Reinforcing its claim to having more real-world experience with fuel-cell powered vehicles than any other manufacturer, General Motors has announced that its fleet of 100-plus Chevrolet Equinox FCVs has now completed over a half a million in-service miles since the original Project Driveway program kicked off in October 2007. While most of those miles have been rolled up in the U.S., GM also has been evaluating these vehicles in both Asia and Europe.
Set to run through the end of 2010, Project Driveway will continue to put the majority of these hydrogen-fueled Equinox FCVs in the hands of average drivers for a period of one to two months. However, the automaker also has placed a handful in longer-term service with both the Disney Corporation and Virgin Atlantic as well as cycled more than 3,400 individuals through shorter test drives at various "green vehicle" events around the country and the world. GM High-profile celebrities also have been part of this groundbreaking GM program. The most notable is car-buff Jay Leno, who's been squiring an Equinox FCV around the Greater Los Angeles area since April.
All of the vehicles in the current Project Driveway test fleet are fitted with the fourth and most-efficient generation of GM's fuel-cell package and meet all applicable U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. According to Marybeth Stanek, GM's director of fuel cell commercialization, the knowledge being gained should help the automaker in achieving its goal to have some kind of production version hydrogen FCV in its showrooms by 2012. "The vehicles are performing very well and we are learning a great deal about fuel cell robustness and how to make this program work for real customers."