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GM to produce, deploy a fleet of hydrogen fuel-cell Chevy Equinoxes

GM to produce, deploy a fleet of hydrogen fuel-cell Chevy Equinoxes

Following its unveiling of the Chevy Sequel earlier this week, GM has announced that it will produce a fleet of 100 hydrogen fuel-cell-powered Chevrolet Equinoxes to be delivered in September 2007. Recipients of the cars will include public and private sector employees and businesses in the three regions of California, metropolitan New York, and Washington D.C.

GM says that the deployment and trial of the Equinoxes for between 3 and 30 months--a scheme it calls Project Driveway--will be the "first meaningful market test of fuel cell vehicles."

The 4-seater, front-wheel drive Equinox Fuel Cell is to be powered by a single 3-phase asynchronous electric motor, delivering 236 lb.-ft. of torque, giving the car a top speed of 100mph, and a 0-60mph time of 12 seconds. All power for the car is generated via a nickel-metal-hydride battery pack powered by the hydrogen fuel cell and regenerative braking. Three carbon-fiber fuel tanks storing up to a maximum of 4.2Kg of gaseous hydrogen at 10,000psi will give the car a range of 200 miles.

The Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell is based on the same fourth-generation hydrogen fuel-cell technology used in the Sequel concept, although the Equinox will use more conventional suspension and braking systems (front independent struts, rear multilink suspension; 4-wheel disc brakes) as opposed to the advanced "by wire" systems on the Sequel. According to GM, the fuel-cell Equinox is about 500 pounds heavier than its gasoline-powered equivalent model and has roughly one inch less ground clearance. It will feature a redesigned front fascia, four water vapor exhaust outlets at the rear, and hydrogen-themed graphics.

The zero-emissions Equinox Fuel Cell will come with a range of safety features found on other GM cars, including driver and front passenger airbags, ABS, traction control, and GM's OnStar telematics service, which will offer drivers advice on operating the cars as well as information on nearby hydrogen filling stations. GM says that it expects the Equinox Fuel Cell--which is engineered for only 50,000 miles of life--to meet all 2007 federal motor vehicle safety standards.