August 28, 2006 Way back at the start of 2005, the world’s largest automotive manufacturer, General Motors, showed the Sequel advanced hydrogen fuel-cell concept vehicle at the 2005 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), billing it as the culmination of US$1 billion of intensive research it had conducted into fuel cell technology. Like most show cars, the Sequel was not a working model, but now General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner has gone on record as saying “the most technologically advanced car GM has ever built” has actually been built, has an operating range of 300 miles, and will be made available to journalists in the near future. The Sequel is a truly remarkable vehicle, having superseded the AUTOnomy and Hy-wire as GM’s primary showcase of future fuel cell vehicles. See the extensive technical diagrams and photographic library we have assembled here, and read on for all the available detail.
In announcing the Sequel, GM claims to have increased the range and halved acceleration times in comparison with its existing AUTOnomy and Hy-wire fuel-cell vehicles. Like these predecessors, the Sequel shares the 11 inch high skateboard chassis containing the hydrogen tanks, fuel cells, drive by-wire electrics , batteries ad infinitum .
The space gained through the use of by-wire technology for the steering and brake control systems is used to good effect by the three high-pressure tanks. The mid-chassis location of these tanks affords good protection and benefits the vehicle's center of gravity. In addition, a large number of detailed technical modifications were made, so that the propulsion system represents state-of-the-art fuel cell technology.
Thanks to the 25 percent power increase from GM's new-generation fuel-cell stack, the Sequel can accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in under 10 seconds – while emitting only steam. The Sequel now has an operating range of 300 miles (480 kilometers), comparable to that of conventional vehicles with combustion engines.
Byron McCormick, Executive Director of Fuel Cell Activities at GM says, "The Sequel is the car industry's first fuel cell vehicle to offer an operating range and performance in line with people's expectations. That takes us a big step closer to the commercial production of fuel cell vehicles."
The fuel cell propulsion module consists of the fuel-cell stack, hydrogen and air processing subsystem, cooling system, and the high-voltage distribution system. This unit delivers 73 kW to the electric traction motors plus power for heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, by-wire electronics and the battery.
In a recent speech, Rick Wagoner began discussing GM “Beyond the Sequel.” “We continue to make excellent progress in all aspects of our extensive fuel-cell research and technology-development program, and we look forward to sharing more news about it in the near future. Stay tuned.”