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Old 01-28-2008, 01:16 AM   #1
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Fuel Cell Equinox gets award

So its not the Motor Trend Car of the Year award or anything but its still another win for GM, in an area that is becoming increasingly important

Quote:
The Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell has been honored with Green Car Journal’s Green Car Vision Award™, the first time the magazine has recognized a limited production vehicle for its forward-thinking technologies. Featuring General Motors’ fourth-generation fuel cell propulsion system, the Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell won out over fellow nominees including the BMW Hydrogen 7, Honda FCX Clarity, Phoenix Electric SUT, and Toyota Prius Plug-In. Nominees represent a variety of technologies and fuels including hydrogen fuel cell, hydrogen internal combustion, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric drive.
http://www.greencar.com/features/vision-award/

Chevy is 'leasing' (more on that later) 100 or so of these hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for real world testing and evaluation purposes. Its a 3 month term and done at 0 cost to the lessee, thats no payments for the vehicle and none for fuel. Not bad. More importantly it will give GM loads of info that they can use in future vehicles.
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Old 01-28-2008, 02:42 AM   #2
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Old 01-28-2008, 02:15 PM   #3
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That's Awesome! They beat out Toyota, AND Honda in a "green car" magazine?!?!!
That's gonna do loads for PR on the Chevy = green front.

Take that Company 'T'!!
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Old 01-28-2008, 03:10 PM   #4
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there's something I'm not clear on and maybe its because I haven't read enough about it but, what if GM has a substantial portion of its fleet running on hydrogen fuel cells by 2020 when CAFE standards come into play? Does this mean that the rest of its gas-powered fleet will still have to avg 35 mpg, or will fuel cell vehicles somehow compensate for other vehicles not yet reaching 35 mpg?
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Old 01-28-2008, 03:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike88 View Post
there's something I'm not clear on and maybe its because I haven't read enough about it but, what if GM has a substantial portion of its fleet running on hydrogen fuel cells by 2020 when CAFE standards come into play? Does this mean that the rest of its gas-powered fleet will still have to avg 35 mpg, or will fuel cell vehicles somehow compensate for other vehicles not yet reaching 35 mpg?
I doubt that they could have a large enough percentage of their fleet running on hydrogen by 2020, the main reason is that there isn't going to be a big enough supply of hydrogen fuel by then. I don't know of any large scale production plants slated for construction. Sure there are ideas on how to do it in large quataties but nobody has agreed to foot the bill yet and actually do it. Lets assume that GM makes 8000 hydrogen fueled vehicles, and the other manufacturers account for another 8000. I think that makes for roughly 0.1% of cars in the US. multiply that by 10 and it still won't have much of an effect. How so? well lets figure that th e regulators decided that a hydrogen powered vehicle is 100 mpg equiv. For GM, by making 80 000 of these, they will cause a 1.3 mpg boost to their fuel economy average.

However, it is still going to help though. And they need it. Thats why I like their approach, put money into everthing: E85, hydrogen, hybrids, and improving the efficiency of regular gasoline engines. That way, when 1 thing turns out to be impractical they have alternatives and don't have to play catchup.
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Old 01-28-2008, 04:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by DGthe3 View Post
That way, when 1 thing turns out to be impractical they have alternatives and don't have to play catchup.
I soo dearly hope that happens. I sorely want 'other' automakers to have to play catchup to GM...sweet revenge.
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Old 01-28-2008, 07:27 PM   #7
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Well the last time I checked 2020 was a whole 12 years away. I'm not saying its going to happen overnight, but 12 years is plenty of time for some real changes to happen, especially under the current circumstances. I mean that's the lifespan of your average dog, its three presidential/prime minister terms in office, 3 Summer or Winter olympics. In twelve years they'll be playing SuperBowl LLXVI and the 108th Grey Cup. I just think a lot of things can change in a dozen years. Heck, I'll be 35...eeek! In twelve years we can check back to this message board and see if I was wrong.
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike88 View Post
Well the last time I checked 2020 was a whole 12 years away. I'm not saying its going to happen overnight, but 12 years is plenty of time for some real changes to happen, especially under the current circumstances. I mean that's the lifespan of your average dog, its three presidential/prime minister terms in office, 3 Summer or Winter olympics. In twelve years they'll be playing SuperBowl LLXVI and the 108th Grey Cup. I just think a lot of things can change in a dozen years. Heck, I'll be 35...eeek! In twelve years we can check back to this message board and see if I was wrong.
Twelve years is a very short time to build up the required infrastructure. Transportation and storage are solved. The biggest hurdle is production. The current method, electrolysis, is the reverse of what is done in fuel cells. Little science lesson for those who don't know. Electrolysis works by taking

water+electricity => hydrogen+oxygen+heat.

Fuel cells work by in the following manner:

hydrogen+oxygen => electricity water + heat

That heat in both processes means that you will be losing energy if you try and power cars with this. Not much of an issue for small scale production, but to fuel cars it will be too costly. It would be better to just use electric cars. The most promising solution is a chemical process that uses heat from nuclear power plants to help jump start the process. This is the only known way to to come out ahead in terms of energy. However, it is pretty much theoretical at the moment (to the best of my knowledge). It needs to be tested, and there is no moderate scale to do this at. It needs massive amounts of heat, thats why nuclear reactors are to be used to heat it (coal just doesn't burn hot enough). Small scale lab tests can be done, but to go beyond that pretty much requires the real thing.

After doing a bit of research, I found a paper that happened to be written by a former Prof of mine (hes how I found out about it, here's the paper if you want http://faculty.uoit.ca/naterer/cha06.pdf). Turns out there are several of plants operating on this principal slated to be built around the world. Japan has one slated to be completed by 2020 which could fuel 1 million cars. Odds are if anything is built here it won't be done much before then. And before there are large numbers of hydrogen fuelled cars, there needs to be a large amount of hydrogen fuel, so expect fuel celled vehicles to maybe start coming into popularity in the 2020's. There will be some on the roads before then for sure (there are some out there now, there were some 40 years ago) but not in significant numbers until then.

I just want to make it clear, I would like to see hydrogen work. But its not gonna be for a while. I just noticed that when I get technical, my posts tend to get very long.
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Old 01-29-2008, 01:17 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Dragoneye View Post
I soo dearly hope that happens. I sorely want 'other' automakers to have to play catchup to GM...sweet revenge.
Depending on what fuel-saving solution wins ultimate dominance, most manufacturers will be playing catch-up to somebody. Everyone is focusing on a different alternative. GM has dabbled in a wide field, so they should be decently positioned no matter what alternative comes into favor. They might have to catch up to somebody, but they'll be better off than most.
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stovt001 View Post
Depending on what fuel-saving solution wins ultimate dominance, most manufacturers will be playing catch-up to somebody. Everyone is focusing on a different alternative. GM has dabbled in a wide field, so they should be decently positioned no matter what alternative comes into favor. They might have to catch up to somebody, but they'll be better off than most.
Well said. Don't underestimate the power of market positioning.

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