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Cars Worth Noting — GM Hydrogen3

GM Hydrogen3

The only thing stopping GM/Opel’s HydroGen3 from becoming your daily driver is the price, (and maybe a place to buy the hydrogen fuel).

We took the modified Zafira around the Formula One circuit through the streets of Monaco, and our bright blue city-scooter performed flawlessly. Gen3’s fuel-cell stack puts out a continuous 60 kW of power, enough for a top speed of 100mph when mated to the new compact traction system with a gear set and transaxle. And though we never approached that kind of speed on Monaco’s congested streets, Gen3 took the steep inclines without breaking a sweat and had all of the acceleration you need. The car is so quiet, it wasn’t for the whine of the compressor you wouldn’t know it was running.

The fuel cell system bolts into the same connecting points used for the diesel power plant, so fuel cell cars can be sequenced right into the assembly line. Hydrogen is stored in 10,000-psi tank that gives Gen3 a range of 250 mi. on liquid and about 170 mi. on compressed hydrogen.

There’s still plenty of development work to do, making the fuel cells more durable, reducing the size of the cooling system and eliminating a lot of the extra components hanging off the system. Opel engineers did discover one pleasant surprise. In virtual crash testing using European NCAP standards, the fuel cell system didn’t encroach into the passenger compartment. For all this fear of hydrogen, fuel cell cars just may be safer than what you’re driving now.

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Sat. February 4th, 2023

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