GM Plans New Hydrogen Fueling Stations
By Brendan Moore
The chatter about hybrids and plug-in hybrids tends to drown out other news about efforts regarding alternative powerplants that will use no gasoline, but several of the auto manufacturers are still going full-tilt on their hydrogen vehicles. One of those is General Motors, and GM announced yesterday that is building a new hydrogen refueling station in Los Angeles in partnership with Clean Energy Fuels Corp.
GM hopes that the station in Los Angeles, built to meet the immediate need of giving drivers participating in GM’s field trial of the hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Equinox somewhere to refuel, will be only the first of many such stations. GM said a couple of months ago it intends to have approximately 1,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in California between 2012 and 2014 to comply with the state’s goal to put thousands of cleaner cars on its roads. GM also made the same statement previously at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2007, where it unveiled the field trial of the hydrogen Equinox. It is expected that a network of hydrogen refueling locations in Southern California will be required should there be that many hydrogen-powered vehicles in the region.
This station will be next to the Los Angeles International Airport.
It is interesting to note that Honda is also running field tests of their FCX hydrogen vehicle in Southern California, and also setting up hydrogen refueling stations. I have no idea if GM and Honda are discussing a reciprocal sharing agreement for their respective participating drivers, but if they aren’t, they might want to. Hydrogen refueling stations are expensive. And since BMW is also doing some testing of the hydrogen-powered 7 Series, maybe the costs of building the stations could be shared among three partners.
Fuel cell-powered vehicles, which run on hydrogen and emit only water vapor, are not considered by anyone to be a short-term solution for our current energy problems, but they do show promise long-term. Fuel cell vehicles, if proven to be viable, would be a great way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the United States’ appetite for increasingly expensive crude oil.
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