GM's next generation hydrogen fuel cell system weighs in 220 pounds lighter than its first attempt and takes up the space of a four cylinder engine. Contained within the system is GM's 5th generation fuel cell stack which could see commercial use by 2015.
Additional advancements for the new fuel cell system include the reduction of precious metals within by half. This translates into lower overall cost. With reductions in size, weight, and costs, GM believes commercialization is possible but still a few years away due to lack of fueling stations and lack of funding.
Charles Freese, executive director of GM's fuel-cell program, said, "GM has invested more than $1.5 billion in fuel-cell technology and is committed to continuing to invest, but we no longer can go it alone... We will require government and industry partnerships to install a hydrogen infrastructure."
GM has demonstrated the feasibility and success of fuel cell vehicles through Project Driveway. The project put over 100 hydrogen electric Chevrolet Equinox crossovers on the road for testing. The vehicles have combined for over 1 million miles at the hands of ordinary drivers, celebrities and others selected to take part in the program.
GM is hopeful that widespread commercialization will begin soon and is eagerly awaiting additional funds from other sources as well as additional support. Other countries such as Germany and Japan have announced plans to build thousands of hydrogen fueling stations in the next 5 years, but the U.S. is lagging behind.
As Freese said, "Failure to act will insure the U.S. cannot meet its long-term fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction objectives. We know what needs to be done. Now is the time to get started."