GM HydroGen4 Testing Reached 2 Million Kilometres

General Motors is undergoing testing of its HydroGen4 fleet, with more than 100 vehicles of this type operating in real driving conditions around the world. The vehicles have accumulated more than 2 million km (more than 1.2 million miles) in road testing, mostly in the US, but also in Germany, with the Berlin 'Lighthouse' project being the largest of its kind in Europe.

As part of the real life conditions, some HydroGen4 vehicles have joined the German roadside assistance service ADAC fleet, among others. GM also cooperates with several other gas and oil companies, as well as manufacturers to figure out a practical application of fuel cell technology, working through the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) at centres including Hamburg and the country's most populated state of North-Rhine-Westphalia.

GM has been undergoing testing of its fuel cell technology in harsh winter conditions as part of the evaluation, and the automaker says it is pleased with drivers' reports. The HydroGen4 vehicles can start at -25 degrees Celsius and the capability will be improved with future generations.

"We had these cars running in Berlin for the last very cold two winters - our competitors had theirs in warm garages," said GM Europe manager of fuel cell hydrogen deployment strategy, Lars Peter Thiesen.

GM looks to brief its dealers on the new technology, saying that communicating within the group is also a key aspect. The company believes that further progress can be made in the area of fuel dispensing.

"There needs to be something done about making fuel stations more reliable," said Thiesen.

GM estimates that there would be a need of 400 hydrogen stations to fuel 10,000 hydrogen cars, with these being based at existing petrol stations. If the demand should increase and 10 million hydrogen cars would be on the market, 13,000-20,000 hydrogen stations would be needed.

GM has predicted that hydrogen vehicles could come to the market around 2015.
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