Saturday, April 02, 2005

MSNBC - GM rolls out world's first fuel-cell truck

MSNBC - GM rolls out world's first fuel-cell truck

The modified Chevrolet Silverado crew-cab truck will be leased to the Defense Department for noncombat uses at Fort Belvoir, Va., and Camp Pendleton, Calif., and tested in various climates and terrain around the country until July 2006.

Its electric engine emits a high-pitched whine, but a key feature in future fuel-cell models developed with the military will be stealth — along with better fuel consumption and zero tailpipe emissions.

“Noise on the battlefield is not a good thing when you don't want to be found,” Nadeau said.

Instead of gasoline, the fuel cells run on energy produced when hydrogen and oxygen are mixed, and the only byproduct is water vapor.

The truck is powered by two hydrogen fuel cell stacks and can travel 125 miles. It can carry up to 1,600 pounds, accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 19 seconds and has a top speed of 93 mph.

Since 2003, President Bush has pushed a five-year, $1.7 billion research program to develop hydrogen as an energy source. Most major automakers are developing hydrogen fuel cells, but cost and a lack of fueling stations make the vehicles unmarketable for now.

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