You have to love hydrogen ... atomic number one, the simplest of all the elements. Now hydrogen is adding a new function to its impressive repertoire: fuel. With hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles coming to market in the next few years, I checked out the new Chevy Equinox at Clean and Green White Plains, the city's environmental festival. (And yes, it is drool-worthy.)
Let me start by saying that Debbie Fortin and her husband have to be one of the luckiest couples around. After joining the online community at Project Driveway
, GM's online forum on fuel-cell vehicles, they were selected by GM to test own a Chevy Equinox, the new fuel-cell electric vehicle. Unfortunately, they didn't get to keep it, but they did get to drive it around for four months (which is almost as good). Don't worry, they weren't left stranded on the side of the road; New York is one of the few states to have hydrogen filling stations in White Plains and various GE fuel centers.
I had always been under the impression that hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles had limited potential, due to the highly flammable (and thus difficult to transport and produce) nature of its fuel, hydrogen gas. However, Debbie informed me that there is a great amount of hydrogen available from emissions from industrial processes, such as making steel. Capturing and recycling the gas could provide us with a large supply of hydrogen -- which is absolutely fantastic, considering that the only emission of fuel-cell cars is water vapor.
Debbie was kind enough to give me an interview, as she was exhibiting a sample Equinox at the festival. We talked about her experience, the technology of fuel-cell cars and their future potential. The Equinox featured is GM's fourth-generation model, but the sixth generation was recently taken for its first test drive.
To learn even more about fuel-cell cars, check out the government's informative site
or Chevy's fuel-cell website
also have fuel-cell cars in the works. If you want to test own a Chevy Equinox, Project Driveway
is still open. Currently, you have to live in certain areas with hydrogen stations to be eligible -- but New York is one of them! (I asked my parents if I could apply. Their response? "The only car you're getting has two wheels and pedals." So please apply, and I'll live vicariously through your successes!)