General Motors Announces California Public Policy Partners in Chevrolet’s Project Driveway
DETROIT - As a further demonstration of its commitment to fuel cell technology, General Motors handed the keys to four Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell vehicles to a group of key government partners who are participating in Chevrolet’s Project Driveway - the largest-ever market test of fuel cell-electric vehicles.
More than 100 electric vehicles, powered by hydrogen fuel cells, are being placed in the hands of drivers in New York, California and Washington, DC. Selected drivers include general public, media, influencers, celebrities, business and public policy partners.
Almost 70 of these vehicles are now on the road in the U.S. and further deployments are planned in Europe and Asia later this year.
Joining Chevy in Project Driveway are the University of California - Irvine; the California Air Resources Board; the California Fuel Cell Partnership; and the Air Quality Management District in Southern California.
These organizations will be evaluating Chevy’s fuel cell Equinoxes, to understand the current state of technology, to get first-hand experience with infrastructure needs and challenges, and to have a better understanding of what is needed for larger scale fleet applications. These organizations will also utilize the vehicles for public education and awareness to help communicate the energy and environmental benefits of fuel cells and hydrogen.
Chevy is also partnering with major businesses like Disney and Virgin Atlantic to put its fuel cell vehicles to the test in rigorous real-world environments. And at the recent Academy Awards, several luminaries were transported to the event in fuel cell Equinoxes.
Public policy partners are integral to the success of Project Driveway and we’re proud to announce partnerships with the following organizations.
National Fuel Cell Research Center-University of California Irvine
The National Fuel Cell Research Center was formally dedicated by the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission in February 1998 to lead the commercial evolution of stationary fuel cells and to help illuminate the relationship between stationary fuel cells and the emerging hydrogen economy. Today, the NFCRC, which is located at the University of California, Irvine, enjoys an international reputation as a leader in the advancement of fuel cell and distributed generation technologies, as well as the emerging hydrogen infrastructure. The center’s threefold mission requires that it (1) conduct research resulting in the development of new technologies and new knowledge; (2) actively promote the commercialization and deployment of fuel cell technologies; and (3) foster strategic alliances that advance the understanding and commercialization of these technologies. The center’s vehicle is being operated under a $125,000 award from CARB which GM won through RFP process, requiring a state agency or university as a partner, thus UC Irvine. It is the only fuel cell vehicle to have received funding under this award to demonstrate hydrogen powered vehicles.
“The National Fuel Cell Research Center was delighted to be selected by GM as a key partner in the introduction of its Chevy Equinox fuel cell electric vehicles,” said NFCRC Director Scott Samuelsen. “During the Southern California rollout, GM used the state-of-the-art 700 bar fueling technology at the UC Irvine hydrogen fueling station operated by the NFCRC. We fueled up to nine vehicles daily, four days in a row, without missing a beat.”
California Air Resources Board
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is a part of the California Environmental Protection Agency, an organization which reports directly to the Governor’s Office in the Executive Branch of California State Government. CARB’s mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare and ecological resources through the effective and efficient reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering the effects on the economy of the state. The ARB considers the development of zero emission technology vital to meeting its mission of clean air and climate change emission reductions. The use of the Equinox Fuel Cell vehicle will allow staff from ARB to assess the progress made in developing the technology and to better recognize the challenges remaining both for the vehicle and supporting infrastructure. ARB will scientifically evaluate the technology while also using the Equinox at local school events, including at university or college campuses, to promote both current and future clean vehicle technologies.
California Fuel Cell Partnership
The California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) is a collaboration of 33 member organizations, including auto manufacturers, energy providers, government agencies and fuel cell technology companies. CaFCP is committed to promoting fuel cell vehicle commercialization as a means of moving towards a sustainable energy future, increasing energy efficiency and reducing or eliminating air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
“CaFCP is excited to participate in GM’s Project Driveway,” said Catherine Dunwoody, Executive Director California Fuel Cell Partnership. CaFCP’s 13 staff members will take turns using the Equinox as their personal vehicle for one week at a time. The vehicle will be used to drive to meetings, run errands and attend outreach events where CaFCP staff can discuss the vehicle with the public.
South Coast Air Quality Management District
South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) is the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties - about half the population of the whole state of California. The South Coast AQMD believes that all who live or work in this area have a right to breathe clean air. AQMD is committed to undertaking all necessary steps to protect public health from air pollution, with sensitivity to the impacts of its actions on the community and businesses. This is accomplished through a comprehensive program of planning, regulation, compliance assistance, enforcement, monitoring, technology advancement, and public education.
“We are pleased to be participating in GM’s fuel cell vehicle program, especially since southern California has the largest network of hydrogen fueling stations in the nation,” said William A. Burke, AQMD Governing Board Chair. “Getting people familiar and comfortable with clean fuels and advanced technologies is vital if we are to be successful in eliminating air pollution, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and getting off petroleum. AQMD will demonstrate this vehicle at events, conferences and meetings throughout the Southland.”
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