Detroit, Michigan – General Motors’ experimental fleet of Chevrolet Equinox hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles has passed one million miles of driving by various consumers who are taking part in the real-world test program.
More than 100 of the vehicles are part of the largest consumer fuel cell demonstration fleet in the world. About 5,000 people have driven them in short test drives, while more than 80,000 people in New York, Greater Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. volunteered to drive them as part of Project Driveway, which began in November 2007. Under the program, consumers keep the vehicles for about two months, with free fuel and insurance in return for providing feedback to engineers. The drivers refill at hydrogen stations in New York, Washington and South California, although the high cost of development and lack of fuelling infrastructure have prevented a decision on a mass-production fuel cell vehicle.
“It has never been our focus to get a million miles, but it’s given us an incredible learning experience,” said Mark Vann, who manages the project. “This says a lot about the viability of fuel cell vehicles, that they are not one or two decades away but are doable today.”
The officially-recognized millionth mile was driven by Jeanine Behr-Getz, a children’s book author in Greenwich, Connecticut.
In addition to individual drivers, Project Driveway vehicles are also on loan to celebrities, and a range of government and non-government entities, including the U.S. Postal Service, which has used the vehicles to deliver more than 700,000 pieces of mail.