GM is accelerating its plans to bring production-level fuel
cell vehicles to consumers. The company announced that a production version of
the Chevy Sequel concept car introduced in 2005 will
be put into service in 2010.
The Sequel uses GM's third generation fuel cell technology
and makes uses of regenerative braking and a rear-mounted lithium-ion battery
pack. Forward propulsion is provided by a hub motor in each rear wheel and an
electric motor for the front wheels. The electric motor is the same one used in
the all-electric Chevy
Volt concept introduced in Detroit.
GM expects that the Sequel will have a range of 300 miles
and can go from 0-60 in 10 seconds -- or about the same as a 2007
Honda CR-V crossover. Top speed for the vehicle is pegged at 90MPH.
GM has already built two Sequel prototypes and expects to
get even more real-world experience with fuel cell technology with a test fleet
of 100 Chevy Equinox crossovers. Each Equinox, which normally is powered by a 3.4 liter V6 engine, is powered by
a hydrogen fuel cell instead.
GM's cross-town rival, Ford, is also working on hydrogen
fuel cell technology. The company recently showed off a prototype Edge crossover
with a fuel cell hybrid electric powertrain and plug-in capabilities.