All U.S. military branches will test the vehicles to find out the effectiveness of using hydrogen fuel cells as a transportation source. Hydrogen proponents view fuel cell powertrains as optimal because they can provide driving ranges similar to conventional vehicles without the fossil fuel emissions, but H2 vehicles are also very expensive. Two years ago, GM and Hawaii's Gas Co. said they would lead an effort to build as many as 25 hydrogen fueling stations throughout the state by 2015.
Hawaii, which gets more than 95 percent of its energy from imported fossil fuels, is taking a leading role in advanced-powertrain adoption because of the high costs of delivering gasoline to the state. The U.S. Energy Department and the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is investing an estimated $4.5 million as part of an effort to reduce Hawaii's transportation fuel consumption by two-thirds over the next two decades.
Army, Navy and Air Force to evaluate real-world use
HONOLULU -- The U.S. Army, Pacific, on Wednesday unveiled a fleet of 16 General Motors' hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles, the world's first military fleet of fuel cell vehicles. Each branch of the military is evaluating the vehicles in real-world use.
"Operating these vehicles will provide the military with the necessary data and experience to determine future applications of fuel cell technology," said Charles Freese, GM executive director of Global Fuel Cell Activities.
The vehicles are being paid for by the Army Tank Automotive Research Development Engineering Center (TARDEC), Office of Naval Research and Air Force Research Laboratories (ONR) and Air Force Research Laboratories (AFRL).
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM's brands include Chevrolet and Cadillac, as well as Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.