GM To Launch More Than 100 Fuel Cell SUVs Worldwide

In the fall of 2007, General Motors will launch a fleet of more than 100 hydrogen fuel-cell powered sports utility vehicles in the U.S., Europe and Asia, GM said Sept. 18. The aim is to have commercial distribution by 2010 of the clean-burning cars that emit nothing but water from the tailpipe.

While other automakers have already distributed a few fuel cell vehicles to retail customers, this will be the first major market test, GM said. It is aimed at testing how customers respond to the vehicles in a variety of driving environments.

GM has not yet determined how much the Chevrolet Equinox will cost or how it will decide who gets a chance to lease the vehicles, spokesman Scott Fosgard said. It is likely that the lease periods could be as short as three months to ensure that more people are able to test it out. The Equinox was engineered to drive for at least 50,000 miles. It is also able to start and operate in sub-freezing temperatures and is expected to meet all applicable 2007 US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

GM has partnered with Shell to set up hydrogen gas fueling stations in Washington, New York and California, and will distribute the U.S.-based vehicles in those markets. The vehicles can drive about 200 miles on a tank that holds nine pounds of hydrogen.

GM already has a fleet of 13 hydrogen-powered minivans that are being tested in the U.S., Germany, China, Korea and Japan.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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