November 27, 2008 GM’s HydroGen4 fuel-cell vehicles will hit the road in Berlin as part of the company's extensive global zero-emission test program. Having already completed over 400,000 miles of testing in the U.S. (where its known as the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell), the tests in Germany will be the first European outing for the hydrogen EV which is capable of 0-62mph in around 12 seconds, has a top speed of 100mph and a range of around 200 miles.
Nine Berlin companies are to participate in the real-world road test under the umbrella of the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP), a German Federal Department for Transport, Building and Urban Development funded project focused on proving the day-to-day suitability of hydrogen as a fuel for road transport.
The test vehicles are equipped with a wireless data transfer system to upload vehicle performance data to a company server for analysis by GM engineers.
The HydroGen4 system consists of a 440 cell fuel stack with three 700-bar high-pressure tanks made from carbon-fiber composite material which can hold 4.2 kg of hydrogen. This delivers an impressive operating range of up to 200 miles - a factor which is put forward by proponents as one of the key advantages of hydrogen fuel-cells over battery-electric systems.
The fuel cell stack coverts oxygen from the air and the stored hydrogen into electric energy to power the vehicle's 73 kW/100 hp synchronous electric motor whilst emitting only water vapor. There's also a 1.8 kWh buffer battery to store energy from the vehicle’s regenerative braking system and cover peak electrical loads.
GM deploys more than 100 vehicles of this type in its Project Driveway testing programme in the U.S., Japan, Korea, China, and Germany. It was also announced earlier this month that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today will join the program by testing a Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell vehicle to transport top leadership and Congressional Relations Staff on official business.
For more on GM’s HydroGen4 system see our previous report.