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GM, U.S. Army Unveil Colorado Fuel-Cell Pickup

Project could take hydrogen power to the front lines.

by on Oct.03, 2016

The Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 prototype is a stretched and ruggedized version of the midsize pickup.

By the end of the year, three automakers plan to be selling hydrogen cars in a few select California markets, but General Motors and the U.S. Army are teaming up to see if hydrogen power has the stuff it takes to go to war.

GM and the Army today unveiled a prototype fuel-cell military vehicle based on the Detroit maker’s midsize pickup. Dubbed the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2, the military is looking to see if the technology is not only clean and green, but robust enough for front-line operations. Hydrogen power offers a number of other attractive features, the Army believes.

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“Fuel cells have the potential to expand the capabilities of Army vehicles significantly through quiet operation, exportable power and solid torque performance, all advances that drove us to investigate this technology further,” said Paul Rogers, director of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, or TARDEC, in a statement.

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GM’s Fuel-Cell Tech May Soon Power Advanced Navy Project

Hydrogen power seen as key to long-range unmanned underwater vehicles.

by on Jun.23, 2016

A prototype Navy unmanned underwater vehicle could soon use a GM fuel-cell system.

Technology some see as the key to the future for the auto industry could also play a significant role for the U.S. military.

General Motors is teaming up with the U.S. Navy in the effort to develop a new generation of unmanned undersea vehicles that would rely on hydrogen fuel-cell technology to operate independently for as long as 70 days at a time. The technology would replace the more limited battery-drive systems currently in use in so-called UUVs, according to Navy officials.

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“If you want long endurance you really need fuel cells,” said Karen Swider-Lyons, head of the Alternative Energy Section at the Naval Research Laboratory.

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GM, Honda Launch Fuel Cell Partnership

Partners aiming for mass market-ready hydrogen cars by 2020.

by on Jul.02, 2013

GM is testing the viability of its hydrogen-powered Equinox prototype as part of a Hawaiian pilot program.

The following story has been updated with the latest developments.

General Motors and Honda plan to team up in an effort to bring zero-emission hydrogen fuel-cell technology to the mass market by the end of the decade, the makers formally announced Tuesday morning.

Both GM and Honda have already begun fielding small test fleets of hydrogen-powered vehicles – as have a number of competitors including Toyota and Mercedes-Benz – but the goal of the new effort is to help solve nagging technical obstacles while driving costs down to mass-market levels. The makers also hope that by making a serious commitment to fuel cell technology they will encourage the energy industry to expand the availability of hydrogen, something essential to encourage consumer acceptance.

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“The widespread use of future fuel cell vehicles requires a significant advance in cost reduction… and in the refueling infrastructure that will support them,” Tetsuo Iwamura, president of American Honda Motor Co., said during a joint news conference in New York City.  “Two companies can do more together than the simple sum of our individual efforts.”

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Hawaii, Hydrogen, and General Motors Fuel Cells

New collaboration on Oahu for refueling fuel cell vehicles.

by on May.11, 2010

The state of Hawaii wants to reduce petroleum use by 70% within a generation.

General Motors and The Gas Company (TGC), Hawaii’s major gas energy provider, announced today a hydrogen infrastructure project that will use an estimated five to 50 of GM’s fuel cell vehicles as part of the program.

Hawaii could benefit from hydrogen-powered fuel cell transportation because it depends on imported petroleum for 90% percent of its energy use.  Gasoline prices are among the highest and electricity prices are the highest in the U.S.

However, fuel cells continue to face many challenges, including extremely high costs for both the energy and the fuel cell vehicle, as well as limited range.  One solution to overcome range anxiety is under development at GM, but it requires large, high-pressure  hydrogen tanks (700 bar, 128 Kg), which can take up much of the usable space of a car, to allow for 300 miles between  refills.

TGC already produces hydrogen along with synthetic natural gas and delivers it in its utility gas stream, with more than 5% hydrogen content today. Through a proprietary separation process, TGC plans to tap into its 1,000-mile utility pipeline system at several locations and separate the hydrogen for use by local fueling stations, estimated at 21, for fuel cell vehicles.

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GM Fuel Cell Production Ready by 2015?

Latest generation fuel cell shrinks in size, weight, and cost.

by on Apr.09, 2010

The latest fuel cell system is 220 pounds lighter and about half the size of the one used in the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell electric vehicle.

General Motors Company 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 use in 2015.

No cost or performance information has been released by GM.

The second-generation system is half the size, 220 pounds lighter and uses about a third of the platinum of the fuel cell in the Chevrolet Equinox electric vehicles used in Project Driveway. (See One Million Miles of Fuel Cell Testing at Chevrolet )

The electric Equinox runs on electricity created by an on-board fuel cell stack similar to ones used the space program and almost as expensive. The U.S. Department of Energy estimated in 2008 that in volume production electricity would be made at $73 a kilowatt. A kilowatt hour (KWh) of electricity in Michigan for residential customers costs 15 cents or less.

In spite of the enormous technical challenge, the attraction of a fuel cell is that the only emissions created are water vapor — if you do not take into account how the hydrogen fuel is created that the Chevrolet fuel cell uses.

GM has the world’s largest market test and demonstration fleet of fuel cell electric vehicles in use, and since 2007 and it has tallied nearly 1.3 million miles of 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.   (more…)

GM Looking to Commercialize Fuel Cells by 2015

Big technology gains could put hydrogen power back on map.

by on Sep.24, 2009

Actor Bo Bridges tries out a hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Equinox. The latest GM fuel cell "stack" is lighter, smaller and far less expensive.

Actor Bo Bridges tries out a hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Equinox. The latest GM fuel cell "stack" is lighter, smaller and far less expensive.

Fuel cells.  Remember them?

It wasn’t all that long ago that the headlines were filled with talk about hydrogen-based technology as the answer to the auto industry’s environmental problems.  Over the last year or so, there’s been a shift to battery-powered drivetrain systems.  But a numerous of technical improvements could put the fuel cell back in the running as the powertrain of choice for tomorrow’s automobile.

With Daimler AG promising to put the hydrogen-powered F-Cell into production, in the coming months, General Motors is hinting it could commercialize its own fuel cell technology as early as 2015.  That’s a bit later than the troubled automaker once promised, but the news runs counter to those who expected GM to abandon its hydrogen program entirely in order to focus on battery-based vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Volt.

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A release from General Motors hints at some of the reasons for its optimism – though TheDetroitBureau.com recently had a chance to see the new, 5th-generation GM fuel cell technology up close, where some additional details were disclosed.

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