Thursday, October 23, 2008

GM Sends Fuel Cell Equinox On Chinese Vapor Trail

Starting in China’s capital Beijing, General Motors kicked-off their “2009 promotional tour” of China for its Chevrolet Equinox hydrogen fuel cell car. GM will send the Equinox across the world’s fourth largest country to drum up interest for the mid-size crossover SUV that uses the same fuel cell as the elusive Chevrolet Sequel.

China needs no introduction to the technology. China’s first working fuel cell car – based on a venerable Santana 2000 (pictured left) – had been developed as early as 2003 by researchers at the Anting Automotive College of Shanghai’s Tongji University.

The Anting College developed hydrogen fuel cell engines for a number of domestic cars, such as SAIC’s Roewe, the Chery Easter, and SAIC’s VW Passat.

22 hydrogen fuel cell powered Passats (left) had been used to ferry around VIPs during the Beijing Olympics.

In cooperation with Shell, the Anting College even set up a small network of hydrogen gas stations (left) in Shanghai on a trial basis.

The Equinox Fuel Cell is designed for 80,000 km of driving. The system developed in Anting successfully passed a 100,000 km equivalence test (left.)

GM said that in the next two years, they will introduce several Chevrolet Equinox hydrogen-fuel cell cars to China. That’s “cars” – not “models.” Nobody knows what the car will cost, or where in the vast reaches of the middle kingdom the hydrogen stations will be placed. The Chevy Equinox needs a fill-up every 200 miles. Industry observers believe that for the foreseeable future, the car will be what comes out of its exhaust pipe: Vapor.

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