General Motors is to give drivers the chance to try out hydrogen-powered vehicles, although it will help if you are a celebrity. As part of “Project Driveway“, GM will put more than 100 fuel-cell vehicles in the hands of customers before the end of the year.
Ironically, the cars will be based on the Chevrolet Equinox SUV. GM says they will initially go to celebrities, policymakers, the military and other “influentials”, but the public can also sign up online.
“We’re going to get feedback from customers to help us understand this market, and that’s going to help set us up, hopefully early in the next decade, to really go to market for real with fuel-cell electric vehicles,” said Larry Burns, vice president of research and development and strategic planning for GM.
The vehicles will be tested in the US, Germany, South Korea, China and Japan. Those countries have been chosen because they have refuelling facilities in place.
“I think you’re going see two or three companies introducing the plug-in hybrid by 2010,” said Joseph Romm of the Center for American Progress and previously responsible for clean transportation programmes at the US Department of Energy. “These cars, like all early model cars, will probably be on the expensive side, but I think there will be a great interest in them.”