GM advances fuel cell system, EV collaboration

chevyequinoxDetroit, Mich. — General Motors Co. has announced that its second generation hydrogen fuel cell system under development is half the size, 220 pounds lighter and uses less than half the precious metal of the current generation in the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell electric vehicle. The auto maker also announced a partnership with Reva Electric Car Company in India.

GM says the new fuel cell powertrain can be packaged under the hood in about the same space as a four-cylinder engine. It contains GM’s fifth-generation fuel cell stack, which could be commercialized in the 2015 time frame, according to the car maker.

GM has invested more than $1.5 billion in fuel cell technology, and plans to continue its investments, but is calling on government and industry partnerships to help install a hydrogen infrastructure and to drive customer interest, according to Charles Freese, executive director of GM Fuel Cell Activities.

Hydrogen-powered fuel cells are a few years away from widespread commercial use because of the need for additional investment and partnership, along with expanded availability of hydrogen fueling stations, said GM.

Freese cited that a consortium of the German government and leading industrial companies has announced plans to build up to 1,000 hydrogen fueling stations by 2015, and a group of 13 oil and gas companies in Japan announced similar plans.

Freese believes the same types of partnerships are needed in the U.S. to meet long-term fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Earlier this month, GM announced that the Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell electric vehicles passed 1 million miles of gasoline and tailpipe pollution-free driving under its Project Driveway, a demonstration fleet of more than 100 hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles.

In addition, General Motors India and Reva Electric Car Company (REVA) have announced this week a collaboration agreement to develop electric vehicles for the Indian market.

The partnership will leverage GM’s ability to develop platforms and REVA’s capability in developing electric drive-trains and advanced control systems. More details about the vehicles will be released soon.

GM believes that electrically driven vehicles, based on battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology, offer the best long-term solution for providing sustainable transportation.