car on Tuesday."
Driving the Chevy fuel cell around LA has been an amazing experience," White said. "People are always stopping me to ask questions about the vehicle and I tell them how powerful and eco-friendly it is."
About General Motors: General Motors Company, one of the world's largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 204,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in some 140 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 34 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling.