GM to have fuel cell cars in showrooms by 2012

GM made history yesterday when its Chevy Sequel became the first electrically-driven fuel cell vehicle to achieve 300 miles on one tank of hydrogen, in and out of traffic on public roads, while producing zero emissions. The 300 mile drive through the state of New York began at GM”s Fuel Cell Activity Center in Honeoye Falls and ended in Tarrytown, N.Y..

At the event for Sequels arrival, Larry Burns, GM vice president, research & development and strategic planning, told reporters that GM will likely have a fuel cell powered vehicle in showrooms by 2012. “I don’t know how many of them we’ll make at the time, but we should have them in showrooms by early next decade, around 2011 or 2012,” Burns told reporters. “Post-2012, the goal is to ramp up production to about a million vehicles a year, worldwide.”

The GM Sequel is the first vehicle in the world to successfully integrate a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system with a broad menu of advanced technologies such as steer-and brake-by-wire controls, wheel hub motors, lithium-ion batteries and a lightweight aluminum structure. It uses clean, renewable hydrogen as a fuel and emits only water vapor.

Burns said the major challenges in bringing fuel-cell vehicles to mass production include further development of lithium-ion batteries and lowering the cost of the technology. GM faces the same obstacles with the production of the Chevrolet Volt.

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