July 30, 2009

Hooked on fuel cell car

This article is published on ICIS Chemical Business's From Our Own Correspondent section, July 27, 2009, p.7


After testing out the H-racer fuel cell toy car sent by BASF (see ICB 5/11/09, p.7) I got the chance to test out a real fuel cell vehicle on July 14 courtesy of General Motor's Chevy Equinox fuel cell demo car powered by Shell's hydrogen.

Shell, in partnership with GM, opened its second hydrogen refilling station in New York for fuel cell car drivers. There aren't any fuel cell cars out there yet for sale but some are testing demo cars such as GM's Chevy Equinox under the company's Project Driveway program.

GM said there are 30 of the model available for testing in New York and 60 in California. The company has overall 115 for testing across the globe. Since the program's inception in January 2008, these cars burned 900,000 miles in total all producing just water as emissions.

The car has an estimated rate of 39 miles per kilogram so if we do the math, it can actually go to more than 160 miles (even 200 miles GM said) before it needs to be filled up again with hydrogen.

At first glance, the car didn't even looked anything like my vision of a greener bat mobile and instead featured a gray SUV/van-type of automobile that any parent with two kids who'd like to have. It did sport a Fuel Cell logo along with trailing green water molecules that look like vines from a distance.

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