More transport hydrogen for New Yorkers

To the lucky few who are able to drive General Motors‘ Chevy Equinox fuel cell car under their Project Driveway program, there are now two (and soon three) hydrogen refilling stations in New York courtesy of Shell.

One officially opened yesterday at the JFK International Airport in Queens, which I was fortunate to attend (and ride one of GM’s fuel cell car). Shell already opened its first station in White Plains last year in April. Another station will open in the Bronx late July, which will form Shell’s first cluster of hydrogen stations in New York.

Shell said the three hydrogen stations in New York are within approximately 30 miles (50 km) of each other. The hydrogen supply at JFK is transported via truck, said Shell’s global VP, hydrogen, Duncan Mcleod.

The dispensers at the JFK international airport station will provide hydrogen at both 350 bar and 700 bar pressure. The Bronx station will provide hydrogen at 700 bar pressure. The White Plains station provide 350 bar pressure and dispenses an average of 8-9 kg of hydrogen per day.

At the press event, five of GM’s Equinox fuel cell cars were on
display and ready for us (media, guests, etc.) to test drive. The car’s
3 hydrogen tanks can store 4.2 kilograms of compressed hydrogen at 700
bar – 1 kg of hydrogen is equivalent to 1 gallon of gas in terms of
energy. According to GM, the car has an estimated rate of 39 miles per
kilogram so if we do the math, the car can actually go to more than 160
miles (even 200 miles they said) before it needs to be filled up.

Right now, there are about 115 of the cars available worldwide for
road test, said Christopher Colquitt, GM’s driver relationship manager
for fuel cell activities, who was kind enough to drive me around one of
JFK’s parking lot in GM’s fuel cell car. GM’s Equinox fuel cell car was
launched in late 2007 but the Project Driveway program started in
January 2008.

One thing I noticed immediately was how quiet the car was while we
were driving. The one that l rode already had 9,392 miles on its hood
and indicated about 417 gallons of petroleum saved. More about how it
works on this rough video that I took:

GM said there are about 30 of these vehicles available for test
drive in New York under the Project Driveway program. About 60 are
available in California. This is GM’s first generation fuel cell
vehicle prototype and the company expects mass commercialization of
fuel cell vehicles industry-wide hopefully within 10 years depending on
government policies, energy and auto industry partnerships,
infrastructure investments and of course demand coming from consumers
themselves.

To know more about how the Chevy Equinox fuel cell car works, check out this video from Kelly Blue Book:

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