GM Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell SUV
GM’s Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell SUV, all 100 of them, are supposed to rollout in the U. S. the first quarter of 2008. The deployment plan is being called “Project Driveway” and the idea behind GM’s rollout is to test the marketability, including customer response to hydrogen autos in general and the Equinox Fuel Cell in specific.
Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell SUV
The Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell SUVs will be rolled out in California, Metropolitan New York and Washington DC. Currently, California has 23 hydrogen fueling stations, New York has 2 and Washington DC has 1 station. As such, the distribution of vehicles may be weighted more towards California, which has a larger hydrogen support system already in place that the other two regions.
According to GM Vice President Larry Burns, “General Motors is demonstrating its commitment to hydrogen fuel cells as the answer for taking the automobile out of the environmental debate and reducing our dependence on petroleum. The Equinox Fuel Cell is powered by GM’s most advanced fuel cell propulsion system to date, and demonstrates an important milestone on our pathway to automotive-competitive fuel cell propulsion technology development.”
The Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell contains General Motor’s fourth generation fuel cell propulsion system including a 93 kw fuel cell, 73 kw front-wheel drive 3-phase asynchronous electric motor and 35 kw nickel metal hydride battery pack. The Equinox Fuel Cell uses 3 autobon fiber fuel tanks, pressurized to 10,000 psi and has a range of 200 miles before refueling. With a top speed of 100 mph, the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell accelerates from 0 – 60 mph in 12 seconds. The 5-door, 4-seat vehicle is expected to meet all 2007 U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
The fuel cell is being manufactured to start in temperatures from -13 to +113F so those cold New York winters or hot summers in the California deserts should not be a problem. Some of the other features of the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell include OnStar with Turn-by-Turn Navigation (for finding the sparse hydrogen stations), heated seats; keyless entry, passenger frontal and roof rail side-impact air bags and StabiliTrak.
The fuel cell is being manufactured with an expected life of only 50,000 miles so most likely the vehicle will be leased instead of sold or else some other arrangement will be worked out with those picked to drive the vehicle. General Motors of Canada in Oshawa, Ontario will produce the 100 Equinox Fuel Cell SUVs to be sold, leased or otherwise distributed in the U. S.
The test marketing of the Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell will serve as a learning tool for General Motors and other hydrogen auto manufacturers to see if the public is indeed ready to accept fuel cell vehicle technology into their lives.
In March 2010, GM announced that it is introducing its new production intent fuel cell system for the Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell. This new fuel cell system is 220 lbs. lighter than the old system and uses 1/3 less platinum.