The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just joined GM's Project Driveway evaluation program by putting a Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell vehicle (FCV) into its long-term test fleet. The EPA plans to assess the real-world potential of this fourth-generation Equinox FCV over the course of a six-month period as the result of a financial grant from the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE). During its time in service, the vehicle will be fitted with supplemental on-board recording devices to track daily and cumulative performance. According to the EPA release, the two agencies plan to use this cooperative effort to help "demonstrate the viability of fuel cell vehicles and encourage a shift in the American marketplace to toward alternative fuels that can play a role in securing the nation's freedom and protecting its environment, as alternative fuel technology and infrastructure continue to develop in the future."
The latest iteration of GM's Equinox has a range of nearly 150 miles on each tank of hydrogen and can reach speeds of up to 100 mph. Its zero-emissions fuel-cell system has been tested and engineered for a 50,000-mile life cycle. GM currently has about 100 Equinox FCVs in its extended "Project Driveway" program that includes deployments in New York, Washington D.C. and Southern California. The Project Driveway vehicles are being driven by both commercial and private customers for periods of between three and 30 months.
GM and the EPA have a well-established history of working together on alternative-fuel programs that began back in 2005, when the EPA evaluated GM's HydroGen3 fuel cell vehicle.