Car manufacturing companies are slowly introducing ‘green’ vehicles before the people that buy them or the government forces them to. Either way it is good news for a person that wants a hybrid or green car of some kind. GM is experimenting with hydrogen-powered cars; The Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity. The best thing about this type of fuel cell is the only by-product is water vapor, so no smog, emissions, or greenhouse gases with out looking like a hybrid car.
The Equinox has been well designed and crash-tested to meet all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards for 2007 in the U.S.; including StabiliTrak the electronic stability control system that has made SUV’s much safer. The tank that holds the hydrogen can have up to nine pounds of hydrogen, roughly the energy equivalent of one gallon of gas. Going 50MPH the Equinox can travel about 200 miles on one tank. A major advancement to fuel cell technology is the ability to start and operate in sub-freezing temperature. This fuel cell propulsion system is a single-speed electric motor traction system that provides vehicle with instantaneous torque, meaning, smooth acceleration.
Downside, the fuel cell in the Equinox was engineered for a life span of about 49,700 miles. I know that seems like a lot but I know people can rack up those miles living and working in cities. The payload is limited to 750 pounds; this includes the weight of driver, passengers, and optional equipment and cargo.
It may still be a few years before you can walk into a dealership and buy one of these hydrogen-powered SUV’s. However, GM is starting a real-world test of fuel-cell passenger vehicles. Collecting input from hundreds of people about their overall experience with stuff like performance, fueling, and every day use helping guide the future of fuel cell vehicle development. To take part in this test you must live in or work in metropolitan New York City; Washington, D.C.; or southern California and available to do the Equinox Project Driveway test-drive in the fall of 2007. They do have an age limit as well, 21 is the minimum to be eligible for this project. In addition, if you do not have a spotless driving record I wouldn’t apply, I doubt that they will give a vehicle to someone that has crashed few cars. However, they might if they want a Real-World test, since people do crash.
To apply for Project Driveway go to, http://www.chevrolet.com/fuelcell/, and find the “apply for test program” button at the bottom right of the page. You will be asked to enter your zip to verify that you are in an area where they are doing the test. I hope that they will expand the test to let us small town people give them a real-world test.