The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Information Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

GM Urges More Hydrogen Stations

Rapid Progress on Fuel Cell Vehicles Needs to Be Matched With Rapid Progress on Hydrogen Fueling

SACRAMENTO, CA April 2, 2008; General Motors today called on the energy industry and governments to step up and help automakers make volume production of fuel cell-electric vehicles a reality by opening more hydrogen fueling stations.

That message was delivered by Larry Burns, General Motors vice president, research & development and strategic planning. Burns delivered a keynote address at the National Hydrogen Association’s annual conference in Sacramento, CA.

“The automobile industry has reached a critical juncture in our journey to realize the full potential of hydrogen fuel cell-electric vehicles,” said Burns. “While we have made impressive progress, we have now reached a point where the energy industry and governments must pick up their pace so we can continue to advance in a timely manner.”

Burns noted that other automakers are also spending significant amounts on developing fuel cell technology and want to bring large numbers of fuel cell vehicles to market, but he points out that parallel investment by the energy industry and governments is urgently required.

Burns’s comments coincided with the release of a new study by General Motors and Shell Hydrogen, which concluded that a hydrogen infrastructure is economically viable and doable.

“It’s no longer a question of ‘can it be done?’ or ‘should it be done?’” said Burns. “We not only should do it. We must do it. It’s now a question of collective will. Do we have the collective resolve to work together to solve the challenges we face rather than handing them off to future generations?”

Burns said addressing the infrastructure challenge is essential because the potential benefits of hydrogen fuel cell technology are clear and compelling. “This technology promises to deliver family-sized vehicles that are fun to drive, safe, look great, refuel fast, go far between fill-ups, and are emissions-free and petroleum-free. It also holds promise to do all of this while keeping automobiles affordable to own and operate. And just like electricity, it can be made from a broad range of renewable and sustainable energy pathways. No other technology offers this exciting potential,” he said. “We have not discovered anything yet to suggest mass volume cannot ultimately be attained. “

He also complimented hydrogen fueling initiatives by FreedomCAR, Shell Hydrogen AND Chevron Hydrogen, the California Fuel Cell Partnership, and the California Hydrogen Highway, but called for efforts like these to accelerate. “What is urgently needed is sufficient investment by energy providers to assure auto companies that the required hydrogen infrastructure will be in place when we deploy our next generation of fuel cell-electric vehicles,” he said.

“Clearly, the automobile industry has stepped forward with fuel cell-electric vehicles, and we are doing everything possible to aggressively develop this critically important technology,” Burns said. “However, we have reached a stage where we cannot continue to make significant progress on our own. Our customers must have safe and convenient access to affordable hydrogen. This means the energy industry and governments must join the auto industry in our journey to produce and sell fuel cell-electric vehicles in volume numbers.”

General Motors Corp. , the world’s largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 77 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 266,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 35 countries. In 2007, nearly 9.37 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.