GM Prepares Fuel Cell Technology for Future ProductionJune 19, 2007 by Jeff Shepard
General Motors Corp. announced that it is moving more than 500 fuel cell experts from advanced development laboratories to core engineering functions to prepare this technology for future production.
More than 400 fuel cell engineers will report to GM’s Powertrain Group to begin production engineering of fuel cell systems. Another 100 will transfer to GM’s Global Product Development organization to start integrating fuel cells into future company vehicles. Finally, more than 150 fuel cell scientists and program support will remain as part of GM’s Research and Development center to continue advanced research in hydrogen storage, fuel cells and program commercialization. The transition is aimed at expediting the company’s efforts to produce vehicles that displace petroleum through energy diversity.
"Eight years ago we said that hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle technology could make a major contribution to solving the energy and environmental challenges facing the automobile industry," said Larry Burns, GM Vice President, Research and Development. "Today’s announcement signals another important milestone as we move fuel cell vehicles closer to future production."
GM shared details about its fifth-generation fuel cell system technology when it unveiled the fuel cell-powered E-Flex version of the Chevrolet Volt in April. GM claims that this latest system is half the size of its predecessor, yet provides the same power and performance. GM’s fourth-generation system currently powers the Chevrolet Sequel and Equinox Fuel Cell vehicles. According to the company, the Sequel recently went into the record books as the first electrically-driven fuel cell vehicle to achieve more than 300 miles on one tank of hydrogen, in and out of traffic on public roads, while producing zero emissions. The Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell will be launched later this year as part of Project Driveway, which will place more than 100 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles with consumers in New York, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.
"Moving our fuel cell experts from advanced development laboratories to our core engineering organizations highlights our strong commitment to developing electrically-driven vehicles using diverse energy sources" said Tom Stephens, GM Group Vice President of Global Powertrain.