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GM Promises 'Production Ready' Fuel Cell Vehicle by 2004

5 January 1998

GM Promises 'Production Ready' Fuel Cell Vehicle by 2004

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 -- General Motors said today it will meet
the technical competition in fuel cell vehicles.  "We plan to produce a
production-ready ... fuel cell electric vehicle by 2004, or sooner," GM
Chairman John Smith said in a statement at the Detroit auto show.
    "GM's statement is most welcome for everyone who believes fuel cells will
power the car of the future," said Robert Rose, executive director of Fuel
Cells 2000.  "GM was one of the first U.S. companies to launch a fuel cell
program, but the last of the Big Three to commit publicly to near-term
development.  If GM backs up its pledge with a comparable commitment to market
fuel cell vehicles, it will be a genuine breakthrough for clean vehicles,
clean air and energy efficiency.
    "All of the Big Three companies now say they are committed to fuel cell
vehicles.  That is a dramatic change.  Just a few years ago, all three were
publicly skeptical about the potential of fuel cells in our lifetime," Rose
said.  "Still unknown, unfortunately, is whether their words will be matched
by the investment of money and talent sufficient to meet the competition
technically and in the marketplace.
    "Foreign car makers, led by Daimler Benz and Toyota, have taken the lead
in fuel cells.  Daimler expects to produce commercial quantities by 2004,"
Rose said.
    At the show, GM unveiled a fuel cell hybrid engine for its sporty EV-1
that would run on methanol, achieve near zero emissions with 300 mile range
and at 80 mpg.
    In a separate announcement, Ford said it would have a prototype fuel cell
version of its advanced P2000 vehicle by the year 2000, operating on
compressed hydrogen and achieving zero emissions.

SOURCE  Fuel Cells 2000